Every year there seems to be some complaint levelled at the FA for the way they treat the fans. Whether it’s scheduling games at a time that makes it impossible for the supporters to get home using public transport, not giving fans enough tickets or charging supporters too much, they always manage to get something wrong.
United and Everton fans were frustrated to learn a few weeks ago that we wouldn’t be able to get back from London following the FA Cup semi-final on the train. The FA had been told about the scheduled maintaince work by Network Rail, yet still chose to put the game on 5.15pm to cater for people watching the game on television, and boosting their advertising revenue. Had the game been played earlier in the day, fans would have been able to get to and from London on the train.
In the end, United paid for our fans to travel down by coach, which left Old Trafford at 10am and didn’t return until, at the earliest, after midnight. Some people didn’t get back to Old Trafford until 2am.
United have put on free coaches again for the final, but lots more fans have been left empty-handed this time around, when applying for their ticket for the final. Despite willing to pay the FA prices of £45, £65, £85 or £115 for a ticket, lots of supporters have missed out.
United have 55,000 season ticket holders yet have been given an allocation of 28,000 by the FA. Crystal Palace have been given the same allocation, despite having just over 18,000 season ticket holders and a total capacity of around 27,000 at Selhurst Park.
There seems something incredibly unfair about Palace being given more tickets for a final than they have fans in their stadium each week, particularly when they are playing against a team that has double the allocation as paying season ticket holders.
Still, Wembley is supposed to be a neutral venue, so you can understand the thinking behind offering both sets of fans the same allocation.
What makes it more difficult to stomach though is the fact neutrals will receive 34,000.
When applying for tickets, we were told that people who had bought 10/10 cup game tickets this season would be first in the ballot, then 9/10, then 8/10 and so on. Supporters have learnt today that even those with 10/10 cup tickets have missed out on a brief for the final.
What sort of way is this to treat fans?