Date:Friday April 13 2007
Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea look like having some 8,000 tickets apiece left surplus to requirements for Sunday's FA Cup Semi Final. The lack of Rovers sales is said to be more surprising due to the lack of distance required to travel, but is not unsurprising really due to the costs involved!
Many view the choice of venue, Old Trafford, for the Rovers - Chelsea Semi Final as a bad one. Right or wrong the FA have defended their decision amid news being revealed that both clubs are likely to see around 8,000 tickets going unsold.
Old Trafford is a 37 mile trip if you are local to Blackburn, so with this in mind the fact that we have failed to sell our full allocation of 30,900 is or the more surprising… of is it!
Mike Graham, from the Blackburn Independent Supporters' Association blames the cost of tickets:
"Our catchment area is basically just Blackburn, which is a small town," he told The Times.
"It's also a low-wage area. Even forking out the minimum of £25 per ticket is a lot, never mind the maximum £55."
The costs don't help for the reasons explained, but it's not just the costs is it?
Blackburn is a small town, and unlike Chelsea (and this is not a dig at them) we are not part of an area like London, which can see support for them come from all across it and the surrounding areas. We have support from all over but being an unfashionable club in a small town can see it hard for us to gain that following, even from the locals. I had hoped that we could sell our full allocation but this was always realistically going to be hard wasn't it…
The fact that Chelsea have a greater following doesn't necessarily mean they will bring as many to the game though, and they probably won't. Their fans are unhappy with the journey involved, especially with a 4pm kick off on a Sunday, and you have to sympathise don't you?!?!
The FA has defended their selection of venue and price through an FA Spokesperson, who said:
"The crowd will be bigger than at any other ground we could have staged the game.
"We want to make these occasions accessible to the fans. We feel the ticket prices are fair, and are appropriate to staging a big semi-final.
Ultimately Old Trafford is better for us (in terms of venue) and as a result has in all likelihood probably seen us have a greater turnout, but is it the fairest location though? Most other places arguably would have seen even less Rovers fans make the game, although if played elsewhere would the tickets have been cheaper…
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Date:Friday April 13 2007
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