Spirit of Shankly and all Liverpool FC supporters along with City’s 1894 Group and fans of Manchester City FC celebrated on Sunday at reaching the FA Cup semi-final.
Yet rather than basking in the anticipation of the match, to be played on Saturday 16 / Sunday 17 April, it was, for all involved, not a case of “We’re on our way to Wembley” but “How will we get to Wembley?”
Over the upcoming Easter weekend, when the game is scheduled, there are no trains between Euston and Milton Keynes, meaning there is no direct train to London from either Liverpool or Manchester. More than 64,000 travelling supporters will be forced on to the roads, which will already be over-burdened with bank holiday traffic.
For the other semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, Wembley makes sense. For Liverpool and City it makes no sense.
The FA statement on the matter claims they are looking for a solution and twice mentions supporters, yet fails to include us in any ongoing conversation. We are asking both clubs, the FA and Wembley to reconsider where this game is played and, for once, to put the fans at the forefront of their thinking.
City and Liverpool are less than 40 miles apart and there are plenty of grounds big enough far closer than Wembley to stage such a prestigious game.
We appreciate ties of this magnitude need forward planning, but the issue of how two sets of supporters will be able to travel and watch their teams has been ignored. Network Rail will have had their works scheduled, as is often the case over public holidays, for months. Did the FA in their planning of such a large-scale event not think to check for disruption to travelling fans in advance?
We urge those in charge to think again and move the venue.