Normally when you set off for a tournament, a couple of days before it is about to kick off, the UK’s airport terminals are positively heaving with football or rugby fans. More Than a Game set off for the rugby world cup in New Zealand a full week ahead of New Zealand 2011’s first match and found Heathrow airport awash with English, Welsh and Irish fans ready to begin their long haul journeys to the southern hemisphere. On this Wednesday evening in Birmingham, two days before Euro 2012 begins, the total number of football fans spotted is…zero.
We are flying into Rzeszow in south-east Poland as a one-way flight is only 40 quid and leaves us just 150 kilometres from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. If we wanted to fly directly to Ukraine it would have been difficult to find an available return seat for much less than 300 quid.
On board our Ryanair flight we had been expecting at least ten or twenty football fans to have chosen this same eastern-bound travel option but clearly almost all of those using this flight are Poles, many of whom are returning to home after working in the UK or to visit relatives.