Glasgow Rangers head to the Ceramica on Thursday, and this promises to be quite an event. Rangers have 2200 tickets (about 10% of the seats in the stadium) and the Spanish police are concerned that other fans travelling from Scotland may attempt to buy tickets and sit among the home fans.
Villarreal have told their season ticketholders that they face sanctions if they pass on their ticket to a Rangers supporter, and the club also say they will “immediately eject” any Rangers fans found to be sitting in the wrong parts of the ground. (It remains to be seen how effective that will be; it certainly wasn’t when Everton visited years ago).
Of course, the big draw for Rangers is that they are back in the group stage of a European competition for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Having endured all sorts of financial punishments and relegations, they have fought back through the levels of Scottish football to the top flight.
The fact that Villarreal has a ‘friendship’ with Rangers’s arch-rival Celtic is a factor as well; I have not seen the Celtic Submarí penya planning any sort of activities before the match.
If there are any British readers of Villarreal USA who are planning to come to the match on Thursday, I would advise you to contact the club office, because you won’t be able to buy tickets unless you have a Spanish passport number (PM me on twitter if you need to).