The wheels on the bus…
It’s a couple of days late this but congratulations to the Manchester Evening News for proving beyond any doubt that no United fans come from the city with their story about National Express taking “NINE” (their caps lock, not mine) coaches full of city fans and just “ONE” United coach to Wembley for this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final.
It did appear to be a blatant advert for the coach company rather than anything newsworthy but nevertheless it attracted a lot of online hits and the comments section on the MEN website was filled with understandable, errr, corrections from United fans and the same old tired shite from those knobs, no doubt frantically knocking one out over their computers having seen such conclusive evidence that “this city is ours”.
To be fair, the piece does eventually suggest that United fans are more used to the big occasion and might therefore go down for the weekend. I’d prefer to be a little more to the point and question why you’d queue up to endure 8 hours on a National Express coach for your club’s first major cup semi-final for 30 years.
National Express staff arranging special FA Cup semi-final services from Manchester to Wembley on Saturday have received bookings to fill NINE coaches for City fans – and just ONE coach for United supporters.
The company asked fans to say which club they supported before they reserved seats on services from the Chorlton Street station in Manchester.
Bosses were left stunned when they were inundated with requests from City fans – but received less than 50 from their cross-town rivals.
As a result, the single United coach will leave on Saturday morning.
But 30 minutes later a fleet of nine City coaches will follow suit.
A National Express source joked: “I suppose you could say it’s 9-1 to City.
“We had a laugh about it in the office and everybody was saying it was because United fans weren’t from Manchester.”
But the source admitted that there was another reason for United’s poor turnout.
She said: “To be honest we find this a lot with United games. They are used to big occasions and the club are really efficient at organising trips so I think it’s because a lot of their fans do that instead of travelling with us.”
Both clubs have sold out their 32,500 allocations and fans are making feverish preparations for the historic day.
For Blues fans without tickets, City are beaming back the action on a big screen to Eastlands.
Club bosses are opening the City Square complex at 3pm for the 5.15pm kick off.
They are charging fans £5 and under 16s £1 to take in the action and say the bar and café will be open.
The match is the first time the clubs have met at Wembley and the winner will meet the victor of the Bolton v Stoke semi which takes place at the same venue on Sunday.
A huge security operation has been launched to prevent trouble.
Police in London revealed warning letters have been sent out to 196 people, currently on Football Banning Orders, reminding them that if they attempt to breach their orders they will be arrested.
What we actually learn from the story is that city have a higher proportion of people in Manchester that haven’t got a fucking clue how to get the most out of a weekend away in London watching their team. Or they’ve a greater number that want to get in and out with as little chance as possible of seeing the other lot so they can return to work on Monday and perpetuate the biggest myth in football.
In the interests of balance, the MEN could have gone to press with the story of one small part of Manchester (not far from FC United’s proposed new ground in Moston) in which there are neighbouring city and United pubs taking coaches to Saturday’s game at Wembley. United fans will fill six coaches, with the blue pub next door taking just ONE (my caps lock), the departure point of which has been changed to a secret location because the patrons are worried about getting filled in before they’ve even left Manchester. I don’t know many blues but I’ve not heard any similar tales where the opposite is true.
They’ve not shown themselves in the best light since they won their quarter final. For the past couple of weeks they’ve been desperate not to have to put their Wembley allocation on general sale and risk being outed. The criteria for getting one from city went from needing 3,007 ‘Be Part Of It’ points to being able to name their old ground. Branch secretaries (you can assume all these branches are inside Manchester) have been offered bundles of tickets such was the lack of interest from “the best fans in the land and all the world”. There is no shame in having a hardcore of 20,000, just shut the fuck up cracking on like that number’s more like 80,000, you dicks.
True to blue form, my cousin went on a one-man crusade as soon as the final whistle went against Reading, predicting the “typical city ticket fiasco”. When I quizzed him about what he meant he referenced their last visit to Wembley in 1999 where apparently you couldn’t get a ticket “for love nor money”. “But you did get a ticket didn’t you?” I asked. “Yes” came his response. So evidently you could get one for love or indeed that more conventional means, money.
Having bought a tent, a Liam Gallagher fur-lined parka and a couple of Arab outfits for the kids, he eventually cancelled the camping trip at Eastlands and phoned up about a fortnight after they’d gone on sale and got as many as he needed. If he’s going down on the National Express I hope he gets sat next to someone who takes egg butties.