Wigan fans will suffer at 'late' FA Cup final warns Roberto Martinez

The Latics face Manchester City at Wembley next month

Roberto Martinez, the Wigan Athletic manager, has expressed his bewilderment at the Football Association's decision to move the kick-off time of an FA Cup final featuring two clubs from Greater Manchester to 5.15pm.

The last train back to Wigan on a Saturday leaves at 8.30pm, some 75 minutes after the final whistle, assuming there is no extra time. The journey from Wembley Park underground station to Euston will eat up 33 of those minutes. Those travelling to Manchester Piccadilly have until 9pm to make the last train. Having taken Wigan to their first FA Cup final, Martinez smiled that he was prepared to kick off against Manchester City at "eight o'clock at night".

Nevertheless, Wigan faced a similar kick-off time for the semi-final against Millwall and were criticised for failing to sell their full allocation of tickets. The attendance of 62,335 was more than 20,000 below Wembley's capacity.

"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."

However, for the foreseeable future 5.15pm will be the kick-off time for the English game's greatest showpiece. The FA argues that broadcasters prefer it and that last year's final attracted a bigger TV audience than the European Cup final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

Its analysis suggests that only three per cent of those who go to Wembley do so by train. Wigan will have the option, which they did not take up for the semi-final, of chartering trains. The overwhelming majority travel to the national stadium by car or coach.

Martinez may have been exaggerating when he said that the fixture with City was more important than the one on 11 May. Nevertheless, in the fight against relegation, Sunderland's revival under Paolo Di Canio and Aston Villa's achievement in matching Wigan's tally of 10 points from their last five games meant an uneasy weekend for Martinez.

In the dressing room after the semi-final, he said Wigan's British players were "part of a dream, floating in the air". The foreign contingent were much more sanguine, perhaps realising how much the club still has to do.

Their manager conceded that even winning the FA Cup would be an empty triumph were it combined with missing out on the Premier League's record TV deal next season. "Staying in the league would allow the next 10 years of the club to be very stable," Martinez said. "It would allow the club behind the scenes to go to a different level.

"The only remaining clubs involved in two competitions are Manchester City, Chelsea and Wigan Athletic. We have never had that before and it requires a strong mentality to cope with it."

Kick-off 7.45pm

Odds Manchester City 1-4 Draw 11-2 Wigan 14-1

Referee A Taylor (Greater Manchester)

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week