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Fans come last

Arsenal’s annual wage bill is £104 million, Chelsea’s £113 million. That’s £2 million a week with Ozil on £350,000 a week, Eden Hazard £220,000.

Chelsea planned 10 charter flights at £1,000 per person from Luton – the only way to get to Baku for the Europe Final directly – but only 2 were taken up. Arsenal, though sponsored by an airline, planned none. Their fans were left to their own devices or as we used to be told at school “travel under your own steam”.

If the players contributed 1% of their weekly wages that would create a pool of £20,000 which could subsidise travel.

It would have added to the atmosphere in an unfull stadium, and been wonderful PR as a well as rewarding those fans for their loyalty. I never saw this raised once though our media tamely followed the UEFA line that football is now global and Baku suits fans better from India, Indonesia and all points east.

I wonder how long fans will continue to take this.

The media covered stories of Marco Polos making their journeys eastward. However, as Alan Tanner will tell you after the relatively easy journey to Hamburg in 2010 for the Europa League final of Fulham v Atletico Madrid, it’s not the traveling there that is arduous but the return journey especially when you are an Arsenal fan whose team were thrashed 4-1.

You have to moan about something and how much can you say about the no show of Ozil before you see the disparity of the earnings of the players and the sacrifices made to support them?

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts