The FA Cup is steeped in history and every year the competition provides England’s lower league teams with a chance to net a dream tie against one of the Premier League big boys.
Naturally, Manchester United are always one of the teams handing out proverbial lottery tickets to said teams and this season, Cambridge United have got the golden ticket.
Despite being ranked 78 places below Man United in the English league system, Cambridge will welcome Van Gaal’s men to the Abbey Stadium on January 23.
Although not quite Old Trafford, Cambridge will be hoping the match provides enough drama to keep the ground jam-packed for the rest of the season.
In an effort to reward loyal fans and win some more support for the rest of the season, Cambridge United’s chairman Dave Doggett decided to use a tiered system to sell tickets.
Season ticket holders were given the first crack at a seat before fans that had committed to purchasing a 12-game ticket were given access to the match.
Although seen by some as a cheap trick to rake in extra cash, Doggett defended his decision by saying that it was the fairest way he could do it so that regular supporters weren’t excluded from the team’s biggest match in years.
However, according to a recent report by the Daily Mail, a number of Man United fans are incensed by the supposed money-grabbing tactics by Cambridge.
After learning that their team’s next FA Cup tie would be against League Two’s Cambridge United, fans of the Red Devils hoped they’d be in for a slightly cheaper night of football.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case as reports have suggested that Man United supporters are being charged £30 for a ticket.
Although not astronomical by Premier League standards, the fact that a regular ticket for a Cambridge United match costs £11 has angered travelling fans.
The same thing happened to Man United fans in the previous round of the FA Cup against Yeovil and many are questioning the so called “magic” of the cup and asking whether that means teams can simply conjure up ticket prices from nothing.
Aside from being irked by the principle of paying more than the standard rate, Man United’s travelling fans are also concerned that a seven-hour round trip to see a potential walkover on a Friday night.
Given both team’s relative performances this season, Man United are heavy favourites to win the match. Indeed, according to betting aggregators such as www.britishbookmakers.co.uk, Van Gaal’s side will start the match as 1/6 favourites – which is the shortest price off all the teams in the fourth round.
Of course, anything can happen in the FA Cup but the apparent willingness to exploit both home and away supporters has put a slight dampener on the match.
Although Cambridge United can’t be criticised for trying to maximise a dream clash against Man United, the latest example of exploitation is something which fans appear to be growing weary of.