If Manchester City are to win the UEFA Cup they will have to play 19 games, the equivalent of half a Premier League season. Can you imagine how many miles they, and their fans, will have to travel if the Blues end the season in Istanbul. The first game, in the Faroe Islands against EB Streymur involves a round-trip of 1224 miles and in some cases cars, ferrys and trawlers - even the home leg is in Barnsley, and all this to win a trophy that is considered second rate by some!
Why is it regarded unfashionable? A pal of mine reckons it's because the teams that finish third in their Champions League groups get a second chance in the UEFA Cup - others argue it's because of the way teams qualify for the competition. City are the perfect example, having got in through the "back door" by being the "fairest" team in the Premier League, that didn't already qualify through their league position! Next season there's a place reserved for the smartest dressers.
City boss Mark Hughes, and owner Thaksin Shinawatra, have promised to make the UEFA Cup a big priority this season, which is good, because I think the competition is cheapened by clubs fielding weakened teams because they're more bothered about staying in their domestic top flight. Bolton Wanderers often fielded second strings last season, though ironically they still did quite well - which might even be another reason to suggest it's a second rate competition.
I'd get rid of the Champions League teams, reducing the number of games - other than that I think it's a fascinating competition. My first games, as a boy was a thrilling European Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Schalke, the games City played against AC Milan, Juventus and Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1970's still linger in the memory, and more recently I enjoyed the games in Lokeren, Groclin and at the Millennium Stadium against TNS.
Let's face it, with the top four locked tight by the big four and even the domestic cups usually dominated by the richest, the UEFA Cup still offers the chance of success by any other club. But then again, maybe that's the argument again - if the big clubs aren't in it, how can it be taken seriously? I'm not bothered by that, I just love the unknown of UEFA Cup football. I didn't even know where the Faroe Islands were until the last couple of weeks. Within a few days I'll be an expert of the islands between Scotland and Iceland with a population of just 46,000. I might even have tried a puffin butty or sampled Whale meat!
Follow Ian's trip to the Faroe Islands with Manchester City on BBC Manchester