By Walter Broeckx
When looking at the way Arsenal filled up Wembley for a very big part I really couldn’t understand the decision from the FA to only give some 25.000 ticket to Arsenal. I don’t know how many tickets will be given to Hull but I can imagine that this will be the same number.
This is a bit amazing as I noticed on TV that in the Hull end just as in the Wigan end they couldn’t sell their seats because of a lack of supporters taking the trouble to travel to Wembley. Hell, I took the trouble to travel all the way from Belgium to see my beloved Arsenal play in Wembley.
The stadium a week ago was very much an Arsenal stadium. We outnumbered the Wigan supporters. And I know a lot of people who were very disappointed that they couldn’t get a ticket for this match. Arsenal supporters of course. I can imagine that for the Cup final there would be even more that wanted to be there. I am one of them.
But after having sold ¾ of the stadium tickets in the semi final we now only get 25.000 or around ¼ of the stadium. Arsenal has expressed their disappointment on this very low allocation. In fact almost half of the stadium will be filled with people not directly linked with one of both clubs.
It is as if the clubs that play in the final don’t matter for the FA. Maybe this is the case when I think of it. Maybe they don’t care about Arsenal or Hull. Maybe they would have preferred other teams to be in this final?
The chance for me getting a ticket for the semi final was as good as impossible. So the chance for me to get a ticket for the final are as good as me winning the Euro Millions next Friday. But to show what it means to supporters from our supporters club we are already planning to come to London and look at the match in a Gooner pub just to be near to Arsenal. Or as near as can be.
Arsenal has announced that they will try to open up the Emirates and show the match on the big TV screens. But only the lower tear will be opened and that will be another 24.000 supporters who get a chance to see the game together. So we have another option. But we are waiting for more news from Arsenal to see what we will do.
But this is how far supporters want to go to see their team play in a final. And a lot of those would be willing to pay a lot of money to be able to be in Wembley in person. But alas the FA has decided that the supporters of the clubs involved are not that important.
I can imagine all kinds of reasons will be given for why they other tickets will not be sold directly at supporters of the clubs who play there. But to be honest, I don’t really care. I care about Arsenal and about the fact that at least in a cup final the supporters of both teams get the chance to see their team. I also do wonder how many of those non-supporters who get the chance to buy a ticket will then sell it on to supporters of one of the clubs. And thus the chance of supporters sitting next to supporters of the other club will be a real possibility.
I know that there is a big responsibility with each individual for not doing it but I can imagine some doing it nevertheless. Imagine crowd troubles coming from this?
The FA could make sure it wouldn’t happen and give the FA cup final to whom it belongs: the fans who play the final.
So unless the FA thinks I am volunteer enough for doing my referee reviews all these years on a voluntary basic and they would put me on the list of special guests rewarded for their years of work in football, I will not be attending in Wembley. And I somehow doubt that the FA will like me for my voluntary work. Or the PL and the PGMOL. If I am on any list in this country it will be a black list from those organisations I can imagine.
But if all goes well I will be in London. Together with supporters from the Benelux supporters club. We want to make it all the way to London. Just to be able to be there when we can celebrate together with the others in London if we win the final. Be it in the pub or in the Emirates is something that we will see in the next days or weeks.
I know that some Arsenal supporter look down on us Gooners from other countries. And certainly the moaning types who even use it as an argument and one that gives them more right to declare themselves a better supporter than others from outside England. Well here is the reality. We even want to pay to come to London without any chance of getting in the stadium. We just want to be able to celebrate it as if we were from London ourselves.
In time of joy it is good to be able to share it with others. Celebrating it on your own is not as nice as being able to sing and dance with other Gooners. And even if the unspeakable should happen, sharing your misery usually makes it lighter.
But if all goes well I will be in London on cup final day. Not at Wembley unless someone gives me his ticket. But I will be there in London, complete with my scarf (rest assured I will not forget it this time) and all that goes with it.
But I still can’t get it why the FA only gives 25.000 seats to a team that could fill the whole Wembley by itself. It is part of the tradition that this happens, but why? What have they been smoking over there?