Q: Why Brentford?
And not Blackpool or Burnley, you mean? There’s a very good reason. This is a city-by-city guide not a club-by-club one. Brentford is in London, and London is a football mecca in the same way that Barcelona is. And rather than just pander to the Chelseas of this world, we wanted to bring in the lesser-visited clubs to give the stadium-goer – in this case, quite likely to be Norwegian – a more rounded football experience. Plus he might actually get in.
It might not always be plain sailing: stray dogs may attack on the way to Metalurh Donetsk and in Minsk, the Dinamo-Yuni, um, stadium, is patrolled by Belarus’ finest.
But for every Unterhaching there’s a Union St-Gilloise (aaahh…!), and for every Csepel (we’re getting there!) there’s an Atromitos (a blast, if you ever get the chance).
And, anyway, Brentford has a pub on each corner, so there.
Q: Ok, ok – but still no Burnley?
Yes, yes, we’re getting there. In fact, we’ve been there, done it, got the retro shirt. But in order to launch before another season is upon us, we had to draw the line somewhere. There’s more, many more to come. Ruch Chorzów, anyone?
Q: What kind of kickbacks is any hotel getting for being mentioned – or how much cut are you taking for any click-through ads? And the bars?
Nothing, nada, zipola. We had a look around the city and its stadium/s, slept in or at least paid a visit to the hotels in question and had a gander – and, in nearly every case, a drink – in the bars. We’ve put ourselves in your shoes. What kind of places would add that little extra to your city-break weekend or midweek euronight experience?
Q: What if the match ticket information you’ve given has changed?
In as many cases as possible, we’ve provided a click-through link to the ticket outlet so you can see for yourself, right now. If not, every club featured has had their website linked for you to access.
Q: Some of the photos seem a bit iffy… weren’t any professionals up for the job?
No, that’s the whole point. We’ve taken all the photos ourselves, gone to the stadium, and snapped away – they’re the kind of photos anyone would take.
Q: But surely you could have just found most of them on the internet?
Precisely. Any idiot in his bedroom can download a photo of the Nou Camp, wax lyrical about penyas and Catalans and hey presto, they’ve produced a football guide. We’re dedicated to first-hand research.
Q: And the maps?
Yes, yes, we know. Nobody seems to be able to make a decent map these days. But rather than wait around for someone to create an even half-decent digital map, we’ve gone ahead and launched this initial guide. It’s a work in progress – there’ll be updates and improved editions as we go along. Bear with us!
Q: We’re going on a football trip to Sofia next month. Will you pay us if we send you some photos?
That depends – there’s already way over 200 cities already nailed. But do contact us via our facebook and twitter accounts, and let us know.
Q: Four wheels bad?
Libero has been compiled under the assumption that fans from the UK will be flying to the European city concerned – hence the detailed breakdown of how to get to town from the airport – and fans from Europe are flying into Britain. Locations of the main Eurostar terminals are also given.
The UK-focused ground guides – and there are a couple of good ones out there – go to great lengths to give driving directions. Each entry somehow ends up being an exhaustive description of A-road tips, turn-offs and motorway don’ts. There’s no way we (anyone?) could provide better point-to-point road directions than Via Michelin – and no way that we (anyone?) could hope to match Deutsche Bahn for European train timetables.
Budget airlines have shrunk the map of Europe and made it eminently affordable for all, from all points of Britain and the continent.
And for our Norwegian friend visiting Brentford, he has a handful of airports diligently listed in full.
Q: Surely internet booking sites will give me a better rate than dealing with the hotel directly?
True, in most cases, but listing venues individually should allow you to click through and assess the establishment for itself. This is not a hotel guide, it’s a football guide – tips on accommodation seemed a logical extra to bring to the table.