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The sale of tickets for the Cup semi-final always brings tales of anguish but they are there is you want

by Tony Attwood

The story at first was that Arsenal season ticket holders were in revolt and were not buying tickets for the FA Cup semi-final this Sunday.   But as per 2014 and 2015, the tickets were sold fast enough, once the sale was opened up to those holding season tickets without any away credits.  Eventually silver and red members were able to purchase the small number remaining: a pattern that replicates the last two semi-final appearances.

And then, with the Arsenal bashing done, slowly an alternative story arose, for just as the media had been busy suggesting Arsenal fans were in absolute revolt against the club and would not be going to Wembley, so it appeared that (according to the Mail and the Sun at least) “Manchester City are struggling to sell their allocation for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.”

Obviously the reason couldn’t be the fans unhappiness with the management at City because City have the best manager in the world (and I know that because the media has been telling me that for years).  So a new reason had to be found as to why Arsenal would sell out very quickly, while the great and glorious club supported by 10% of the world’s gas reserves couldn’t get rid of all 33,000 tickets for the fixture in the capital.

“Sportsmail understands between 1,500 and 2,000 tickets in the City section remain unsold,” is how the paper put it, although that implies that “sportsmail” is an intellectual organism, and I am not sure that is the case.

Their explanation this time around (having ditched the notion that Arsenal supporters won’t go in protest against the continuation of the Wenger regime) is that “Supporters of the Etihad Stadium club have hit out at the decision to schedule the clash between City and the Gunners on Sunday, rather than the Saturday slot allocated for the other semi-final between London pair Chelsea and Tottenham.”

Certainly we all know about scheduling issues.  Putting Arsenal’s trip to Middlesbrough on a Monday night with the match finishing after the last train had left was an act of either sheer insanity or of a sports TV channel that doesn’t care a toss about supporters, or a deliberate act against Arsenal supporters.  One of the three – you can take your choice.

The newspapers have all also told us that FA Cup semi-final, “clashes” with the London Marathon, but I am not at all sure what the implication of that little gem is.   Does it mean that the underground trains will be full of runners?  Maybe I ought to leave a little earlier than I planned in that case.

So why don’t Man City fans want to come to the FA Cup semi-final?  They are above us in the league, and have the best manager in the world, and can keep on going out and buying every player they want paying any wages they want.

There was one rather interesting story in the Mail however, and this from Man City fan Andrew Heald, aged (we are helpfully told), 54, although why the age is important I don’t know.

‘This is not City’s doing,’ he said. ‘It’s down to those who schedule the fixtures. I am a season card holder and was going to go down with a big group but we have decided against it. I’d booked a hotel for the Saturday night because I presumed, given City are the only team having to travel from the north, that we would be playing on the Saturday.’

So Mr Heald, who I sure is a decent bloke, actually booked a hotel room on the assumption that the FA and the broadcasters would break the habit of  the last few years and do the logical decent thing?   That is bizarre.

We are not told whether he went to Wembley for the Capital One Cup final in February last season when Manchester City beat Liverpool on penalties.  That was on a Sunday.  Wasn’t that a warning?

In fact the FA came clean recently in the form of Andy Ambler, who did confess that “while transport and travel for fans are considered, the final decision lies with the broadcasters.”  In short, the fans are not considered at all.  The BBC had first pick and opted to choose the Chelsea v Tottenham match and a 5pm Saturday kick-off time.

A BBC spokesperson however was having none of that and said, ‘All kick off times are agreed in partnership with the FA. The police and the four clubs involved in this weekend’s ties also confirmed they are happy with the times.’

Of course tickets are always available from Football TicketPad both at Wembley and elsewhere.  Although getting oneself into the wrong part of a ground isn’t particularly recommended from a safety (not to mention survival) point of view, as I have learned to my cost in my younger days.

