Friday, June 9, 2023

FA Cup semi-final madness

Graham Fisher in Editorial, FA Cup 30 Mar 2011


Do the semi-finals really have to be played here?

The English FA are not renowned for making spectacularly good decisions that show a great deal of commonsense, so I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised by the ‘chaos’ they are creating on the weekend of 16th and 17th April.


If any other body had made the decisions they have made about that weekend I would say it beggars belief. For the English FA it is par for the course.

Since 2008 the FA Cup semi-finals have been played at Wembley. I don’t think I know anyone who outside the FA who thinks that is a good idea. Not only do fans from all over the country have to travel to London, the chance for people in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, etc, to see such a big game is taken away, and the magic of the final is diminished as the clubs have already had a day at Wembley.


This year things will be no different, but all four competing teams are from the North West of the country and will have to travel to Wembley in the South East. The travel chaos, the expenditure for the clubs and more importantly their fans, together with the potential for trouble, make this a ludicrous situation.

On Saturday 16th April, Manchester United play Manchester City. That would be bad enough, but there is more. On the same day that Bolton face Stoke, Sunday 17th, kicking off at the same time, just a few miles down the road, Arsenal take on Liverpool in the Premier League. Where will the Liverpool team and fans be travelling from? Yes, you’ve guessed it, the North West.


That is ridiculous I hear you say. But there is more. On that same day, the London marathon takes place. One of the biggest events in the city of the whole year, with large areas of the city closed down.

Quite why the FA Cup semi-finals can’t be played in Liverpool or Birmingham, or anywhere in the North of the country is very hard to understand.


Yesterday, Sir Alex Ferguson spoke out about the ludicrous situation.

“It’s going to be absolute chaos, but there’s nothing that can be done about it. Think of the amount of people driving down. You’ve got Villa Park and Anfield on your doorstep. There will be 60,000 people coming down from Manchester. Think about how much petrol is used for that. Stoke fans, Bolton fans, City fans, United fans, and on the same weekend Liverpool fans are travelling down. And you’ve also got people coming down to see the London Marathon. I don’t think the cost of people travelling down to Wembley is considered.”


Meanwhile, an FA spokesperson was oblivious to the obvious and told the BBC,

“We look forward to welcoming the four teams to Wembley next month, where 180,000 fans will enjoy a fantastic football spectacle in the two games.”

He forgot to mention the needlessly long round trip, sitting in traffic jams for hours on end and the fortune they will have to spend.

It is madness.


Graham Fisher



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12 years ago

I have NEVER, thats NEVER spoken to any football fan who thinks travelling to Wembley for a semi-final is a good idea. Here’s the common sense draw Man Utd v Man City at Anfield (30 miles away) on Saturday at 15.00, Bolton v Stoke (maximum 45 miles away) at Old Trafford at 15.00 on Sunday. But please please don’t anyone for one minute think the FA care about supporters! Whats on their minds? Their own Hospitality and ££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££!!!!!!

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