When the new Russian Premier League season kicks off this Sunday, there will be one heck of a journey for Zenit St. Petersburg and their new manager Roberto Mancini.
[ MORE: Lukaku joins United for $96.5 million ]
They are heading east.
Zenit will play newly-promoted FC-SKA Khabarovsk (who have never played in the Russian Premier League before) and the new boys hail from the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk, which is nestled close to the border with China and both Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan are just a quick flight away.
Zenit, based in the far west of Russia, will take a seven-and-a-half hour flight to Khabarovsk for the game, but if any fans wanted a true away day experience then it would take 111 hours to drive the 5,442 miles journey, while a train ride would take five days and 17 hours according to Google.
Of course, Zenit won’t be the only team to have this journey this season as the train ride from Moscow to Khabarovsk (it’s on the Trans-Siberian Railway line, which is handy…) is 5,296 miles, and 10 of the Russian Premier League’s 16 teams are located in the east of the country, so there will be plenty of trips out to the far east of Russia this season.
Now, we all know Seattle to New York or LA to Boston is a long trip for Major League Soccer teams, but Seattle to NYC is a mere (!) six-hour flight and just 2,838 mile drive. MLS fans, what have you been complaining about when it comes to following your team across the country…
With my tongue now firmly out of my cheek, Zenit to FC-SKA Khabarovsk, and vice versa, must be the longest journey for a league game in soccer history.