Friday, August 3

The big draw countdown - part 1 - Cluj

CFR Cluj

Country: Romania

From: The city of Cluj-Napoca, which has a population of 306,009 people

Positioned: In the north west of Romania 276 miles from the capital Bucharest and 256 miles from Budapest. The city's focal point is the central square, called Plata Urinii

Description: A student city known for its art galleries, museums and churches.

Random fact: The Cheeky Girls grew up there

The club: CFR Cluj won the league and cup double last season

Chances of playing United: United are in pot 1 of the draw. Cluj are in pot 4. United have a one in eight chance of playing them.

Stadium: The Stadionul CFR is to the north of the city centre, five minutes in a taxi and 10 minutes on foot from the central train station. It holds 23,500 people.

Tickets: When Chelsea played three two seasons ago, they got 1,200 tickets priced at £18.50.

Hotels (unless stated all prices are per person per night based on two people sharing a twin or double room. They can be booked through on a pay-on-arrival basis. All bookings can be cancelled for free up to 24 hours before arrival)

Bargain - £10.48

The City Center Hostel, at str.Memorandumului nr 13, is right in the centre of town and offers basic accommodation at a cheap price.

However it only has six rooms, if they sell out, you can get a bed in a dorm for £10 per person per night. All guests used shared bathrooms. Rooms are air conditioning and there is a restaurant.

Value - £23.05

The three-star Seven Hotel, at Gruia, nr.2,is a stone's throw from the stadium and the central train station.

It's in a quiet residential area, but still near enough the centre of town for you to enjoy the city in the days and hours leading up to the match.

There are 30 rooms, which are comfy and stylish and, more importantly there's a restaurant and bar – perfect for post-match drinking.

Luxury - £28.92

This really is an incredible price for a luxury four-star hotel with its own fitness centre and spa. The Hotel Ary, at Magaziei 19, has 40 rooms, a bar, cafe and a restaurant.

It is even closer to the stadium than the Seven – just a street away from the stand away fans occupy.

Getting there

With the club
When Chelsea played there two years ago, Thomas Cook – now United's official travel provider – sold a flight, overnight hotel and ticket package for £269

Cluj-Napoca Airport
£31 on Wizz Air from Luton

The airport is a 5.6-mile bus journey costing £3 return.

Timisoara Airport
£31 on Wizz Air from Luton

The airport is a 6-mile taxi into town costing £5. The train to Cluj takes six hours and costs roughly £30 return or you can take a 45-minute flight to Cluj with Carpatair for £130 return.

Bucharest Baneasa Airport
£150 on British Airways and TAROM from Heathrow

Then a two-hour onward flight on Malev for £70 return

Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu
£31 on Wizz Air from Luton

Then a two-hour onward flight on Malev from Baneasa Airport for £70 return

£35 on Wizzair and easyJet from Luton
£56 on Ryanair from Bristol
£66 on Ryanair from East Midlands
£81 on Jet2 from Manchester

It would take 29 hours each way from Manchester via London, Paris, Munich and Budapest.

You can also fly to any of those stops or to Cologne or Brussels and join the train there.

Sunday, March 25

Suggested letter

Dear Councillor,

it has come to my attention that, when the Regulatory Committee meets on March 29, the decision you make related to item 4 could have serious safety implications to Sunderland AFC supporters.

I, like others, oppose any attempt to breach stadium regulations without exception.

However, my concern is that, unless Manchester United get a reasonable allocation (upwards of 5,000) there will be a strong possibility of thousands of away supporters trying to gain access to the home end.

Last season, 45,408 people attended the same match, leaving 3,592 empty seats - all in the home end.

It is reasonable to assume there could be even more empty seats at this season's match as there is likely to be nothing riding on the game for Sunderland.

In comparison, the match could be of huge importance to United as it could be a title decider.

If that is the case, thousands of United fans would try to buy home-end tickets, whether through Sunderland, through ticket touts or Sunderland fans and some might even try to force entry into the stadium without a ticket.

Two seasons ago when the title was decided on the final day in a match at Wigan, United had an allocation of 6,000 tickets and even then there were about a thousand United fans in the Wigan end.

This provoked multiple flashpoints in the stadium with home fans attacking United fans.

And, as the home-end gates opened with five minutes to go, the stewards were overpowered and, again, about 800 United fans entered the stadium to see the trophy presentation - causing more flashpoints with home fans.

