Supporters are making their way to the biggest game in club football, with some who don't yet have a ticket determined to find one in the build-up to kick-offBlues Chronicle
London airports were experiencing the largest Anglo-German airlift since World War II, as an estimated 45,000 Chelsea fans made their way to Saturday's Champions League final in Munich.
Security queues at Stansted and Gatwick were teeming with replica shirts as the Blue Army made its way to the Allianz Arena.
At the other end, every airport within about 300 miles of Munich was being utilised by resourceful fans: Memmingen, Saltzburg, Zurich, Milan, Prague, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Paris.
People have come from all over the world, just to be near to the match when it kicks off. One man was flying into Munich airport on Saturday from Bermuda, via New York; while another had made the trip from Brisbane – without a match ticket.
Meanwhile many were taking 'The Road To Munich' literally, with Blues driving all the way from Sheffield, Leeds or Cornwall to the Bavarian capital.
One disabled fan was planning on travelling all the way to Germany in a London black cab. A friend said he had secured two drivers, and a pre-agreed price, but that they would leave the meter running just to see how high it reached!
Billie Davies, 27, of Aldershot is a Chelsea member, who bought a ticket for every home game in the league and cup this season. His whole family support Chelsea, and he has been attending games for 18 years.
He said: “I'm having to dip into my wedding money for the trip!
“I came home after the Newcastle game and said to my fiancée 'no matter what you say, I just have to be out there – just be happy for me'.”
|Champions League Final
|Countdown to Munich
He said he and his intended have been engaged 18 months, and plan to wed in August. They will have 11 tables at the wedding reception and, should Chelsea win in Munich, each table will be named after a member of their starting XI.
His journey to Munich will feature 15 lads in one minibus, and he describes their other arrangements as: “No plans, no hotel, no ticket... yet! Just beer and the clothes we leave in!”
Chris McGonigle (aka 'Big Chris'), 42, of Bristol, has been a season ticket holder since 1994, and a member before that.
His journey involves flying with three friends from Bristol to Prague, a brief stop to take in the local sights, then the long drive to Munich.
Of his group of four, only three have tickets and he said the fourth has 'turned down tout-price tickets'.
The partner in an investment company said: “I'm not sure I can describe how I'll feel if we win. There will be tears!
“And if Chelsea lose, I'm not sure we will be better at dealing with that after the 'Moscow experience'. Those words make me nauseous still!”
Sam Harris, 23, of Royal Tunbridge Wells has been attending games at Stamford Bridge for 17 years: the last 11 of those as a Matthew Harding Upper season ticket-holder.
“We had tickets for the Moscow final and they remain unused,” he said. “We were on the flight that was cancelled. That wasn't to be.”
He was planning to drive all the way to Munich, splitting time at the wheel between him and his dad – the cost of which has led him to take extreme measures.
He said: “My car is up for sale, as I now have no money and my season ticket payment is due soon. I've used every last penny I have until pay day to fund fuel and money for the trip.
“When the car goes, I will be gutted. It was my first car since I passed my test, and its in Chelsea blue!”