Virgin Trains statement delivers final insult to FA Cup final fans

Late kick-off for Wembley showpiece between Wigan and Manchester City has been criticised

For fans of Manchester City and Wigan already smarting over the FA's decision to set a late kick-off time for the FA Cup final, today's statement from Virgin Trains will have felt like the final insult.

With the majority of supporters of both clubs travelling to the capital from the Greater Manchester area, those who travel by train face a potential nightmare trying to make their way home from the 5.15pm kick-off match.

The last train from London Euston to Wigan North Western leaves at 8.31pm, while the last departure to Manchester Piccadilly is at 9pm. Today, Virgin spelt out what that means for supporters.

"The cup presentation ceremony and celebrations, together with the possibility of extra time and a penalty shoot out, all mean that by the time supporters reach London Euston following a journey from Wembley last trains will have departed," read a statement on Virgin's website.

Under the text "We love keeping everyone informed at all times", Virgin confirm that "there are no suitable services returning to the North West that take into account the uncertainty of when the match will actually end."

There had been some hope that extra services would be scheduled, however Virgin explain: "The unpredictability of exactly when the match will end coupled with the earlier close down on Saturdays of the West Coast Main Line for essential maintenance and inspection mean that the planning of any additional services to the North West is extremely difficult given the high numbers of supporters that would attempt to travel that evening. Virgin Trains would much rather everyone understands the position well in advance so that they can make their plans accordingly."

Virgin have announced that an additional train on the morning of next month's final will run from Wigan North Western to London Euston.

Virgin conclude their statement by making fans aware that "The Football Association, with whom there has been a regular dialogue, fully understands the position of the train operators while they in turn acknowledge the commercial and footballing considerations of the FA."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has attacked the late kick-off.

"When the FA makes a decision of that magnitude, there must be a reason behind it and I would like to know what that is," said Martinez. "It cannot be a decision they would take lightly because the lack of trains from London was a problem for the semi-final.

"I hope they would look at it in a different way considering we have two clubs from Greater Manchester playing in the final. I am sure the FA are well aware of the importance of getting the fans down and then back up."

The FA have defended their choice of kick-off time, claiming: “In terms of transportation, a small percentage of Cup Final fans use the method of train travel,” as well as informing disgruntled supporters that “5.15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar” and that “this time was agreed with major stakeholders and broadcasters.” A late kick-off is better for TV audiences.

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
Ministry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
people
Life and Style
L’Auberge du pont de Collonges (AFP)
food + drinkFury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Arts and Entertainment
Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
theatreStar choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links