As the fourth round of the FA Cup draws closer, it’s an opportunity for many supporters to watch their team face unfamiliar opponents and visit new stadiums for the first time.
For regular match going fans, however, the FA Cup is a source of much frustration and anger. When the draw was made, supporters who were given an away game in the next round began preparing for it. Such as organising transport, booking time off work and in some cases sorting out accommodation.
These supporters ended up being left in a state of limbo. It took the FA over 2 days to announce the dates and times of each fixture. Ultimately causing many supporters to panic over how they would be able to attend the match.
It is evident that the FA disregards the best interests of supporters and favours viewership and revenue. For teams and supporters who face long journeys, the ideal kick off time would be 3 pm on a Saturday. This gives most supporters enough time to make the journey in the morning, then return home on the same day. Avoiding costly overnight stays.
Sheffield Wednesday’s trip to Stamford Bridge will take place at 6 pm on Sunday evening. Which means that Wednesday fans travelling down to the capital for the match, won’t return home until the late on Sunday night.
When the FA was in the process of scheduling this fixture, they should have considered the travelling fans and realised that 3 pm on Saturday would have been ideal. It allows plenty of time to travel down in the morning and fans won’t arrive back home too late in the evening.
On Friday. 2 north-west clubs; Bolton and Man United, face trips to Bristol City and Arsenal respectively. Despite the FA Cup draw commencing on the 7th of January, their supporters had to wait over 72 hours to find out the date and time of their match. When the details were announced, those who wanted to attend needed to apply for tickets through the team. Then wait several more days to find out whether their application was successful.
This puts these supporters in a dilemma. They either need to organise transportation without having a ticket or rush to purchase train tickets and accommodation if they do receive one.
Understandably the FA needs to consider supporters who are unable to attend the game and rely on live TV coverage. However, they need to be far more considerate of the regular match going fans as well.