Two London Teams Playing an UEFA Final in Baku: ‘I Want You to Panic!’


We finished fifth in the PL and I don’t think many can say they enjoyed the last two months of this season’s Arsenal campaign. As this is regarded by most of us as a transitional year, we are glad to see the back of it. As poor as we played in the PL, as good we played in the UEFA league; good as in winning performances, even though the quality of the overall football was still below Weng-era par. But fair is fair to Unai, he got us to the final in Baku and we have a fantastic chance to bring home some rare European silverware.

I know that winning the final in Baku will also allow us to play in the CL next year, but I, for one, care less about this. Having grown up with the romance of European football in three different competitions, I find it very disappointing that the only cup that really matters nowadays is the one with the ‘big ears’. The EL has been moved to Spursday nights and the biggest ‘price’ is a ticket to the multi-millions of the CL, rather than the honour and joy of winning the competition itself.

But what irritates me more than anything is this final is played at the very other end of Europe by two London based clubs who have only been given 6000 tickets each, a mere 10% of the total capacity of the stadium.

As of yesterday, the only way to get there by plane on the day is with two stops or you can fly directly to Baku on 25 May, four days before the final takes place. By car it is a non-stop 59 hours drive apparently. So the investment by supporters, both in terms of money and time, is enormous and the impact on the environment in terms of CO2 production is ridiculous.

Our sons and daughters are becoming disillusioned about their ability to live safely and healthily in the mid to late 21st century and quite rightly so. I am also worried for them. Yet UEFA did not think twice about awarding the UEFA Cup final to Baku. They made the decision a few years ago and it was no doubt based on money, and ‘impact on environment’ was probably not even one of the criteria. This is not good enough anymore.

So only 20% of the tickets are sold to the fans of the clubs in the final and they then have to make huge investments to actually get to the final. The clubs and their fans matter less and less… we are actually taken for granted. Where do the other 80% of the tickets go?!


Finally, UEFA has a big responsibility regarding the environment and should think much more carefully regarding where finals should take place. Instead of awarding cities these finals years in advance they should wait and see who in April of each year is still in the competition. Based on the location of the semi-final clubs UEFA can decide where finals could potentially take place based on capacity, transport options AND environmental impact. Clearly, the final between Arsenal and the Chavs should be held at Wembley (or if necessary in Paris or Brussels if we believe it should be in another country). That would have been a responsible choice rather than asking the clubs’ supporters to spend enormous amounts of cash whilst pumping huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere to get there and back. Common sense is required ffs.

By TotalArsenal.

21 thoughts on “Two London Teams Playing an UEFA Final in Baku: ‘I Want You to Panic!’

  • Points all well made regarding this fiasco of location for the Europa League finals. There can only be excuses; certainly no good reasons.

    OTOH? I feel quite differently about the results of the Premier League. Where I’d been more pragmatic than optimistic of the possibilities in preseason? I see a manager who might have done better with the tools left to him. 21-7-10 (70 pts) is not a poor record all-things-considered.

    After the opening two matches of the season, I felt Arsenal mostly held their own vs the other top-5 clubs. Nothing spectacular. Nothing to be ashamed of. Just top-of-mind? Had it not been for 7 points given away (by the dolt)– the Gunners would have sat alone in 3rd on 77 points.

    With that finish instead? We Gooners might be a bit more energized about this season. Probably quite a bit more optimistic about adding a few good ones, ridding a few crap ones this Summer. Then pushing on to see if we might ascend further in 2019-20.

    Certainly the KSE braintrust might be inclined to infuse more cash too– had we ended up on 77pts– with an automatic CL berth.

    But here we are. Waiting and hoping that a cup-winning manager can work the magic necessary. To maybe– have those things granted which are necessary to push on next season.

    Without a win in Baku? Arsenal’s recovery is stunted for yet another year.
    Thanks mostly– to seven stupid points.


  • It is rumoured that both London teams will return half of their ticket allocation, and Azerbaijan are already saying a match ticket is only an email away.
    The stadium is going to be hard to fill, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them give tickets away to students or order the army to turn up in civvies.

  • Cheers JW, all good points. I will write something soon about our season and what we can expect next season, so will keep my powder dry for now. Our poor PL finish is a concern and the most important thing to look at is whether we are seeing structural improvements/ new shoots coming through.

  • Nice title to the article, Kev. Would be going back to read before a direct comment on it.

    Just wanted to say how City have proved too much for Watford in the FA cup final (as if anyone doubted) today. It’s already 6-0 in the 88th minute with Sterling getting a hat trick and City getting its domestic treble. This sure is a great team, City. Only team that doesn’t stop trying to score, irrespective of the scoreline.

  • Saw your (Kev) posts from the previous thread and thought we could add Donyell Malen to the list of promising youngsters we’ve had to lose to other clubs, owing to lack of assurance for playing time. He is at PSV Eindhoven in the Eredevise now and is fairly influential in the squad.

    Hopefully, we can make a decision about Martinez and Bielik. Hard job, if you ask me.

  • It is a fiasco, the choice of location for such a final but there is a reason the decision is made months/years before. It removes the potential for suspicion about bias, should the host stadium be home to a team in contention, giving it unfair advantage. Secondly, need to make all logistics preparation, security, etc. For the fans, it allows time to study the travel and hotel choices in time for the final, in the hope the team you support will get there.

