FA Cup: Roberto Martinez defends Wigan's failure to sell allocation of Wembley tickets
Latics take on Millwall for place in final
Thursday 11 April 2013
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.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election