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)

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn