Manchester City and Wigan fans set for FA Cup dash to train station
The FA Cup final takes place on Saturday 11 May and the Football Association have predictably put revenues ahead of football fans by announcing a kick-off time of 5.15pm.
April 16th, 2013
The decision has angered both sets of supporters who will be struggling to get the last train back from London to the north-west, with the FA now accused of making television revenue their main priority.
Last season there was criticism after the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool was played on a Saturday evening and the same will happen when Manchester City face Wigan next month, with extra-time and penalties meaning the fans’ travel arrangements could be affected.
Wigan Athletic Supporters Club spokesman Jason Taylor said: “It seems the FA are more interested in what the television companies want than the logistics of supporters getting to and from their final. It’s not just us, it affects Manchester City as well. They are only 18 miles away and we will be using the same roads and, if it was possible, train lines. It was a nightmare for the semi-final.
“We expected a late kick off but the ridiculous thing is the final won’t clash with the Premier League programme, which was the original reason for having a late start, as they have already moved those games to the Sunday. But the TV companies want a late time to attract a bigger global audience and that is taking precedence over supporters. We won’t have a problem selling our ticket allocation for the final but the day is a lot more difficult for supporters than it needs to be and the FA should consider that. With a 3pm kick off you would have plenty of time to catch the train even if the final went to extra time and penalties.”
Andrew Thomas, 47, chairman of Ashton-under-Lyne official branch of Manchester City supporters club also criticised the FA. “I think it’s absolutely crackers. If it had been two London teams like Chelsea and Millwall then fair enough because they will be home for eight o’clock. Because people have got a four to six hour journey to get there and a four to six hour journey coming back means some won’t be getting home until gone two o’clock in the morning: it’s absolutely ludicrous. You don’t want kids up at that time of night because they’ll be falling asleep.
“We’re lucky because we’ve got a coach booked so we’ll be there and back in a day but it’s still going to be a late overnighter. And in fact now it might even put our coach fee up because it’s going into two days.”