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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London