While I, of course, would class that as intolerable behaviour, I cannot ignore that it happened and would be likely to happen again unless necessary steps were taken.

If 'safety' measures are to be taken in the truest sense of the word, then the safety of all fans on the day must be taken into account.

I believe the only way of doing so is to increase the size of the allocation and to impose a strict procedure for purchasing home-end tickets for this match.

Finally, it has previously been recorded that Liverpool fans have repeated contravened stadium regulations with persistant standing at Sunderland.

As a result they got a reduced allocation of 2,361 for this seasons game - more than 600 than the committee proposes to pass on March 29.

I would urge you to either defer any decision until police and Sunderland AFC's safety officer has had chance to consider alternative options for allocation arrangements or to reject the recommendations put before you in point 4.1

xx xxx, Sunderland

Monday, February 19

Alternative trains from Wembley

Option 1 – journey time 2:56
Leave North Wembley: 17:13
Arrive London Euston: 17:40
Leave: 17:55
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 20:09

Option 2 – journey time 2:46
Leave Wembley Central: 17:44
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 18:32
Leave: 18:48
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 20:30

Option 3 – journey time 2:56
Leave North Wembley: 18:13
Arrive London Euston: 18:40
Leave: 18:55
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 21:09

Option 4 – journey time 2:46
Leave Wembley Central: 18:44
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 19:31
Leave: 19:48
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 21:30

Option 5 – journey time 2:56
Leave North Wembley: 19:13
Arrive London Euston: 19:40
Leave: 19:55
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 22:09

Option 6 - journey time 2:46
Leave Wembley Central: 19:44
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 20:32
Leave: 20:48
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 22:30

Option 7 – journey time 3:48
Leave Wembley Central: 19:53
Arrive Harrow and Wealdstone 20:01
Leave: 20:06
Arrive Watford Junction 20:13
Leave: 20:32
Arrive Birmingham New Street: 21:44
Leave: 22:01
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 23:41

Option 8 – journey time 3:30
Leave North Wembley: 20:43
Arrive London Euston: 21:08
Leave: 21:24
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 00:13

Option 9 - journey time 3:28
Leave Wembley Central: 21:25
Arrive Harrow and Wealstone: 21:33
Leave: 21:40
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 22:32
Leave: 22:48
Arrive Manchester Piccadilly: 00:53

Alternative trains to Wembley

Option 1 – journey time 2:55
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 08:20
Arrive Watford Junction: 10:39
Leave: 10.51
Arrive Wembley Central: 11:15

Option 2 – journey time 3:18
Leave Manchester Piccadilly : 08:27
Arrive Crewe: 09:00
Leave: 09:13
Arrive Watford Junction: 11:13
Leave: 11:21
Arrive Wembley Central: 11.45

Option 3 – journey time 3:11
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 09:20
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 11:12
Leave: 11:25
Arrive Harrow and Wealdstone: 12:13
Leave: 12:22
Arrive Wembley Central: 12:31

Option 4 – journey time 3:38
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 09:27
Arrive Birmingham New Street: 10:58
Leave: 11:10
Arrive Wembley Central: 13:03

Option 5 – journey time 2:55
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 10:20
Arrive Watford Junction: 12:34
Leave: 12:52
Arrive Harrow and Wealdstone: 12:58
Leave: 13:07
Arrive Wembley Central: 13:15

Option 6 – journey time 2:52
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 10:35
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 12:18
Leave: 12:41
Arrive North Wembley: 13:27

Option 7 – journey time 2:47
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 11:15
Arrive Milton Keynes Central: 12:50
Leave: 13:11
Arrive Wembley Central: 14:02

Option 8 – journey time 3:05
Leave Manchester Piccadilly: 11:35
Arrive London Euston: 13:49
Leave: 14:17
Arrive North Wembley: 13:40

To the stadium from Wembley Central station

Turn right and walk along High Road past McDonalds and Burger King to the Wembley Triangle Junction and Clock Tower Island.

Turn Left into Wembley Hill Road, cross the road and follow the pedestrian route across the White Horse Bridge. It takes 15 minutes.

You can also reach Wembley from London Euston and Harrow and Wealdstone via the Tube.
The price is included in your train ticket and your train ticket will work on the Tube turnstiles.

To the stadium from North Wembley station

Follow the pedestrian route under Empire Way and over Olympic Way to the front of the stadium. It takes 10 minutes.