Tyne & Wear

Queues for Olympic football at Newcastle's St James' Park

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Media captionPeople hoping to buy tickets were in the queue alonside those picking up pre-booked ones

A long queue formed outside St James' Park ahead of the first Olympic football matches to be held at the Newcastle ground.

The delay meant some missed the start of the first match, Mexico v South Korea, which ended in a goalless draw.

The second game, Gabon V Switzerland, resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Olympics organiser Locog said that the box office opened five hours before kick off and those collecting tickets to the day's match were prioritised.

The BBC's Jim Knight said the queue was made up of hundreds of people, both those hoping to buy tickets and those picking up pre-booked tickets.

He said the box office opened later than advertised and the feeling among the crowd was mixed.

Martyn Edwards, 40, from Whitley Bay, was in the queue because he needed to change tickets.

He said: "I came down yesterday and they said to come back at 10 today. Then I was told nine, then 10:30. It's been badly organised and I just want to swap these tickets and go now."

Mr Edwards said he moved about 20ft in an hour.

'Beautiful city'

Maxine Farley, who was queuing with her two sons, said: "We are Olympic fans anyway - so don't mind the queue, and expected it to be like this anyway.

"In fact it's moving pretty quickly and everyone has been friendly and patient so far."

The 52,000-seat stadium, home of Newcastle United, will host nine Olympic matches, including quarter-finals in the men's and women's competitions.

Attendance at the first match was 15,748.

Innocent Emeghara, 23, a striker for French club Lorient who is representing Switzerland in the Olympics, told the BBC: "[Newcastle] is a very beautiful city. It's not like London, I prefer Newcastle to London.

"The city is very clean and I love the stadium and the people here are very nice.

"The first match is very important for us to win and we are looking forward to playing."

South Korean fan Shin, who has travelled to see his national team play in the Olympics, said he liked Newcastle.

"The clean air and the people are so friendly," he said.

"Every time I ask directions the people are very kind.

"We are now experiencing the economic downturn, so most of the Korean people are suffering, so the Olympians are hoping to get medals then we'll be happier."

Locog said in a statement: "As advertised, the box offices at St James' Park opened at 9.30am - five hours before kickoff.

"There were nine windows open to help the public as quickly as possible and those collecting tickets for today's match were prioritised."

Travel restrictions

For all the games the Tyne and Wear Metro will be running additional trains, with St James' metro station open and Haymarket, Monument and Central Station also within walking distance.

There is no parking at the ground and Strawberry Place, Strawberry Lane, Leazes Terrace and St Andrew's Street are among the roads near to the stadium affected by closures .

Gates open for the games two hours before kick-off and organisers suggest arriving early and not bringing anything that is on the list of prohibited items .

The matches will be televised on the BBC's Olympic channels and there will be updates on Gabon v Switzerland on Total Sport.

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