ARSENAL are planning a Europa League trophy parade if they beat Chelsea in Baku – but most travelling fans will have no chance of watching it.
The Gunners will celebrate with an open-top bus parade through the streets around the Emirates at 7pm tomorrow night, culminating with an appearance by Unai Emery and his players on the podium above the club megastore on the Hornsey Road.
Reuters Arsenal fans in Baku will miss the open-top bus parade in London if they beat Chelsea
While supporters at home will have no problem getting there to cheer on their heroes, those in Azerbaijan face a near-impossible race to get home in time.
The final will finish at 12.45am Thursday at the EARLIEST local time. Add on about 45 minutes for extra-time and penalties and fans might not be out of the Baku Olympic Stadium until nearly 2am.
That would leave travelling Arsenal fans a 20-hour window to get back home to make the parade.
Only the richest of supporters will be able to afford a direct flight from Baku while the majority must make do with stopovers or lengthier journeys.
While some Gooners will be annoyed to miss the London celebrations, they will all be in party mood if Emery and his men secure Champions League football next season.
It is a sign that Arsenal think winning in Azerbaijan will get them back into the big-time.
Chelsea, though, winners of the trophy back in 2013 and already confirmed of a return to the Euro elite, have decided against making similar plans.
The club, which has tired of tortuous previous negotiations with Hammersmith and Fulham council, opted against even opening discussions when they would have had to be started months ago.
Chelsea have to make such early plans because of the disruption such an event would cause, in midweek, to local businesses, residents and traffic flow.
Cynics may wonder if the club might have been keener to celebrate had there been any love for Mauricio Sarri.
Chelsea vs Arsenal – Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time and betting odds for the Europa League final