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June 2021

What are they smoking at FA headquarters?

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.

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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?

17 comments to What are they smoking at FA headquarters?

  • Polskibear

    I am still hopeful there will be an increase of around 5000-10,000 or so tickets for Arsenal supporters once the FA realise Hull are not able to sell their own allocation due to Hull KR taking on Hull FC on the same day at the same time.

  • tezzer

    This happens every year I remember the same problems back in 78,79,80 and each other year we got there. The F.A. will tell you they are rewarding there loyal workers, and staff or what ever they like to call them ,but in reality what it is, is a bonus for them in the form of however much they can sell those tickets for. Every cup final I’ve been to has been mainly filled with the supporters of each team even though on paper only half the ground should have loyal supporters in. The real fans pay through the nose with hard earned cash for tickets at a vastly inflated price to get there. And you can be sure they will get there so the crap the F.A. come out with is exactly that. Don’t worry the ground will be full of supports of both teams but most having brought there tickets through these loyal F.A servants who the F.A. think would want to go and support one of two teams they have nothing to do with. Its a big pay day for any one connected with the F.A. who doesn’t support either of the teams involved. Ask the F.A. how comes on cup final day there are so many supporters of the two teams in the ground. and according to the F.A. the only place these tickets can come from is them. £££££££ flash in front of there eyes for the cup final and its us loyal fans who have to pay

  • Micheal Ram

    I think the FA would rather stand the lost or allegation of illegal profit than filling up the stadium with Arsenal fans to prevent them from winning the cup. They have already put Probert in charge and im pretty sure the Wembley field will be as horrendous as it was in the semifinal. The stage has been set to screw up Arsenal FC. Dont be surprise if Arsene Wenger bench breaks when he sits on it. Arsenal players, please dont eat anything from the stadium. Watch out for the snipers at the towers too.

  • nicky

    “I know that some supporters look down on us Gooners from other countries”.
    If this is true, Walter, and I’m not questioning what you say, I think I can safely remind these misguided souls that there are more world-wide supporters of our great Club from OUTSIDE these Islands than from within.
    Their support is total and unswerving and is remarkable for the fact that most will never, ever, see their heroes in the flesh. And the Emirates, as was Highbury, is regarded as a Mecca they will never visit.

  • Quincy

    I’m sorry this is off topic, but WHY was the Old Wenbley demolished? WHY? I cannot understand it. It was the greatest football stadium in the world, Pele said so himself. If they wanted a bigger stadium, why couldn’t they build the new one somewhere else, and name it something else?

    The new Wembley is more or less like any other modern stadium, but the Old Wembley was unique in its architecture amongst stadiums. Nevermind its glorious history. And where was the outcry from the media? Did they even present a balanced argument over the topic? An utter shame beyond comprehension.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Yes Nicky. For us overseas gooners and specially from the third world countries, it’ll always be a dream to visit the ems. I am not a trophy at any cost guy. But I dream of being there by the side of the road when the gunners take the open bus ride………..

  • Jax

    Quincy. Did you ever go to “Old Wembley”? At the end It was most certainly not “the greatest football stadium in the world” although possibly the most famous. I only went to one football match there and it was one of the worst views (high behind the goal) that I have ever had at a game. Yes the pitch itself was famous and maybe Pele had this in mind, and the twin towers could have been saved & incorporated into the design of the new stadium. But it was many years out of date and needed to be replaced. I’ve been to one match at the new stadium and had a wonderful view. There’s loads of easily accessible toilets & bars and the whole match day experience was very enjoyable (apart from the result). I’m certainly not nostalgic about “Old Wembley”

  • Quincy

    Right, so why did they have to demolish the old Wembley? Couldn’t they build the new Wembley somewhere else?

  • Jax

    Quincy. Do you mean have two Wembleys? One (the original) in actual Wembley and another one somewhere else? What would they call the new one? New Wembley? The old Wembley was a white elephant and needed to be pulled down. It was shite for football & nobody misses it.

