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 Tottenham player ratings: Mesut Ozil? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain? Nacer Chadli? Who was the star man at the Emirates?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: 'Come home' banner flown over Real Madrid match
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 3 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month