Manchester City and Wigan fans may no longer be stranded in London after May’s FA Cup final, thanks to a leading coach company.
The Wembley showpiece will kick-off at 5:15pm on Saturday May 11, causing chaos with supporters’ plans to get back to the North West after the final whistle.
However, Big Green Coach – which services many of the UK’s music festivals – has offered its support to the Sky Blues’ 25,000-strong faithful and travelling Latics fans.
“It’s a momentous occasion and regardless of the result, it’s going to be a great day out for everyone,” said director Danny Newby.
“To make sure it isn’t spoiled by travel issues, Big Green Coach is laying on extra coaches with cheap return prices.
“And we guarantee to wait until 45 minutes after the final whistle, regardless of extra time.”
Tensions may well be running high when the result is in, so the company will ensure supporters of each side travel separately.
Following the backlash over the kick-off time, the Football Association was forced to release a statement, defending the decision.
It said: “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.”
However, this claim has not gone down well with supporters, many of which will be relying on trains to get home.
Virgin Trains had confirmed no additional journeys would be scheduled to get supporters home, should the final run into extra time and penalties.
However, Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan council, has written to Virgin owner Richard Branson in an attempt to overturn the decision
He said: “Although we know the kick off time is out of Virgin’s hands, given their reputation as a caring company we hope they pull out all the stops to make sure fans have access to a train service at a reasonable time so they can get home safely.”
Picture courtesy of oldelpaso, via WikiCommons, with thanks.