Sunday, 16 March 2008

FA CUP (Sponsored by E.ON) Semi-Final Dates Confirmed

The FA Cup (sponsored by E.ON) semi-final dates have been set and firstly let me offer my congratulations to the semi-final teams: Barnsley, Cardiff City, Portsmouth and WBA.

The schedule is as follows:

WBA v Portsmouth Saturday April 5th, K.O. 12.15pm

Barnsley v Cardiff City Sunday April 6th, K.O. 4pm

Both games to be played at Wembley

It is a major surprise that not one team from the elite's top four have made it to the semi's and with no disrepect to the four teams that HAVE made it because they made it with grit, determination, desire and a little bit of luck, my question is will Wembley's 'Corporate City,' bother to turn up not just for the semi-finals, but to the final itself?!

The capacity of Wembley Stadium is 90,000 and Wembley is really a fantastic stadium, I should know I have been there three times in the last year. Of the 90,000 seats available for both semi-final games, 33,000 tickets have been allocated to each club, which leaves a total of 24,000 seats to be accounted for.

17,000 seats out of those 24,000 have been brought by Corporate City over a lease period of 3, 5, 10 years and these are the seats that you see empty at the start of each game played at Wembley so far, mainly at the start of the second half.

At the Carling Cup final, Wembley, The Fooball League and the sponsors set a challenge called the 'bums on seats at the start of the second-half,' challenge where money would be donated to charity for every seat occupied before the start of the second half.

I have no doubt that each club will sell out their allocations, despite none of the four clubs capacities at their respective home grounds being 33,000, but we all know the 'pothunters' surface once there is a grand day out to be grabbed and a day out at Wembley to see 'your' team is not a day out to pass up.

I bet the FA and E.ON are are quietly mumbling in their respective oak-panelled boardrooms that the decision to play the semi's at Wembley may well backfire and they may well hope that 'Corporate City,' turn up and put 'those bums on seats well before the first half whistle and second half whistles blow.

I for one will be watching with interest.

BTW to the supporters of all four teams, make sure you bring loads of money on your special day out...... Wembley is so expensive..... or you could boycott every food and drink outlet, like Chelsea and Man Utd fans have done in the past.

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