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
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat