Away Days

Luggage means more than just a few crumpled shirts in a suitcase. It’s what takes us to the far reaches of the earth: our constant companion and storer of memories. But what does travel mean for people?

When it comes to the beautiful game, people travel for commitment, pride and a sense of belonging. Athletic competition is a universal language, perhaps only matched by a love of continental lager.

Football fans are among the most well-travelled people in the world, willing to go to great lengths to root for their beloved players. But which fans travel the most?

We decided to work out who went the extra mile in the 2016/17 Champions League.

Our chart shows the miles fans flew in a round trip by teams for each individual match as well as total miles, with some interesting results! Click on the image to enlarge it!

As the most travelled, Portugal’s Benfica fans must’ve had an extensive itinerary. We imagine the most ardent supporter would’ve been on first name terms with at least a few air stewards by the end of the period, with a total of 13,082 miles under their belt. Alone, a trip to Dynamo Kiev’s stadium in Ukraine would’ve been 4,170 miles—practically crossing Europe end-to-end.

Sticking with the Iberian theme, Spanish team Atlético Madrid come in second place with 11,678 air miles between matches. With a combined flight time of around 26 hours, we imagine readers on board would likely be brushing up on more than just the offside rule.

So what about England? Although we haven’t quite cracked the top 7, Leicester City F.C fans can lay claim to over 7,000 miles of travel.  Tottenham Hotspur supporters can also boast over 22 hours of flying, with an average trip being 936 miles of their total 5,016 miles travelled.

Have a look at our chart for a more detailed breakdown of each team’s journey. While travelling for football might not be as romantic as taking the Bernina Express train or interrailing through the Alps, we know it’s about the people. Fans’ love for their teams is what keeps this game alive. Let’s celebrate it.

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