Maybe it’s the wake up call that football has been needing.
The Europa League Final struggled to fill the Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan despite a paltry allocation for fans of Chelsea and Arsenal. The rank and file turned their back on the neigh-on 3000 mile and 50-hour road trip – not to mention the inflated air travel prices, hotel rooms and all that goes with a major football event descending on a city.
It could have ended up embarrassing for the organisers UEFA.
Usually Chelsea and Arsenal have to travel 50minutes over 10 miles to play and sure there’s a green suggestion that the final should have been moved closer, but that’s not fair on the host city nor feasible in a short timescale between semi-final and last night.
The fans who turned their back on a big occasion for their clubs are maybe just to used to the glamour of the Premier League and spoilt by the regular appearances in European competition.
Or they’re now too sensible to pay the exorbitant prices not only set by tournament organisers but of infrastructure who cash in – often greedily – on these events.
Imagine the rarity of a Scottish team reaching the final... Rangers took hundreds of thousands OK down the road to the easily accessible Manchester, and Celtic decamped to Seville for their big days in the sun.
With so much glittering glamour around maybe it’s losing its lustre for these big teams and the commercialisation has began to cut deep in the pockets. It’s little wonder TV seemed a little more attractive, and cheaper, than a 50-hour drive for a domestic fixture.