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21 comments to The sale of tickets for the Cup semi-final always brings tales of anguish but they are there is you want

  • ClockEndRider

    Given the massive policing headache that is the marathon especially in the light of recent events, frankly it makes perfect sense not to compound police manpower issues by adding in two sets of known trouble seeking fans meeting up all over the place.
    Man City can’t even fill their free stadium for premier league games so I can’t see why anyone would be surprised that they haven’t sold out for this game.

  • Gethin

    Interesting article but I do think you have a touch of the rose tinted spectacles – In my living memory there has never been a previous occasion when Arsenal haven’t held a ballot to decide who will receive tickets from the second tranche of their allocation for a major cup tie (i.e. the tickets reserved for season ticket holders who don’t have away credits). This time round the club didn’t carry out a ballot because they were able to meet demand from the number of tickets they have reserved for that tranche – there is only one explanation, less season ticket holders were, at least initially, bothered about going to Wembley to see us play in the semi final of the marquee domestic competition. I can confirm that I, and the people I sit with, were some of those people who didn’t bother applying for the ballot. We subsequently bought tickets when they went on general sale, with ease and at one of the lower prices (£40), that in itself tells a tale.

  • Leon

    If it’s true that City don’t fill The Etihad, then it comes as no real surprise that they can’t muster 33000 travelling fans, whereas Arsenal on the other hand have a relatively very short journey to & from Wembley.
    Perhaps that personable City fan will come on here & explain the situation.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If by Saturday noon Man City are still left with some of their allotted tickets unsold to their fans, they should offer them to the Gooners who are out there wanting to go to Wembley to watch the Gunners beat the Citizen but can’t get tickets. I believe the Gooners will be delighted to buy up those tickets from Man City should they decide to put them on sales to other football fans.

    I think Arsenal FC has fans that tenruple both locally and internationally the fans Man City FC has. And that must has accounted for the shortfall in attendaces at the Etihah and in this Wembley FA Cup semifinal tickets allocation purchase by their somehow fewer than Arsenal fans.

    Of a serious interest to me is Le Prof’s Gunners update today which ruled out Mustafi (tigh) who I’ve started in my Sunday FA Cup starting 3 back line. Nevertheless, it’s Koscielny’s cup of tea to start in that 3 back line formation. But he mustn’t give away any goal or play lead given it away to the opposition. With this latest update of the Gunners which ruled out Ospina as well who I thought Le Prof will start on Sunday and Welbeck is ruled a doubt though I didn’t have him in my starting lineup plans, I am reshuffling my starting XI against Man City on Sunday.

    My 3-5-2 starting XI:
    Cech
    Paulista Koscielny Holding
    Walcott Ramsey Le Coq Xhaka Oxcambo
    Sanchez Ozil.
    Just look at my pacey width mid 5, they’ll murder Man City. However, Walcott who I’ve started because he’s a scorer MUST track back to help Paulista against the surging pace of Leroy Sane. And Oxchambo MUST do same to help out the young Holding in his defensive duty by providing him with adequate defensive cover. I believe Coquelin and Xhaka will protect Koscielny with defensive protection and not leave him expose to the barrage of Man City assaults on the ground and aerially.

    I believe Ramsey will be bombing forward in addition to his addional deep lying duty to offer attacking prowess in addition to those on offer by Sanchez and Ozil who will play in front drifting to the left side while Sanchez plays centrally.

    My bench:
    Macey
    Bellerin Monreal Gibbs Elneny Iwobi Giroud.

    Good luck to Arsenal.

  • Hunter13

    mmmm 352 my favourite

    ustari
    fazio gallas dhiakate
    ansaldi fabregas veloso gibbs
    arshavin
    suarez mylefski

    champions

  • In short it was the same as 2 and 3 years ago.

  • ob1977

    So season ticket holders don’t want the tickets and other fans can go, oh the travesty… not aimed at you Tony…

  • Menace

    When tickets were available to Gold members without away credits, it was impossible to get the booking office on the phone or online. How it worked out in the end I do not know but I don’t think spending hours of my ‘retired’ time for a ticket is worth it. I can watch it on the box. I will try for Final tickets with a bit more effort but do not have high hopes if a ballot is not organised. Registration & allocation seems a bit more acceptable than the free for all.

