Arsenal and Chelsea playing in Baku is an insult to real fans

The atmosphere for Arsenal vs Chelsea won’t be the same when you consider only around 12,000 of the spectators will be actual people who have been to the Emirates or the Bridge. If there is any more than that it’s because hard-core fans have gone to the lengths of buying tickets illegally (yes don’t think 50,000 seats are simply going to UEFA Friends).

The four clubs involved in the two all English Finals have released statements saying us fans should be treated better. It’s funny how all of those owners are happy to sign a TV deal worth billions yet still manage to increase ticket and shirt prices. So, let’s not just blame the governing bodies of Europe for treating us like customers. Our love for the sport is emotionally blackmailed by everyone, why you think suddenly UK flights to Azerbaijan are nearly a grand?

If the needs of the common person were a priority, why did clubs not campaign the moment the venue to host the Europa League was announced? It was obvious it would lead to two sets of fans having to pay over the odds. As we know with the site of the next World Cup, this has been going on for years.

While no country should have exclusive rights to the game and it should be shared in all cultures, not at the expense of those who follow those clubs their whole lives. Some give up their weekends going up and down the motorway, following the highs and lows, yet are discarded when it counts. Even half the stadium allocated to season ticket holders would be a disgrace but at least it would be a compromise. UEFA could have made lots of money by simply dividing the areas red and blue, but greed meant they agreed with sponsors and politicians to have the majority of spectators a fan of neither. If the best you could give Gooners was 6,000 how close were you from leaving out fans altogether? The sad reality is more than triple that will go out there just to be part of the occasion, in the process increasing the economy in the local area. But I’d rather not have some statement from the club just to tick their PR box.

Stan Kroenke is one of the worst in sport for making millions by exploiting people’s love. So think, two London clubs playing nowhere near their communities, in front of a neutral crowd based on a deal which makes UEFA money. If we win it makes a billionaire wealthier, money he won’t put back into the club. That’s not including inflated prices airlines, hotels and restaurants will benefit from.

When the beautiful game was invented, this wasn’t what the creators had in mind…

Dan Smith

Updated: May 14, 2019 — 8:20 pm

14 Comments

  1. It’s a ridiculous venue to host a major final and I’m not saying Baku isn’t a nice city it’s just a tough place to get to! The 12,000 allocated tickets to Arsenal, Chelsea fans is a joke.. I suspect had it been two foreign teams that reached the final the ticket allocation would have been much higher! Ah well there’s still a chance we can reach the Champions League even if we do lose that final 😝

  2. BITTER TRUTH!

  3. Dan, A beautifully put condemnation of the corrupt people who own and administer football. In common with almost all corporations who love only money and not morals, we fans are once again shafted for being the lifeblood that keeps the sport alive and puts money in players and owners pockets A disgusting but typical state of affairs in modern top level football. Sigh!

  4. I know this will not happen but it’s such a happy idea I thought I’d mention it anyway.

    What if both Arsenal and Chelsea agreed to tell Eufa to get stuffed and made a deal with Spurs to use their ground for the final? Approx 31,000 tickets each and people could sleep in their own beds the night before and have no more travelling then usual. They could have a cup made (perhaps calling it ‘The Real Europa Cup’) and a decent amount of real fans from both teams would be there to cheer their sides on.

    Sure the match would be declared ‘void’ by Eufa and the winners would not appear on their website but sites such as Wikipedia would give the details for all the world to see.

    Yes I know I’m crazy but I’m happy with it 🙂

  5. This article should have been an open letter to the powers that be…

    1. As I said previously, Arsenal and Chelsea should boycott the game and if EUFA impose sanctions then both clubs should send their youth teams. No one will turn up, sponsors would be furious and withdraw sponsorship, but best of all, EUFA would lose a fortune. F*ck the Champions League, lets do something for the game

  6. As I said previously, Arsenal and Chelsea should boycott the game and if EUFA impose sanctions then both clubs should send their youth teams. Azerbaijanis will not turn up, the sponsors would be furious and withdraw their sponsorship, but the biggest loser of all would be EUFA. Obviously we’ll lose a Champions League spot or maybe we wouldn’t but so what, lets do something for the game.

    1. I feel that our complaint should be on the tickets allotted to each Club rather than the venue. The venue was selected at the beginning of the season when no one had an inkling which teams would be in the final. It is good to have finals played in diverse places so as to give an opportunity to remote regions to experience a European final. However it is unfair to give a limited number of tickets to the participating clubs. The fans of those clubs are the ones with a real stake in the game and hence deserve better than the meagre 6000 tickets that each Club has been given.

  7. If Azerbaijanis cannot fill the stadium, would UEFA suffer a big loss?

    1. I’m from Azerbaijan and i can’t find ticket for the game. Don’t worry for the filling.

      1. Hi Anar,

        whats the situation regarding Henrich Mchitarjan coming to Azerbaijan would his safety relay be in danger?? what do local’s think of it and what do you think of it

  8. empty stadium at Azerbaijan?

    that will never happen

    fans couldnt organise an empty stadium at the Emirates…

  9. Good article but spoilt a bit by another little needless dig at Kroenke.

    1. @Declan.
      Why do you see a reference to ‘Kronke’ as a needless dig? You have made this comment before.

      How can you write a serious piece about Arsenal and not mention the owner by name?

      In my last piece published here I did refer to Kronke with out mentioning his name. Unfortunate ‘Admin’ who insist on writing the headline to articles that are published here mentioned his name ttwice in their headline and thereby slanted the article.

      But I am still curious as to why you understand any reference to the owner as a ‘needless dig at Kronke?’



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