Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Monday April 19 2010
I`ve always believed that despite the fact the massive cash injection from television makes our game a more attractive proposition; it still remains the property of the fan.
Without the loyal supporters that travel the length and breadth of the country, and this season across Europe, the game wouldn`t retain its natural charm.
Therefore, with UEFA set to announce whether the Europa League games, on Thursday, will go ahead with the current volcano scenario, I have a nasty feeling that we`re about to get stitched up.
With both Champions League semi-finals given the go-ahead, I can`t, despite there being a stretch of water between us and the European mainland, see UEFA doing anything other than insist the game goes ahead.
If it does, there is every likelihood that the 2,000 Fulham supporters scheduled to cheer on their side in Hamburg will be drastically reduced.
Common sense tells you that, with the skies closed, rail / sea tickets are like gold dust. Discussing the situation, (Sir) Roy Hodgson shares several of my fears, remarking,
"It will be a disadvantage if we can`t fly and are obliged to find other means of travel."
"We may have to travel for 20 hours whereas when the next game is played, Hamburg can be here in an hour."
"And it would be a disaster for the fans. You might find trains for 30 or 40 people but not for the 2,000 who have planned holidays around it."
"If there is a solution, which might be to switch the games and make them a week later then we`ll happily abide by it."
"If it turns out we have to travel, we`ll get there the best we can and still do our best on the night."
Will common sense prevail or will the tight schedules UEFA operate to mean most of those wanting to cheer our side on, in Germany, will miss out?
Postscript - As we suspected common sense has gone out of the window with the announcement that the game WILL go ahead this Thursday. Unless the wind changes direction that`s my trip down the pan!
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Date:Monday April 19 2010
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