Arsenal blasted for chartering jet for 115-mile trip
Arsenal have come under fire after it emerged that they chartered a private jet to get their Premier League clash against Norwich at the weekend - a flight that reportedly took just 14 minutes.
Environmental groups have been up in arms at the Gunners' decision to fly from Luton airport to Norwich rather than drive the two hour 23 minute trip.
Arsenal's training ground in London Colney is just 115 miles from Norwich's Carrow Road Stadium, more than half of which is on motorways or dual carriageways.
Friends of the Earth spokesperson Jennifer Parkhouse was outraged.
"It is absolutely absurd," she said.
"I cannot see any reason why they would have flown, other than it being a rather ostentatious display of the players' and the club's wealth.
"If the flight took 14 minutes, they must have spent more time just getting on and off the plane than in the air."
An examination of the distances involved suggests that Parkhouse is probably right. Luton Airport is a 24-minute drive from London Colney, even private jets generally require a 15-minute check-in, and Norwich Airport is 13 minutes from Carrow Road.
Assuming an extra five minutes at each end for taxiing to-and-from the terminal, and the 14 minutes for the flight itself, that suggests that flying took the team 76 minutes.
In other words, the estimated £11,000 cost of hiring the jet for the flight will have saved Arsenal a grand total of one hour and seven minutes each way.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was unmoved by the complaints, however, blaming engineering works on the trains and unpredictable traffic on the A11.
"Usually we take the train and there was no train available, so in the end we decided to fly because we had to drive up on Friday afternoon," he said. "You never know how long it lasts."
One thing's for sure: given the miserable display put on by Arsenal's players as they lost the match 1-0, they were probably grateful for the chance to get out of Norfolk in the fastest manner possible come Saturday evening.