Warning issued to Manchester United and Man City fans ahead of FA Cup final

-Credit: (Image: PA)
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Fans of Manchester City and Manchester United are again being advised to use different routes and stop at different service stations on route to the FA Cup final.

The Blues and Reds are facing off in the showpiece at Wembley on Saturday for the second year running. City are looking to complete a league and cup double whilst United will be hoping to end an otherwise disappointing season with some silverware.

Each club have been given an official allocation of around 35,000 tickets with hundreds of coaches and cars carrying fans of both teams to converge on the capital for the match, which kicks off at 3pm.

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As was the case for last year's meeting, police and travel authorities are advising fans travelling by road to take different routes and use different service stations in a bid to reduce congestion and prevent any potential flashpoints.

They were put in place after the 2011 FA Cup semi-final between the pair saw clashes both at the stadium and at service stations. And the measures were deemed to be a success with police saying supporters were a 'credit to both teams.'

City fans boarding an official coach at East Didsbury Metrolink stop before last year's game -Credit:PA
City fans boarding an official coach at East Didsbury Metrolink stop before last year's game -Credit:PA

Last year's match took place on the day of a national rail strike with virtually all supporters travelling by road. Whilst that isn't the case this year, transport chiefs say the fact it is in the middle of the late spring bank holiday weekend will mean holiday and day-tripper traffic.

National Highways says to 'smooth people's journeys' City fans should travel via the M62 and M1 with United supporters advised to use the M6, M42, M40 option.

The agency says the routes will be 'particularly busy' before and after the game but that their operations centres in the North West, the Midlands and south east will be monitoring traffic throughout the day as well as setting electronic signs and dispatching patrols of traffic officers to clear up any incidents as quickly as possible to keep fans and other motorway users on the move.

Hundreds of coaches are set to descend on the capital -Credit:PA
Hundreds of coaches are set to descend on the capital -Credit:PA

Gary Farrell, National Highways’ senior network planner for the North West, said: “Our message to everyone driving down for the final is to plan their journeys carefully, follow our advice on routes and look out for incidents or congestion once they are on the road – heeding any advice on our electronic signs.

“Stopping for regular breaks will not only help keep you fresh but will also give you a chance to check for congestion or incidents and adjust your travel plans accordingly.”

Meanwhile police have warned they will take a 'firm approach' to any potential troublemakers. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say there will be a 'large police presence' across the city throughout the day, particularly in the city centre.

Supporters of both clubs are being urged to different routes and different service stations -Credit:PA
Supporters of both clubs are being urged to different routes and different service stations -Credit:PA

Chief Superintendent Colette Rose, the force's Gold Commander for the event, said: “This final promises to be a great day for our city and we want to ensure everyone enjoys the day, whether that is in Manchester or in London.

“Supporters at last year’s final were a credit to both teams - please remember that you are representing Manchester again and that the match is not an excuse for anti-social or criminal behaviour.

“GMP has been working closely with partners including the Met and West Midlands police forces, the UK Football Policing Unit and British Transport Police to ensure the day runs smoothly and that everyone can enjoy the game safely. Please also only travel down to London if you have a match ticket as there are no alternative sites for fans to gather in large numbers.

Fans on Wembley Way before last year's game -Credit:Getty Images
Fans on Wembley Way before last year's game -Credit:Getty Images

“There will be a large police presence across the city of Manchester, as we always have for high-profile events, to ensure the safety of everyone; and we will also have officers on the routes down and in London.

“There will be officers in Manchester city centre throughout the day, right up until fans return from London. It doesn't matter where you are intend to watch the match - don't let a moment of poor judgement lead to a criminal prosecution or a football banning order.

“We will take a firm approach to anyone ruining the day for the real football fans. If you have any concerns please speak to one of our officers who will be more than happy to assist where possible. Be safe, be responsible, look out for each other and enjoy the game.”

Fans were praised following their behaviour at last year's showpiece which the Blues won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ilkay Gundogan -Credit:Getty Images
Fans were praised following their behaviour at last year's showpiece which the Blues won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ilkay Gundogan -Credit:Getty Images

Tom Legg, Head of External Operations at the FA, said: "We look forward to welcoming a capacity crowd to Wembley Stadium for the Emirates FA Cup Final.

"We have worked closely with both clubs and travel operators to put in place alternative options for supporters coming to Wembley Stadium.

"We would urge anyone travelling to the game to plan their journey well in advance and to consider the options in place to support them.”

Recommended routes

Manchester City fans

  • M62/M1 (the advised route for City supporters)

  • M6/M1

  • M6/M6 Toll/M1

Manchester United fans

United supporters: M6/M42/M40

Full list of allocated service stations

City supporters

  • Lymm

  • Sandbach

  • Stafford

  • Norton Canes

  • Corley

  • Rugby

  • Watford Gap

  • Northampton

  • Newport Pagnell

  • Toddington

  • London Gateway

United supporters

  • Knutsford

  • Keele

  • Hilton

  • Warwick

  • Cherwell Valley

  • Oxford

  • Beaconsfield