Often Partisan

Off to Partizan IX

It’s now just nine days until the playoff round draw for the Europa League, and despite all the crap that has gone on this summer, Blues will be in the hat. The Europa league third qualifying round ties take place this Thursday and next Thursday; and there are fifteen Champions League 3rd qualifying round ties also taking place this week and next. As the losers of the Champions League ties will drop into our draw, I thought I’d take a look through last night’s results and see who could be in with us.

FC Vaslui

Having been beaten 2-0 away by FC Twente, it’s going to take a big home win for the 3rd placed team from Romania’s Liga I to qualify for the playoff round of the Champions League. As such, they look a good bet to drop into the Europa League, where their co-efficient means they are most likely to be unseeded again.

FC Vaslui play in the 15,000 capacity Stadionul Municipal in Vaslui, Romania. As you can see from the picture, it’s a typical Eastern European ground, open to the elements and surrounded by drab grey communist-era buildings. They don’t have much history, having been in existence in their present form for only the last eight years, and have only qualified for the Champions League thanks to 2nd placed FC Politehnica Timişoara being denied a domestic licence for the 2011/12 season.

Vaslui lies in north-eastern Romania, not far from the border with Moldova. As places go, it can’t be the most exciting of cities as when I started looking for travel tips I was met with blank pages. The nearest airport is in Romania’s second city Iași, which has flights from a few Eastern European capitals; otherwise you can fly via Blue Air from London Luton to Bacau – but this doesn’t come cheap with return flights around the match at the 400 euros mark. The good news however is that according to pintprice.com, beer is about a quid a pint in Romania.

Litex Lovech

The Bulgarian champions Litex lost last night 2-1 at home to Wisła Kraków, and you would think that they face an uphill task to not be demoted down to the Europa League. Again, their low co-efficient would see them unseeded, and as such potential opponents for Birmingham City.

Litex Lovech play in the 8,300 capacity stadium in the small town of Lovech, in central Bulgaria. Again, like Vaslui it’s an open air stadium, with very little cover when the elements decide to conspire against football fans. However, despite being smaller than Vaslui’s stadium, the Lovech is graded three stars by UEFA so it can’t be all that bad. One Litex player that will probably be familiar to English fans is striker Svetoslav Todorov, who had spells at West Ham, Portsmouth, Wigan and Charlton, although he is clocking on a bit now.

Like Vaslui, it’s going to be hard to get to Lovech should we draw Litex. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria is a good hundred miles away, although Sofia Airport does offer direct flights from Gatwick and Heathrow. Like Romania however, beer is cheap and a pint could set you back between 50p and a £1 a go.

FC Zestafoni

The Georgian champions are still in with a shout in their tie, after drawing 1-1 at home to Sturm Graz but I would expect it to be a much tougher tie in Austria. They are the lowest ranked of the current Champions League teams, and as such would definitely be unseeded should they drop into the Europa league.

FC Zestafoni play in the tiny 4,558 capacity David Abashidze Stadium in Zestafoni. As you can see, it’s not the most salubrious of locations Blues could find themselves in, although it looks like it has a certain charm about it. Like Vaslui, the feroelebi haven’t been in existence long, having been formed in 2004 by a local iron company.

Zestafoni itself is located in central Georgia. I have to admit, the first time I saw the name I did a double take and thought “where?” There is an airport not too far away at all in Kutaisi, but to get there is going to require a stopover either in Kiev or Moscow so it’s not going to be a cheap place to get to by any means. However, once you get there you’re looking at beer being 60p a pint so I’m sure some fun could be had; plus it’s the one team I’ve seen in the draw I think we could actually beat!

I thought I’d make a quick note on prize money – although I can’t get any figures for this season, based on the 2009/10 figures we should get 90,000 euros for being in the playoff round; should we make it to the group stages we can count on 1mil euros for being in it; 120,000 euros if we can win a game in that round and 60,000 euros if we can draw a game in that round. Throw in television revenue as well, and a win in the playoff round could give us a very tasty 2mil euros which would be very welcome in the current financial climate. My advice to Chris Hughton would be to go for it.

 

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8 Responses to “Off to Partizan IX”

  • prewarblue says:

    Its all very well estimating how much Blues should/may get from the Europa,,,,, the main problem will be after Pannu,s statement regarding unpopular choices will there be enough players left to feild a team.

  • Midleton says:

    I agree with prewarblue re the article Blues in Europe,I would add that the writer would be better discussing what really matters at the moment-the very existence of our club.Time for some fans to put away their Playstations and grow up……..

    • almajir says:

      If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.

    • Midleton says:

      almajir-Since when can you read only the things you like or agree with?Unintentionally I think you have got to the core of the problem with many Blues fans-they only want to hear what they want to hear.Given the crisis at BCFC I think its time for a grown up debate.

  • Blue In Murcia says:

    midleton…………… how about you start a blog and eff off elsewhere then if you don’t like it!

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    Everyone’s upset. Let’s not get snappy.

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    Have to say I rather enjoyed this article. Yes there are very serious things happening to the club but we are in Europe for what might be a once in a lifetime experience – so we might as well enjoy it!

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Litex Lovech? Didn’t she have a hit with ‘Lucky Number’?


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