For years, the debate over whether FA Cup semi-finals should be held at the home of English football or, as it was for so long, at neutral venues continues to divide supporters.
Wembley Stadium is a magnificent arena to host a football match. With an atmosphere like no other and 90,000 passionate supporters screaming on both sides of the famous arch, it is a breathtaking venue and Tottenham Hotspur fans will be looking forward to playing all of their home fixtures there this season whilst the White Hart Lane redevelopment continues.
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But are we seeing too much of Wembley, particularly in the FA Cup? For years, the debate over whether FA Cup semi-finals should be held at the home of English football or, as it was for so long, at neutral venues continues to divide supporters. Supporters from the north of England find transport to and from West London difficult – especially when kick-off times are adjusted to suit television broadcasters.
Fans of the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Everton, amongst others, have had to make the three-hour trip down to Wembley in recent years and fans are getting sick of venturing down to West London. There is a simple solution: save Wembley for the FA Cup showpiece and determine semi-final venues on the draw.
If a London club is playing against one of the Manchester clubs, hold it at Villa Park. If a London club is playing against another London club, hold it at a neutral venue in London; it isn’t rocket science. Adopting this approach will help to keep supporters happy and it should preserve the Wembley turf ahead of the final.
This year's FA Cup could be an interesting one. With Tottenham playing at Wembley for the entire campaign, could Spurs have an advantage if they reach the semi-finals?
Despite having a few close calls in recent years, Tottenham are prone to slipping up and some will be hesitant to back Spurs ahead of the new campaign. Fortunately, the latest free bets, offers and promotions are available from online bookmakers in the UK and these can help punters to avoid losing out on cash. Pochettino’s side will be there or thereabouts if they take the FA Cup seriously and they could feature in the Wembley showpiece come next May.
The FA Cup is England’s most prestigious competition and walking out on the famous Wembley turf should be a proud moment. Hosting the semi-finals at the home of English football allows four teams the chance to play in front of the biggest crowd in the country but for most, playing the semi-finals there almost downplays the importance of the big event.