Many of those United fans who were unlucky to miss out on the drama of the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona will no doubt have vowed that they would not make the same mistake next time, and of course the moment has arrived, it's the Red Devils vs Chelski in Moscow. However, for many of those supporters the joy of reaching this final has been soured when it emerged that only those with really deep pockets will be actually being going to Moscow. The flight costs are prohibitively expensive, around £800 for a day trip - for the whole day out it will be over £1,000. In perspective that's more than the cost of a season ticket at Old Trafford.
Alternatively you could take the Deutsche Bahn train from London for £540, en route you will stop at Berlin and Warsaw before arriving in Moscow on May 20th - but there's nowhere to stay as all the hotels are either booked up or else way too expensive for the average fan. No such worries for UEFA's shiny-arse fat-cats, the city council pre-booked 10 hotels. Nice.
There’s no shortage of match tickets on Ebay though, but they will cost you a cool £2,000. (I don’t suppose that for once, the ticket touts will get stung?)
Leading up to the final there was a lot of speculation regarding the prospect of United meeting Liverpool, the fear was that there might be trouble ahead with rival fans clashing in Red Square and elsewhere, but in the light of the sky-high travel costs and lack of accommodation it seems those fears were unfounded.
Is it not somewhat ironic that the only good thing about two English clubs meeting in the Moscow final is that there's likely to be little no trouble? We cannot rule out the Russian trouble-makers lobbing in a few Molotov Cocktails, but that's not the point.
This match between United and Chelsea is the first All Prawn Sandwich Brigade final in the competition's history and for this reason alone, UEFA should hang their collective heads in shame, as many ordinary fans cannot afford to fund this trip. UEFA, will more than likely be privately thinking that they've pulled off something of a masterstroke in deciding on the final venue of Moscow.
English fans are of course well used to being ripped off by our own hapless FA, but UEFA have really screwed over supporters this time, the very fact that the fans needed a Visa just to gain access to Moscow should have precluded the Russian's as serious candidates. But, let's get make one thing clear here, the decision to award this final to Moscow has nothing to do the match-going fans and everything to do with money.
Reports claim that UEFA have realised that they are looking to the East to further expand because they have maximised their earning potential. So much for this tripe about the keeping the so called football family together – which is a common theme often spouted by UEFA and FIFA.
Furthermore, when Platini got the top job he was quick to publicly state that the fans are the lifeblood of the game when saying:"We know that fans are the only ones who show fidelity to a club or team basically from birth to death". So this is how the UEFA supremo rewards the loyal fans - by effectively pricing them of the Champions League final. Talk is cheap.
For the record, like many other fans, I wont be attending the final, instead I will make do with watching the match at home on TV. It's my wife's birthday too - another good reason no to go, but it didn't stop me in 1999 :0).
IF anyone fancies registering their disdain, UEFA is keen to hear from you. (Not)