Northerners will head down south for the FA Cup final - but we're not fans of the transport network

The options available are inflexible, expensive and time-consuming

Share
Related Topics

Like a flock of migrating birds, the best part of 50,000 Northerners will don their flat caps and venture south tomorrow in search of the mythical Twin Towers. The fact that said towers have now been replaced by a steel arch matters not as this is a migratory pattern that is so instinctive we behave much like proverbial pigeons (of which we own many, of course).

This will be the eleventh ‘all Northern’ final in the past 40 years and – if you include Manchester United (many a Northerner wouldn’t) – 32 out of the last 40 Cup Finals have involved a Northern club. No rebalancing needed here!

You can see where this is heading: Northern thinktank calls for national football stadium to be relocated in the North. Wrong. That opportunity was missed 15 years ago so there’s no point crying over spilt milk on that one, short-sighted as it was. So is it the 5.15pm kick-off I’m going to rant about? No. Daniel Taylor has already waxed eloquently on that subject and his argument receives my full support. Every football fan loves a day out at Wembley, whatever time of the day, the issue is how to get down there from up here.

The closest we can get to our feathered friends is to head to the airport. But by the time you’ve fiddled around checking-in and out, completed the best part of 10k on travelators, negotiated Tube lines in and out of the city (and parted with just north of £150), you might just as well have walked. The prospect of negotiating the megalopolis that is Heathrow on Cup Final day – indeed on any day – doesn’t bear thinking about.

So how about by train? Online booking throws up more ticketing options than Man City have had managers and sure enough there are still 30 quid tickets available to get down. But with the uncertainty of extra time and penalties you daren’t book a fixed train, so coming back it’s the standard fare of £154. And the last train to leave Euston is 9pm: touch and go given the 5pm kick off. Roll-on HS2 which might at least bring down fares on other modes - but with the Bill only just introduced in the Queen’s Speech this week and the Northern branches not scheduled to open until 2035, there’s more chance we’ll be teleporting ourselves to Wembley by then.

Road options include coach or car. The former is ruled out by the prospect of explaining adult language and behaviour during two five-hour drinking sessions to my wide-eyed son and not an environment I would particularly relish myself. So we’re left with the car – much the cheapest option, vindicating the IPPR’s assertion that the war on motorists is a myth – and the rather useful parkatmyhouse app which allows us to use a Hillingdon driveway for £4 rather than a Wembley Car Park for almost ten times as much.

IPPR North has often argued that we live in a nation obsessed by its capital city. In transport terms, there is a very real sense that all paths lead to London – heightened by the recent focus on HS2 – whilst we neglect those vital connections between cities and towns in the North and the Midlands. But even with this being the case, transport ‘markets’ to and from London appear narrow and restrictive and anything but integrated or strategic. With HS2 now very much in the pipeline, it’s surely time we think harder about how we’re planning the nation and its transportation to make the path(s) to Wembley more reasonable and – much more importantly – that Northern success extends beyond the football field.

Ed Cox is Director of IPPR North & will be supporting Manchester City in tomorrow’s FA Cup final.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

Maths Teacher (Swindon and Wiltshire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for short-term cover, l...

Science Teacher 0.4

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Science Teacher 0.4 - Immediat...

Maths Teacher (Bath and North East Somerset)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Maths teachers for day to day cover, l...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Two lads partaking in boozy banter  

We should be blaming lad culture for sexual harassment on campuses, not universities

Elliot Davies
Iraqi volunteer fighters celebrate the breaking of the jihadist siege on the Shiite town of Amerli on September 1, 2014  

Bombs can't defeat Isis, but Iraq's Sunnis can

Ranj Alaaldin
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