  • Quincy

    I think a simple internet search will show that some people do miss it. And that goes back to an earlier point I made. The media only presented the official view that the old Wembley was terrible, nobody wanted it, and it had to be torn down. So how much of “nobody misses it” is down to the media completely ignoring other views? That may sound far fetched, but you only have to think about how the media covered the “War on Terrorism” in the early days, and the public’s opinion of it.

    And you seem to miss my point about the old Wembley being a historical stadium and a work of architecture. All the large or famous stadiums today are more or less the same types of “modern architecture”, but Old Wembley was unique for its traditional architecture, i.e. it actually was a work of architecture, unlike modern stadiums, which are just buildings. Also, many famous matches and concerts etc. happened at the old Wembley, so it was a historic work of architecture.

    I can understand the government wanted a larger and more modern stadium, but why did they have to demolish the old Wembley to do so? Couldn’t they have built their large, modern stadium somewhere else, and name it something else? Would they demolish Albert Hall, for example, and build a larger, more modern hall in its place, and call it the New Albert Hall?

  • nicky

    Quite right. I once had to stand high above one end and saw nothing of the play in the opposite goal mouth.
    Irritating when your team scores all the goals a mile away. Grrr…..

  • Grayfox001

    @Quincy Are you saying keep the old Wembley as a football venue or as a historical building for tourists to view?

    I suppose there may have been some mileage in the latter but sure it would have been expensive to run.

    As a football venue? To me it was done. Went to a few games there including Arsenal’s CL games back in the day. Hated it. I can handle all the problems associated with old stadiums but the views I had were really poor.

  • gouresh

    Yes when that allocation was announced, just out of curiosity a few days later i checked on the net, the tickets were selling around 360 to 450 £’s..its all about the money, that’s all.

  • Micheal Ram

    The Old Wembley was demolished and build newly to prevent all the international games to be played at the Emirates. If you research, you will realize both the stadium was under construction at the same time, though Emirates was planned first but Wembley finished first. Without the renovation, the magnificent Emirates stadium will cast a shadow on the old Wembley. The pitch state is really shit nevertheless. If I can see that from a satellite TV half the planet away, I wonder what the spectators and players think. They spend so much of money on the stadium, but really f**ked it up on the pitch.

  • Grayfox001

    I thought the Emirates opened first. Was Wembley construction finished first?

    Actually thinks it’s a great stadium for watching sport. I get the point about its lack of character but that’s modern stadia I guess.

    I assume constructing something with the aesthetics of old Wembley/Highbury with usability of new Wembley/Ashburton Grove is very prohibitive.

    The biggest issue around @Quincy point is that we need A (one) national stadium and not 2 (the old interesting one and the new generic one). All sorts of arguments about location, why it’s needed etc. and probably feeds into a bigger argument about teams need for their own stadium and why teams don’t ground share etc.

  • Sharpehunter

    I already know people who are associated with local amateur football clubs in Leeds and Wakefield who get at least one complimentary ticket every year. They usually raffle them off and put the proceeds towards their own game. One I know very well depending on who is actually in the final paysoff a significant % of their pitch and dressing room booking fees for the next season. So not all of these recipients abuse the system and put the tickets on the blackmarket. I also know of a local authority who gives their ticket to a local hospice to auction of for funds.

    But I do know and accept that many of these tickets will end up being sold off at extortionate prices to long standing loyal Gooners who will have no other way of getting a ticket.

    I’m like most people and we won’t stand a chance. So we are looking forward to what will hopefully be a street party / carnival type day out in Islington where plenty of pubs will be filled with Gooners just happy to be together.

  • Tony Warren

    Just to comment, that although its dissapointing that the number of tickets for Arsenal supporters is low, I was able to get a tickets to by applying to the FA via my Sunday League football team. I was fortunate enough to get tickets in the past for two FA cup finals at Cardiff. I paid face value and did not sell on. Luckily the local FA and our club allocated tickets fairly and only to supports of one of the teams. (I am a silver member, so do attend games and have done for many years), bottom line is that not all of the 50000 tickets not going to Arsenal will be to people not affiliated to the club.