Ian Herbert: FA Cup final fans left stranded as FA is not for turning

Match is scheduled to kick-off at 5.15pm

For those who live a distance from London, it has been a day to hear comments breath-taking in their mindlessness and wonder: 'Did someone really say that.' Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor and Thatcher biographer began it all with his observation on BBC national radio that those areas of the country which are anti-Maggie “tend to be the parts that have become relatively less important.” Did he really say that?

The Football Association was right up there alongside Moore tonight in its press statement quashing the protestations of fans of Manchester City and Wigan Athletic - whose sides are meeting each other at the Etihad Stadium this evening - about the 5.15pm FA Cup Final kick off which means the game will finish too late for any of them to catch a train home on the evening of May 1. “In terms of transportation, a small percentage of Cup Final fans use the method of train travel,” were the words of the FA statement, with a link to a page of its own website which simply repeated the same statement. Did they really say that?

The FA has been extremely aware of those areas of the football realm where it needs to engender better understanding with supporters. It has taken time, for example, to explain the disciplinary system to those writers whose job it is to explain it to reader and who have been able to point out how idiotic those who abuse the FA for not issuing retrospective red cards actually are. It is a self-conscious organisation in many ways; acutely aware of getting the big decisions right.

But what an incredible lack of intelligence it displayed last night by telling City and Wigan fans that “5.15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar” and - here comes the really significant bit - that “this time was agreed with major stakeholders and broadcasters.” (Translation: the TV money talks.) There are, the FA helpfully added, “additional coach services which National Express are running, including directly from Wembley Stadium” the FA continued. National Express being an FA sponsor. Did they really say that?

If the “stakeholders and broadcasters” really are so important to the FA - and the governing body was keen to promote viewing figure for the final with some bombast tonight - then it is time for the governing body to cough up the money to subsidise a late train service up the West Coast main line, on the evening of May 11. And if they're so keen to promote their coach sponsor, how about persuading them to cough up for free National Express coach travel up the M6 to Wigan and Manchester. Good PR all around and a solution which would actually help the paying supporters who have made the effort to get to Wembley. The ones who, once upon a time, used to be the lifeblood of football.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore