One of the hot topics in the world of football over the last couple weeks is whether it is right for all FA Cup semi final matches to be played at Wembley.
This debate came about since fans of Premier League teams Liverpool and Manchester City were not happy that teams located so close to each other, both have to make the long trip down to the south to play a fixture that in hindsight could be played closer to home.
Not only were Liverpool and Man City fans unhappy about the distance of travel, but also the lack of travel options. The fans were really thrown under the bus by the fact that there were not enough transport options available, meaning the fans would struggle to return from Wembley Stadium, back to the north after the game.
This led fans to either not go to the game, or if they did, spend a considerable amount of money on private taxis and coaches.
So this argument was created as to whether it is fair on fans to have to make such financial sacrifices and go to so much effort to watch their teams play, when football is a sport meant for the fans and therefore should always consider the fans’ situations and be tailored for them.
Manchester City Vs Liverpool – FA Cup Semi Final
Manchester City and Liverpool recently battled it out in the FA Cup Semi Final, at Wembley, which ended in Liverpool winning 3-2 after a marvellous display yet again from Yurgen Klopp’s side.
However, was the victory slightly hindered for Liverpool fans knowing the difficulty in which it was to travel to Wembley and also the amount the trip cost in the end due to travel chaos? Also, how must City fans feel, asking themselves was it even worth it.
This fixture was meant to be one of the biggest in the calendar, as it not only means a great deal in terms of the FA Cup, but also Premier League Football, where both teams are competing for the league title, which City have a 1 point advantage on at the moment.
Due to planned engineering works, it meant that no trains were travelling from the north to London directly on the day of the game. This caused a huge issue for fans as travelling to Wembley already consisted of a long train journey, but that was no longer an option so an even longer journey of car or bus needed to be the solution.
In the end, City didn’t manage to sell out their accommodation, with part of the reason being the whole inconvenience of travelling there and back. It left many fans disappointed with the FA that they wouldn’t rearrange the fixture to a neutral ground closer to where both clubs are situated. Issues like this really make us all question whether or not football is actually for the fans.
Semi Finals At Wembley Are A “Financial Necessity”
The reason why the whole argument about changing the venue of the semi final wasn’t taken seriously was because a spokesman for the FA, Nick Barron, came out and said that it is a “financial necessity” for the semi final games to be held at Wembley.
He went on to mention that big games like this being held at Wembley help to pay for the stadium itself and that it was part of contracts that have been agreed. If the games aren’t played there then there would be some very angry shareholders.
Nick mentioned that Wembley is the best stadium in the country so what is the issue with it being held there. But since then many fans have gone on to say if you continue to play games like the Semi Finals at Wembley, it starts to take away the prestigious status of the ground and it no longer begins to feel special.
One of the packages at Wembley Stadium allows people to purchase seats for the year, which will guarantee them games to go and watch, such as England matches, cup matches and more, therefore if the venue is changed for certain matches, these packages would be invalid.
The views of the fans are very clear and their opinion should really be all that matters. We’ve come to a point where we understand things will not change and it will always be about revenue in this sense, which is very unfortunate for the game.
We would love to go back to the days where the games were at neutral grounds like Villa Park, as we reminisce to that famous ‘99 goal by Ryan Giggs against Arsenal which led them to go on and win the treble that year.
This isn’t the only instance where football has come down to money, as we have just battled with the big clubs over a ‘Super League’, which would ruin the whole structure of football competitions and ultimately drain the excitement out of the sport.