  • Goonereris

    “Putting Arsenal’s trip to Middlesbrough on a Monday night with the match finishing after the last train had left was an act of either sheer insanity or of a sports TV channel that doesn’t care a toss about supporters, or a deliberate act against Arsenal supporters. One of the three – you can take your choice.”

    I will choose the last possibility stated. What better way to further worsen the already frosty relationship between the fans and the club (dividing the fan base further)than to schedule us for Away Monday fixtures, back to back? It’s so insensitive of the FA and broadcast right owners/TV to not take the safety and convenience of the suffering fans into consideration when making changes to scheduled games.

    Like I surmised, it is deliberate! There, I said.

  • Menace

    Watching the Man U game & saw an advert for the European Youth cup & both Spanish Child Traffickers were represented. This shows that trafficking pays or should that be is rewarded via the back door.

  • Jammy J

    Watching United, a team that has spent an absolutely obscene amount of money of its squad, repeatedly hoofing the ball up the pitch – like a conference side – is such a wonderful attestment to the English game.

  • Menace

    What a substitution Bogbrush on for Loogard at the Old Toilet.

  • Menace

    United score but Anderlect need a goal to qualify.

  • Menace

    The ref seems to allow United to foul without cards….. same old same old

  • Rich

    Menace

    I thought the ref showed up pgmol magnificently myself.

    Disallowed an offside goal, disallowed another goal for one of Fellaini’s trademark back-post defender batterings, and ignored a penalty appeal from Ibra which many a prem ref would give.

    Also gave a lot of free kicks Riley and co would almost certainly not give. I only watched from minute 60, but thought it really showed up our referees of the pgmol era for the swines they are.

    Last 20 years here would have been very different with that standard of reffing

  • Menace

    Rich I agree, but the Fellaini climb was a card as were several pull backs on players with the ball. He booked an Anderlect player in the first half & then allowed MU the freedom of the park.

  • para

    Honestly, the game on Sunday does not even begin to interest me like before.

    No pulses of excitement running through my system, no little smiles at some comment made, no biting someone’s head off for saying the wrong thing, just a peaceful calm has taken control of I.

    Of course i will still watch, but it is now with some detachment and pretty emotionless like a bystander in a hurry who just happens to pass by and see the stadium door open and wanders in.

  • Gord

    I have stopped watching games on TV. I never have trusted flash, so most video I won’t view. I seldom go looking for Arsenal news at Google, as it is almost always crap. If I do see a headline with a snippet about Arsenal at Google News, I will seldom click on the article to read it as it is usually crap. Is this what the medja want? Is this why they paid 5 billion for rights?

    I do visit Arsenal.com. And I come here.

  • Menace

    Gord, I admire your resolute attitude. I cannot be bothered avoiding or evading fakers. I read whenever it comes in my view. I do not go looking for the rubbish reporters. I still enjoy watching football – that means any team that plays a half decent game. I watched the EUFA Youth game Barca v Saltzburg earlier today, & the hills were alive with a 1 – 2 result. Good players but I think the Arsenal kids play better football.

  • COYG

    To be fair to City, Wembley is a long way from Manchester, a very expensive day out, and I dont think they’ve reached the glory hunter status of man u or Liverpool… yet! Admittedly I might be being unduly sympathetic as my loathing of man u has diluted my potential loathing of city a bit, despite what a disgusting institution it has become! Hopefully we’ll thrash them on Sunday though!

  • Gord

    Being a long way away, is in part all in your head.

    There are people who live in my area (Dawson Creek, BC, Canada) who will drive to Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) for Edmonton Oiler ice hockey games (610km). I once drove from Edmonton to Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA), about 1200km, to watch a UMinnesota Gophers ice hockey game. I had at least 4 hours of driving on glare ice on the Interstate and probably 3 hours of driving in a blizzard before that.