My cable TV has been out of action for the past five months, despite the cable company sending people round on no less than five occasions to fix it. Last time they sent a trio of gormless looking men around, one of whom carried all his necessary tools in a carrier bag, and another who stunk to high heaven. Sure enough, they left without managing to fix the problem. I also have a problem with receiving normal terrestrial TV, in that the picture is always terrible no matter how many gormless, smelly men turn up to do something about it.
So as it was I missed the big match last night, and Paul Scholes’ wondergoal which has put Manchester United into the Champions League final against either Liverpool or Chelsea. Now Man Utd’s win has set up an all-English final, which will be held in Moscow on May 21st. I do not know what the ticket allocations are, but I assume there is a set number for each team’s supporters and probably a portion which can be bought locally. Holding the final in Moscow was always going to present serious visa problems for travelling fans, but now it looks as though the problem will be doubled. Rather than having the fans travelling from two countries and applying through two embassies for their visas, now the Russian embassy in London is going to have to process upwards of 40,000 visas in 3 weeks. I have no idea how they are going to manage this, short of either waiving the requirements for anyone holding a ticket, or rapidly bringing in extra staff who can cope with the workload. I can’t see them doing either of these.
Which makes me wonder if there are going to be several thousand very disappointed English football fans left holding useless tickets come 21st May. Tickets are on sale on the internet now, for a whopping £1,400 and upwards. I will be monitoring this situation very closely, because I am a Man Utd fan without a ticket, but in possession of a visa and with a place to stay in Moscow. These two might prove to be harder to get than a ticket after a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping maybe I can pick up a spare one somewhere along the way.