Do You Care What Time The FA Cup Final Kicks Off?

Chris Wright

16th, April 2013


By Chris Wright

A quick scout around Twitter today has shown that an awful lot of people are up in arms about the FA’s decision to have this year’s FA Cup Final between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City kick-off at 17:15 BST again.

It is the second time in a row that the final will kick-off “late” with last year’s game between Liverpool and Chelsea also starting in the early evening.

There has been a fair bit of consternation from fans over the supposedly ludicrous kick-off time, though FA’s general secretary Alex Horne has defended the call, speculating that “lunchtime kick-offs don’t have the same appeal” as mid-morning ones (???) and that the FA “added a couple of million viewers” by holding last year’s showpiece at quarter past five.


As well as all the guff about Cup Final Day traditions going to the dogs, there’s also a line of thinking that says, by pushing back the kick-off time, it gives football’s moronic element more time to get tanked up before the game and start riots in the terraces like they did during the Wigan-Millwall semi-final. The general assumption seems to be that all fans can’t be trusted to meter out their alcohol consumption and will just relentlessly hoover up lager from the moment they wake to the moment they take their seat.

There is also the criticism that the FA have cynically altered the kick-off time to suit their sponsors and that fans travelling back to the North West at full-time are in for a knackering journey home from London at 9pm on a Saturday while the FA’s corporate VIPs will only face a short chauffeur-driven soiree back to their Canary Wharf penthouses.

Welcome to modern football, make yourself comfortable.

Time to canvas opinion: Anyone out there care what time the FA Cup Final kicks-off? Personally, as we’re not travelling Wigan/City fans, we couldn’t care less what time the final kicks-off as long as it’s on television and the mute button is fully functioning for all those pesky “Chiles” bits before and during the coverage.

We’re apathetic like that.

Posted in FA Cup, Featured, Opinion

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  1. Liam says:

    I’m not as bothered about the KO time as I am about the date. The FA cup final should be the final game of the season. It is the oldest cup competition in football after all.

  2. James says:

    It sounds like the motivation is the “couple of million viewers” that would be able to watch a 5:15 kickoff, which stands to reason; Saturday is a day when lots of people have commitments at around 3pm, and it seems that a 5:15 kickoff would suit loads these casual viewers, to use the marketing parlance. Last year’s 5:15 was a huge ratings success; the Chelsea-Liverpool final had more UK viewers than the Champions League final.

    If the game had a 7:45 kickoff, there would be sufficient grounds for complaint from Man City and Wigan fans – they would probably have to stay overnight in London. But with a 5:15 kickoff the match will be over by around 7, the post-match presentations will be over by 8, and most of the fans will be able to reach the Northwest by about 11:30. It’s not what they’d like, but let’s not pretend they’re travelling to the ends of the earth and back.

    It’s very disappointing for the 70,000 or so fans travelling from the North West, but 70,000 fans wishes shouldn’t outweigh millions of people who can watch the game. Utilitarianism should prevail.

  3. dan says:

    The problem lies with the lack of trains back north – the last one to Wigan leaves Euston at 8.31pm, so to catch that you’d have to leave the game early. That’s why there’s been a bit of uproar about it.

  4. Rouge Diablo says:

    As far as KO times go, 5.15 > 12.30. A 12.30 final would be awful…

    But the bigger picture is that the cup has been systematically disrespected by the FA: Semi Finals at Wembley are a disgrace. As said above, the final is no longer the show piece it was as its not the final game of the season any more.

    The FA need to get semi finals back at Villa Park, do away with replays and make the “final” the “final” game of the domestic calendar. Simple.

  5. Room101 says:

    I watched last years final as the 1715 kick off suited me better based around what else I had going on, and a 1500 kick off would have felt like a bigger disruption to my day (I was writing a dissertation). Just my two cents but I don’t it’s disrespectful to the Cup, blah blah blah; it’s a move to aim to keep an ever decreasing competition for fans and clubs as a prime attraction in modern football.

  6. marajonna says:

    I want to love the fa cup but I’m finding I care less and less about it every year. it’s sad it’s not a stand alone fixture at the end of the season at 3pm, semi finals at Wembley erode the magic further and I hate how Sky barely mention it. Give the FA cup to sky and let them hype it to oblivion so I can learn to love it again.

  7. Kathies says:

    I’m afraid that if the FA would like to “care” about the Cup more they’d add a group stage…

  8. Si says:

    The fact that the kick-off time is based solely on commercial imperatives rather than the wishes of the fans, who will not want to be dragging themselves back to the north west at near midnight on the day of the match, is sad.

    Armchair neutrals should be a secondary consideration but given how much advertising revenue is at stake, it is hardly surprising that the wishes of the couldn’t-give-any-less-of-a-toss-who-wins and self-entitled masses (with their degenerate betting and drinking habits, at least according the adverts that will be shown) have taken priority over those of the true fans who will travel across the country, most likely by coach and with familities, to pay over-the-odds for a ticket in the gods from an organisation that is hellbent on bleeding every penny it can out of fans / consumers.

  9. Herman says:

    Does anyone really still care about the FA cup after their team has been knocked out?

  10. drags says:

    Does anyone really care about city vs wigan? I find it hard to take an interest as a neutral even in a team filled with money grubbing egotists. As you say “welcome to the modern game” … meh

  11. Joe says:

    Sorry, but all these people saying it’s more convenient because there are other things to do at 3pm shouldn’t really have an opinion on the traditions of the FA Cup, one of which used to be: Arrange the day around the effing match!

  12. Degs says:

    The FA Cup Final should be played at 3pm on the Saturday after the league season has finished.
    However, The FA are determined to undermine their own competition, so fuck ’em!
    I hope the City and Wigan fans boycott it and the game is played out in an empty stadium.
    Although an extra 80,000 viewers on TV is apparently what The FA want…

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