FA Cup: Roberto Martinez defends Wigan's failure to sell allocation of Wembley tickets

Latics take on Millwall for place in final

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has defended the club's failure to sell their entire allocation for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

The Latics have sold around 22,000 tickets for the Wembley meeting with Millwall, prompting the FA to make the spare 10,000 available to "neutral" supporters.

Yet rather than the sarcastic jibes that have been aimed towards the Premier League outfit, Martinez prefers to focus on the incredible strides made since the club were in the bottom tier of English football following his arrival as a player in 1995.

"It's not about the numbers," he said. "The numbers need to have a meaning.

"Back in 1995, when I arrived at the football club, we had gates of 2000 people.

"Now we are in the best league in the world, and we are in the semi-final of the best cup competition - for us to take whatever figure it is represents an incredible percentage of the town.

"It's an incredible turnaround of the fans we had 15 years ago, so for us it is a success."

Wigan are privately delighted with the sale, acknowledging that some supporters have opted not to buy tickets in the hope their team will reach next month's final, whilst others have been put off by a lack of trains back north on Saturday evening.

Even the figure sold compares favourably with the numbers Super League giants Wigan Warriors could expect to sell for a Challenge Cup final.

"I know from the outside they will compare numbers, but we don't really care about that," said Martinez.

"What's important is that every year we increase our fanbase and we increase the feeling of being attached to our football club.

"Going to Wembley with very passionate fans that care for the football club is part of their lives."

Martinez confirmed that he had a clean bill of health for the game, with only long-term casualties Ben Watson, Albert Crusat and Ivan Ramis unavailable.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test