Manchester City have sent back 2000 tickets to the Football Association for their FA Cup semi-final, after selling 25,000 of their original 30,000 allocation. This, of course, has sent rival fans delirious on social media as they relentlessly mock City for their lack of fans and small club mentality.
However, these accusations are completely unfair when you look into it. Below we look at three reasons why they should be given some slack.
Frequent Wembley Visits
Wembley may be a dream and the pinnacle for fans all across the country but in truth, once you have been twice the novelty really wears off. Manchester City have already been to Wembley once in 2019, beating Chelsea in the League Cup final a trophy that they also won last year under the famous arch.
In terms of the FA Cup, they have been in two finals since 2010, winning one against Stoke and losing one to Wigan. That means, with Community Shields included, City have visited the new Wembley way more than most.
This season alone, they have already been three times. They won the Community Shield in August, beat Tottenham their back in October in the league and won the aforementioned League Cup in February. With the semi-finals and likely final of the FA Cup to come, that will make it a ridiculous five games at Wembley this season and you wonder why the fans are not rushing to get back down there.
Bigger Games To Come
A FA Cup semi-final against Brighton simply is not Manchester City’s priority this season. They are likely to win the game and get one step closer to winning the trophy but with the Premier League and Champions League still to fight for, both of those take priority over the old trophy.
Over the cause of the next month, City face Tottenham at the New White Hart Lane in a Champions League quarter-final, Manchester United away in a derby that could decide the title and a potential Champions League semi-final.
They will also have a FA Cup final and the prospect of an unprecedented quadruple to come meaning that many fans could be forgiven for saving their pennies for the more important games.
FA Cup Semi-Finals At Wembley
Let’s mention that giant elephant in the room. There is no way that the FA Cup finals should be played at Wembley. Bring back the good old days when they were played at a neutral venue such as Villa Park or Old Trafford.
Not only did it make the final itself more special but it made those semi-final games more accessible for fans of northern teams such as Manchester City.
A standard ticket from Manchester Piccadilly to Wembley Central costs £86.90 on the train added to the cost of a ticket which averages out at around £50. For a whole family to go down you are looking at more than £500 which is incredibly steep if you then have to fork out again for the final and other games.
The FA must get the semi-finals back to neutral grounds.