Many will be aware that whilst there is a huge stampede for tickets for the game versus Ajax in Amsterdam in November, there is quite the opposite for the game in Milan on Wednesday. As things stand now, Celtic still have tickets left for the game in the San Siro, a remarkable fact given the demand that previous games there have caused. In regards to Amsterdam, there are approximately 14,000 booked up for the game (an estimate from Celtic based on ticket demand)
Right now, under 3000 Celtic fans will be in the San Siro on Wednesday night.
Now, I don't for one second believe that 11,000 people find the game in Amsterdam more attractive than the game in Milan (If I could go to any of them, Milan would be top of the list on account of it being first) so why are they not going this week? (I expect now that some people reading this will be saying "But it's Amsterdam, that's got more to offer than Milan!" Trust me, anything you get in Amsterdam is available in Milan)
I believe that a lot of Celtic fans were costed out of this game.
There are buses going to Milan right now that are tremendous value for money (if you can do a 52 hour round trip) and I salute all on them and all who organised them, you've proved that deals for the ordinary punters are achievable if the right amount of will is there.
Does that will exist at Celtic? Yes, but only in some.
One of the key factors here is in 2013 we are getting 2700 tickets for the Amsterdam Arena. In 2001, we got 8000. Why? Because, at the meeting of clubs before the tie, the ticket office manager offered to pay for 8000 right there and then and Ajax jumped at it.
I'm sure you can see now why I say the will is there among some.
Thousands of Celtic fans would love to be going to Milan this week but, unlike Amsterdam, it's not the easiest place to get to and folk are finding it harder and harder to spend £350 on a day trip (Just ask Harry Hynds) and something has to be done(other than being lucky on the Ryanair website) to make it affordable to the fans who already had have put in around £500 to Celtic this season and it's only September.
Ditching Thomas Cook was a step in the right direction, merely moving to another almost identical travel company was not.
I think the best thing that could happen is the people from Celtic's side that are part of the talks that come up with prices should travel on the buses to games like Milan away and pick the brains on there of the Bhoys and Ghirls who seem to be able to block book good hotels at a cost that is affordable to the average fan.
The maverick Tims will always get there and I salute anyone who has the time and wherewithal who gets everywhere Celtic play, I used to be one myself. I'd like to see those people getting a wee break from the club and European travel becoming an option for many more.
Or Ajax getting another offer they couldn't refuse.