There are around 50 people who help to manage CFCnet. How many are going to the FA Cup Final? Three. A big thank you must therefore be extended to the Football Association for inviting everybody to the Final except those who count – the real fans.With an allocation of just 25,000 tickets for Chelsea and 25,000 for Everton, a whopping 40,000 go to individuals not connected with either Club (most belong to Club Wembley or are loosely associated with the FA itself). To put that into perspective, take a full stadium the size of Stamford Bridge and fill that with corporate nobodies and FA hangers-on and you’ve got a full Wembley. It’s a disgrace.
What galls more than anything is that the FA is desperate to restore the fortune of the FA Cup to its former glory. TV networks bid for the status of televising every round and come August we’re fed a diet of non-games such as Weymouth Town playing Totteridge Rovers or Henley versus Bude….the so-called greatest cup competition in the world is dressed up like an old whore and paraded as though it was the greatest event ever to parade football’s catwalk.
Fans are expected to visit Southend on a cold winter’s Wednesday night, Coventry on a frosty Saturday and then when it comes to the balmy May final the fans who got their team to Wembley are unceremoniously dumped.
Instead the tickets are allocated to the various FA associations up and down the country. 200 tickets go to the Cornish FA etc, 200 tickets to the Hampshire FA etc, thousands to other FA football associations, 100 tickets to the Referees’ Association, not to mention free tickets for the FA’s lawyers and other suppliers such as caterers. It’s a freeloader’s jamboree consisting of everybody and anybody except…the real fans.
My sister used to work for the FA’s lawyers, Freshfields. Even they receive a handful of tickets that are put into a draw and the lucky recipients receive a free day out courtesy of the FA plc. Roll out free tickets for every supplier to the FA, including their paper stationers and Christmas party hat providers and you start to get a clue where every ticket goes.
The problem is, with 40,000 FA and corporate tickets bouncing around, a fair proportion of these end up on eBay. It’s a no-brainer for many people and most tout tickets on sale originate from individuals who don’t give a rat’s arse about the final but care deeply about the fact that each ticket is worth the price of a new sofa.
Even Chelsea season ticket holders aren’t guaranteed a ticket. Two years ago, a whole row of us in the Matthew Harding Lower – ten in all – couldn’t buy FA Cup Final tickets because there were 27,000 season ticket holders and only 25,000 FA Cup Final tickets. That meant that 2,000 season ticket holders didn’t go including us. It was the first major game that any of us had missed in twenty years. Tough titties.
The FA is a fraud. A corporate tart which kowtows to its sponsors, hangers-on and liggers. The FA Cup Final has very little to do with real football. After all, many real fans aren’t there – they’re in the Chelsea Ram pub watching the game on TV – whilst the FA’s ‘guests’ are in the Wembley bar eating prawn sandwiches as the game kicks-off.