As we all now know we have drawn Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi Final. So good, so far. A trip to Wembley and all that. Even though most, if not all, fans do not agree that semi-finals should be played at Wembley. In fact, there are some that argue that Wembley is not even the best venue for the Final. Anyone else lucky enough to have gone to the Finals in Cardiff? Yes, they were great weren’t they. A great venue in a great city. Would the fans ever have any say in where future finals should be played? No of course not, don’t be daft. Anyone who thinks the FA and other football authorities care about the fans in any shape or form are being very naive. Very naive indeed. Case in point, this year’s semi final being played at Wembley. This doesn’t make sense. Not at all. And why is that?
This Doesn’t Make Sense
Very briefly, the game is to be played on 16th April at 3:30pm, at Wembley. In case you didn’t know, 16th April is a Bank Holiday weekend. A time when traditionally our roads are very busy anyway. So, with that in mind, many fans may decide to go to the game by train instead of by road. A good idea all things told. But wait, there is no train service on that day to enable the fans from either Liverpool or Manchester to travel by train.
No big surprise then that fans of both clubs have suggested that it might be a good idea to move the game to a more suitable, logical venue. Old Trafford for instance. A more than suitable venue with a capacity in the region of 75,000. Not only that, it’s in the North-West. No need for trains and no need to clog up the M6. Surely the FA will, for once, consider the fans and listen to the fans and do something sensible and something to benefit the fans?
Not a chance. Absolutely not a cat in hell’s chance. If there was any suggestion that any fans out there ever thought the FA were remotely interested in their welfare, their finances and would ever consider doing something that the fans would prefer, then the refusal to move from Wembley surely put an end to such thoughts.
Why Not Change The Venue?
The obvious and only reason of course is money. Fans from all over the country are the ones to suffer for the spend, then overspend on the Wembley rebuild. There’s already a divide in the country regarding following the fortunes of the national team. All international games involving England played in this country are all held at Wembley. In the days of the Wembley rebuild and England, or should I say En-ger-land, had to play in various parts of the country there was a greater national following.
Fans in the Midlands and the North felt more involved. And as a result more fired up and supportive. Much of that new found support disappeared as soon as Wembley reopened when En-ger-land again became to many fans from outside the capital, just another London based team. And that perception will remain. Do the FA care? Care about ensuring England enjoy the fervent support of the whole nation? No, of course not. Getting fans onboard from all over the country doesn’t get the money tills chiming as loudly as they are at the home of the London based national team.
Is It Time The Fans Made A Stand?
The immobility of the national team has created a big divide amongst supporters when it comes to the national team. So, in maybe a smaller way, the FA could have tried to build some bridges with fans of Northern clubs by agreeing to the sensible decision to play the Liverpool v Man City game elsewhere. But nope, monetary greed dictates.
In a very small way, the FA have offered some paltry suggestion of recompense. They’ve offered to lay on 100 coaches for each club. But there again, they’ve made even that decision solely about money. But what about road congestion? As there are no trains, the extra volume on the roads, and in particular the M6, may well be horrendous. What if there are hold ups on the M6? The FA won’t care. If there is any hint of fans not making the kick-off time if their coaches are stuck in traffic, will the FA delay the kick off? Not a chance. They would already have had the fans money, so forget the fans. They don’t matter any more.
Taking all this into account, do the fans of both clubs now have a great chance of making a really important, significant stand and make their voices heard and their message across? More precisely, should the fans of both clubs consider boycotting the game? As we know, the only thing that matters to the FA is money. What better way to make your voices heard than to make the protest all about money.
Should Fans Consider Boycotting The Game?
Who knows, maybe fan groups like the Spirit of Shankly are already on the case. It may not be seen as a big surprise if this was the case. And who could blame them. If both sets of fans were to boycott the game then, at the very least, you would expect that the FA would sit up and listen. If fans don’t make a stand now under these circumstances, then it’s fair to say that the FA will never listen to the fans. Not under any circumstances. So, let’s see how this one unfolds.
Playing this semi-final at Wembley is bonkers and without a doubt, this doesn’t make sense. But, fans being fans will probably no doubt dance to the authorities tune. And the authorities know this. That is why fans of all clubs need to make a stand at some point. Far better to do it in regard to one of the showpiece games of the season. Will the fans rebel? Watch this space.
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