Football Association tell Cup final fans to drink Budweiser and get the bus home

Football Association tell Cup final fans to drink Budweiser and get the bus home

fa cup budweiser During 34 years working in sports journalism I have seen many a bad press release.

Some laughable. Some that make you cringe.

The Football Association have been behind a few of those. They’ve gone and done it again.

After adverse publicity surrounding the 5.15 kick off for the FA Cup final between Wigan and Manchester City, those who run the F.A. have come up with the a statement on their website that has only served to make things worse. They really would have been better off saying nothing than this.

“In relation to the information announced for the kick-off time of The FA Cup with Budweiser Final, The FA would like to highlight that 5.15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar.

This time was agreed with major stakeholders and broadcasters and has been used across the game for a number of years for televised matches.

In terms of transportation, a small percentage of Cup Final fans use the method of train travel.

Additional coach services which National Express are running, including directly from Wembley Stadium, mean there are more options for fans returning north after the game from Wembley on Saturday 11 May.

The kick-off time is unchanged from last year and this allows more football fans around the country to watch The Cup Final in its entirety.

The domestic viewing figures for last year’s FA Cup Final, shown on ITV and ESPN, recorded a combined peak in-home audience of 11.7m people in the UK.

This was the highest peak viewing figure The FA Cup Final has achieved under the current TV deal and a higher audiencee than that of Bayern Munich v Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Final.”

**

Right then. So fans can get on the bus having plied themselves with plenty of Budweiser and – here’s the gem – the TV viewing figures are great at that time of day.

So there we have it.

The secret that was no secret is out. TV viewing figures dictate the kick off for the once prestigious FA Cup final.

This year the person who has long decided on what day, and at what time, you get to watch your team play football retires from his powerful role at Sky Sports.

It is ridiculous that, for many years now, this little man with a big ego (and a reputation as a bully to his largely young staff) has had the power to dictate whether a game is played on a Saturday, a Sunday, a Monday and so on.

But that is the price you pay for selling your national game to the devil.

And I can only say to those who are angry about the kick off time of the FA Cup final or, come to that, any game in the English league; the solution is simple.

Cancel your subscription to Sky Sports today.

If only everyone did that, there would be a seismic shift when it came to who dictates when a match is played.

Who knows? Maybe the persistently ripped off, messed about spectator might actually get a say in things.

You won’t do it.

You’ll keep on paying stupid money to Sky so that you can watch Northampton versus Accrington Stanley on a Monday night.

Instead of having a super Sunday with your loved ones, you’ll watch a tedious Premier League football match in which multi millionaires go through the motions while their greedy agents take your money (yes, it’s your money) and bank it for themselves in a tax free, offshore account. While busy trying to get their overblown ‘star’ player another transfer so they can both make lots more dosh just prior to said player announcing his devotion to the new club and kissing the shirt the first time he scores.

As the backbone of the game, you the fan will continue to complain about having to travel the length of the country on a public holiday using public transport.

But all of you who pay Sky Sports are to blame for what time a match kicks off.

The day the fans reclaim the game from the broadcaster, the millionaire players and their agents; that’s the day you will once again see the FA Cup final begin at 3pm.

But I don’t expect to live to see that day.

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