    Now, the choice of such a distant and apparently hard-to-access location (one with political enemies over whom they’ve had travel bans and with whom they had diplomatic scuffles) is another matter. UEFA should be more sensitive and empathetic to the plight of the travelling fans. No way would they be playing the CL final in that location, for instance. It’s a bit disrespectful and they should take responsibility should the atmosphere be less than ideal.

  • Cheers Eris, much appreciated mate… 🙂

    Only thing is todays post is from Total, but mine is in the pipeline. 😉

    I’ve heard that up until today that Arsenal have sold only 2,800 of their 6,000 ticket allocation. I actually hope that there’s a lot of empty seats on the 29th and an investigation at UEFA sees a few tosspots get the bullet…

  • Azerbaijan is very close to Syria and Iraq, it’s also in a country that to all intense and purposes is still at war with Armenia, so I’m not sure that the safety and security aspect stands up, but backhanders certainly do.

    Azerbaijan’s attitude to Mkhitaryan and many Anglo Armenian Arsenal fans who wanted to go to the final is a massive own goal.

  • Hmm,

    On post: well, every country gets its turn, big countries for CL and others for UC… :/ … I doubt there’ll be trouble, but, we’ll meh…

    On season: Overall not bad. Horrible finish though. Defense needs reworking and only the big Greek seems a keeper as time and tide have done for Koz and Nacho, and we will see…. I look at if we’d given up 5 (well timed fewer goals) we could’ve realistically seen 2 draws into wins and 3 losses to draws for that +7, or better… Just 5… From a lot… Now, is that players, IMO 65% of it, or system, for me the other 35%???

    Cheers from here!

    — jgc

  • Manchester City beat Watford 6-0 in FA cup Final , First team to achieve domestic treble, 10 years ago they were a mid table club at best, Their new sugar daddy owners couldnt even be bothered to show up when they were awarded this years Premier league trophy, They are shocked when they are questioned about Financial Fair Play. Sickening Football has lost its way in the last 20 years

  • Hey Geoff,
    The return of Bellerin and Holding will be like two new signings if not better. I reckon Nacho is great back up and has another season in him. Kola might need replacing though and we may need a new super CB to step things up at the back. However, I reckon it is for a large part about what happens at the training grounds.

  • Cheers Eris and Kev. Eris, re first paragraph of last comment: all is avoidable/manageable imo. I can see no reason why UEFA could not announce where the final will be played after the semi-finals have been completed. Security may be a challenge but nothing the clubs and city involved will not have done numerous times before..

  • It would great to see a major final in Dublin, but I’m not sure the Irish have ever had one?
    Then there’s Warsaw, Sofia, Bucharest, Prague, Helsinki, I cant recall a major european final in any of those countries, I could wrong, maybe it’s because none of them are oil producers?

  • Good post TA. I must confess I was only bothered by the traveling inconvenience ad cost and never for one moment thaught about the extra emission into the atmosphere by the longer journey. Great sensitivity to the kind of world we’d leave for the coming generations. 👍👍

    As for the Baku decision, one can understand that there is an effort by UEFA (and FIFA) to make every country feel part of the family. What disqualifies Baku for me is the political situation in the country that rules out visitors from any other country more especially from a neighboring country from entering the country. Unfortunately we are directly affected here as maybe the thousands who might have thronged the stadium from Armenia to cheer their own Mkhi are banned.

    If am Arsenal I will subsidize the travel expense for the 60000 allocated tickets by £250 which sums to £1.5m just to turn Baku into more of a home game. Chelsea are already qualified for the CL and we should be a lot more desperate than them.

  • Good points TA. Travelling to Baku is like three-quarters of the way to China or India. Not sure why they called Azerbaijan Eastern Europe though.

    Recently the F1 grand prix was held there, so why there was an issue with foreigner influx at the Baku International Airport? They could have learnt from Formula 1 on the logistics. Crap planning from UEFA.

    Will be eagerly seeing the final on TV.

  • To answer your question “Where do the other 80% of the tickets go?!”: I am sure a lot of them will be offered to fans of either team at 5, 10 or 20 times their value. The nice folks in the former Soviet Union made the transition from Kommie to Kapitaliski quite smoothly.

  • Was going to reply to Eris’ concerns about logistics (and suspicions) with respect to a later awarding (timing wise) of the EL final locale. Though, TA’s response has summed it up nicely enough from my perch.

    More to the point? Just what reward does Baku reap from this contest? Little that appears obvious. That stadia will undoubtedly be undersold, filled with giveaways if at all– and the money spent on tourism will be next to nil. Guessing there’s some modicum of TV rights moola involved. But almost everyone else involved is p*ssed-off about it.

    Halfway round the world– it doesn’t affect me logistically (I’ll find a way to tune in). Yet it does. As a fan of one of the clubs participating. Certain those UEFA minions have little clue the reach and extent these decisions affect the game. And more than just locally.

    Big world. Big market. Little minds.


  • My bad, TA/Kev. Not sure why I thought the article was written by Kev. 🤨

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