Manchester City Supporters Club has welcomed the “brilliant” gesture from owner Sheikh Mansour of paying for travel costs of all fans going on official trips to the Champions League final.

Official Supporters Club general secretary Kevin Parker has estimated that the generous decision to stump up for all flights and transfer costs for fans who have to observe the strict Covid restrictions - by flying in and out on the same day - will cost the Blues owner around £2million.

And he says that, at the end of a tough year for everyone, and with many fans unhappy at Portugal’s insistence on strict bubble rules surrounding the final in Porto on May 29, it is a great gesture.

“It’s a brilliant offer,” said Parker. “I got a call from the club ahead of the announcement and my initial response was ‘How great is that?’

“It’s an unbelievable gesture by the owner. I made a personal choice to travel on the Friday and come back on Sunday but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s brilliant.

“The club has been under pressure from Uefa to make sure as many fans as possible travel in and out on the day of the game. The club has fought and fought to relax those rules as much as they can, there’s only so much they can do.

“One way of showing Uefa they are trying to do as much as they can to ensure supporters do go on the day is to pay for the travel.

“Ultimately it means the club’s most loyal supporters with the highest number of loyalty points will benefit and you can’t fault that.

Many fans were furious that the revelation of the bubble rules was made long after the announcement last week that the final would be switched from Istanbul to Porto, as they had already shelled out for hotels and flights.

That was beyond City’s control, and Parker says the club have done their best to get restrictions eased.

“There will be some people disappointed because they have already booked but I can’t make negatives about something that I estimate will cost the owner about £2million,” he said.

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour

“Some will say that is a drop in the ocean to him, but it’s not about the cost, it’s the gesture.”

Coming just weeks after Sheikh Mansour’s ownership was questioned by the main body of City fans over the European Super League fiasco, there are bound to be suggestions that this is an attempt to restore faith.

But Parker says there was no need for any such move: “Our supporters were disappointed when we got into bed with the Super League thing but that was very quickly remedied when we were the first of the Big Six to back out.

“Any frustration our supporters had about the Super League had already been removed. There is no negativity left over - there is no connection, it’s just a genuine attempt to help our most loyal supporters in our great fanbase, and there are no negatives in that at all.”

City fans have openly spoken about how the success of the team this season has provided a constant and a source of joy in troubled times, and Parker says this gesture tops that off.

“It’s been very tough,” he said. “Football supporters are a strange breed who like to pretend they have an outer shell of being tough, but it’s been difficult with Covid and furlough, and people losing people who were close to them.

“The only salvation within that has been watching the team playing amazing, winning the League Cup, getting to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, winning the league and now going to the final of the Champions League.”

“It has made massive differences to some people’s lives when they were surrounded by negatives.”