Flight socks, safety demonstrations and jet lag have become staples of every elite Premier League club’s pre-season.
Those the fattest of top-flight cats task with turning profits know there’s money to be spun in the farthest flung corners of the planet and, with each passing summer, their determination to visit each of them seems to grow.
But does cramming multiple long-haul flights into three weeks or so have any impact on success when the important stuff gets underway? Looking at the previous three seasons, it doesn’t matter how many passport stamps your club collects, so long as the wins flow on the field.
Chelsea warmed up for 2014/15 with a trip around Europe to rival that of the keenest inter-railer fresh out of university, visiting a staggering six countries in 19 days.
No fellow ‘big six’ rival had clocked up fewer miles than their 4,367 across the two pre-seasons preceding this but, more importantly, no one recorded as many points (working on the premise such things were awarded for positive results in non-competitive clashes) as their 22 either.
Admittedly, four of these were garnered in two 45-minute matches in Istanbul, but their flying pre-season laid foundations for a glorious campaign in which the title was won by a mammoth eight points.
No small amount of natural resources were guzzled to fuel the Blues’ one-continent venture, but the greenhouse gas emissions from the west Londoners’ private plane can’t compare to the T-Rex-sized carbon footprint Liverpool left following their globetrotting excursion to get in shape for 2013/14.
The rampant Reds set the tone for the season ahead, scoring a bucketful of goals and plundering the equivalent of 21 points on a spectacular sojourn that saw terra firma graced in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia among other destinations.
Fast-forward nine months and Brendan Rodgers’ side were relentlessly running down a maiden Premier League title.
Despite missing out in unimaginably cruel circumstances, Liverpool came as close as they ever have done to winning the re-branded top-tier, finishing two points behind eventual champions Manchester City.
The Citizens’ 2013/14 pre-season wasn’t as impressive (they pocketed nine points from a 20,441-mile tour), but it was marginally superior than neighbours Manchester United, whose lowest haul across the three years in question (eight points over 23,289 miles of travel) was the precursor for their worst ever Premier League finish of seventh.
Man Utd and Liverpool’s friendly fortunes contrasted once again 12 months prior.
The Merseysiders mustered a shameful five points in the 2012/13 pre-season, before tumbling into an equally dismal seventh-place finish 38 competitive games later.
United, on the other hand, went unbeaten in their seven warm ups, one of which was against Barcelona, before going on to hoist a 20th top-tier title the following May.
Despite bagging four more points in the 2012/13 sparring sessions, City would relinquish the crown to their cross-town foes, but the silver medal they ended up sporting at the time represented their second-best Premier League finish, further underpinning the importance of a strong pre-season.