The FA plan to leave the Wigan and Manchester City supporters stranded in London after scheduling the kick off for the FA Cup Final to start at 17:15
A few weeks ago, I took my 12-year old son to watch his favorite rock band The Script, and he was mind numbingly bored as we stood from 19:00 until 21:00 waiting patiently for his heroes to come onto the stage. Then with several songs of the set still to be played we followed hundreds of other fans, out of the doors, to catch the last train home.
“I didn’t get to hear my favorite song Dad.”
Neither did hundreds of others who had paid an obscene amount of money to watch three quarters of a gig.
It seems the money men don’t care when it comes to the people who are actually paying the wages of the organizers and the entertainers, and it’s not just rock concerts that are at fault. For the second consecutive year, the Football Association (FA) has decided to hold the kick-off for the oldest and most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world at 17:15. By succumbing to the monoliths of the TV world, this now means that the fans of both Wigan Athletic and Manchester City will not be able to catch a train back home to the North West. An oversight you may think? Not exactly, after thousands of Liverpool fans were left stranded in London after the FA Cup Final of 2012.
But all is not lost according to the FA. Fans of both Lancashire clubs can always catch the bus home, and who do you think is in partnership with the National Express bus company, yes you’ve guessed it, the FA.
“National Express are the official coach partner of Wembley Stadium and their service was well received by fan at last seasons FA Cup Final,” a spokesman for the FA told The Times.
Try telling that to the Liverpool fans.
The FA have defended their decision to show the final at 17:15 by saying it suits the wider television audience. But the heritage of the FA Cup is seared into the soul of every UK-based fan. Football fans have woken up and sat glued to the television screen from 11:00 till 15:00 for generations, so why suddenly is there a need to wait a further two and a quarter hours for kick off? This is nothing to do with the fan of football and everything to do with the color green.
With the replays now scrapped, extra time and penalties could mean that fans are not leaving the stadium until after 21:00. With ticket prices so expensive and travel costs going through the roof, the last thing the working class man needs is the cost of an overnight stay in the most expensive part of the UK.
“I didn’t get to see the final goal Dad.”
Neither did thousands of others who had paid an obscene amount of money to watch three quarters of a match.