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Planes, trains and taxis. Two Chelsea fans’ mad journey to Baku

31 May 2019

 

Two Chelsea fans have undertaken a journey which can only be described as completely bizarre and mind-bogglingly difficult, in their quest to see Chelsea take on Arsenal in the Europa League final at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

 

Father and son, Kevin Cobb, 59, and Jake Ralph 27, decided to set out on their own adverture to Azerbaijan after finding the official travel options too expensive.

The 3,462 mile journey involved 2 flights, 2 train journeys and a rather long taxi ride after the die hard supporters found themselves short of options due to the £1,000 per person travel cost.


The Cobbs left London via Stansted Airport late on Tuesday 21 May, getting the last flight to Istanbul. 

 

They then took a flight from Istanbul to Ankara before undertaking a 24 hour train journey on the Dogu Express from Ankara to Kars.

 

After travelling the 814 miles between Ankara and Kars they then took a 6 hour taxi ride to Tbilisi in Georgia, covering 245 miles.

 

However it didn't end there, after spending some time in Tbilisi over the weekend with other Chelsea fans, they then took a 24 hour train ride to Baku, arriving two days before the match on Monday 27 May.

 

Jake told the Daily Mail that flying in and out of Baku was prohibitively expensive, and many of his frends who have been to more than 40 matches this season were unable to go to the final due to the cost and logistics of getting there. 

 

There has been widespread anger from supporters in relation to the location of the final, with both teams handing back thousands of tickets to UEFA.

 

The pair estimate that they have saved around £500 each travelling independently from London to the Azerbaijan capital, which ironically has its own little piece of iconic London within its environs, the London taxi.

 

The London cab is the vehicle of choice used to ferry around those who live and work in Baku. 

 

As for the match, two goals from Eden Hazard and a goal each from Olivier Giroud and Pedro sealed Arsenals fate after a shambolic defensive display from the Gunners. Alex Iwobi did respond for Arsenal but it was far too little, too late as the North London side got thumped 4-1 by Chelsea. 

 

It was a double blow for the Gunners, who have now lost four straight finals in European competition, with the result consigning them to another season of Europa League football, squashing their Champions League ambitions. 

 

Image Source: Shankar S (Flickr)  

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