Tag Archives: villa park

All Cup Finals Should Not Be Played at Wembley – Agree?

I was at the National League play-off final yesterday at Wembley Stadium. A great occasion for the fans of course, however, a mere 8,049 were inside the 90,000 capacity ground.

Next week is the FA Trophy final, an average crowd over the years of around 15,000 to 17,000 – similar to that of the National League Playoffs. However, again it will look lost inside the vast Wembley backdrop.

Yesterday seen two northern teams travel down to the Capital, each with an approx four-hour drive there and back. Early starts, late getting home. It’s a long day for the fans, although the flow of beer for many will help.

I was sat next to some rather tipsy Salford fans waiting for the underground, who just wanted to get home – this was 7 o’clock at night in Wembley Central. I didn’t get home myself until 10:30 pm.

Was it worth it for them Salford fans? Without a doubt, yes.

Nevertheless, my gripe with the use of Wembley is this, yes it’s a great day out and something not every fan will experience watching their team at the iconic ground. However, I don’t understand why if two northern teams are in a final, we have a nominated ground in the north – like Old Trafford of the Etihad.

Similar if it’s a northern and southern team, we have a neutral ground in the Midlands like Villa Park.

Leave the League Cup Final, the three EFL play-off finals and the FA Cup ONLY to be played at Wembley. The rest play at neutral grounds, because let’s face it FA Cup semi-finals are not a Wembley showpiece. They take the edge off truly getting to a Wembley final and, it’s double the expense for the travelling fans.

It would be easier for the money spending fans to get to, more fans would be more likely to go with shorter travelling distances and it would pump money into different parts of the country.

Yesterday could have been played at the Etihad. The numbers would have definitely been more and the chance to play at a Premier League stadium would have still been a massive day out.

This all will never happen of course, but in common sense terms, it makes total sense to all.

Parkinson Must Gamble on FORGOTTEN MAN For Villa Win

After Bolton Wanderer’s fantastic start, the more optimistic of fans dreamt of life in the Premiership. However, those dreams quickly turned to nightmares, extinguished as quickly as they started. Languishing in 19th place, barely able to score a goal, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson must take drastic action to turn the tide.

However, blocking their path are fallen giants Aston Villa… thanks…

Bolton need to see this game as a great opportunity to upset the apple cart. Playing under the lights on a crisp Autumnal evening, Sky TV creating a palpable buzz about Villa Park, Parkinson should look to shake things up massively to give the weary Wanderers a chance to cut through the smog of the Black Country.

Simply put, he needs to take a gamble on the pocket rocket that is Erhun Oztumer. The Turk has rarely featured for the Wanderers this campaign, having only made 6 starts, and is known to be chomping at the bit. His flair and skills, plus the ability to thread a deadly pass could be what is needed to breathe new life into Bolton’s flatlining campaign.

Bolton simply cannot create any chances, hence their dire lack of goals, and the terrible run of form. Oztumer could be the only man in the squad who can provide the spark needed. He is something different, a showman, a talisman… the difference?

Bolton have a reasonable defence, conceding 20 goals in 15 games, not bad compared to their lower half rivals. However, they have only scored 11 goals, joint lowest in the Championship. Bolton must score more goals or else they will have to face life back in League One again.

Oztumer is definitely a gamble to start against Villa, but he has the capability to shake things up, catch the imagination of the crowd, maybe weave the killer pass… Because what’s the alternative… stay as we are and get beat 1-0.

Parkinson, the choice is yours.