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…