Everton boss David Moyes has criticised the FA’s decision to host all FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley following the Toffees’ quarter-final victory over Middlesbrough. Everton came from behind to secure victory at Goodison Park yesterday with second-half goals from Marouane Fellaini and Louis Saha cancelling out David Wheater’s 44th minute opener.
But Moyes feels that FA Cup finals could be devalued by clubs’ over exposure to Wembley.
“It’s great to be in the semis but I’d prefer the match was away from Wembley. I don’t think anyone likes it. Wembley should only be used for the final,” said Moyes.
He added: “I wanted to go to Wembley but in the final not in the semi-final. We’re in the semi-final of the Cup but, while that’s better than we’ve done before, it’s not the final and it’s not winning it, that’s what I’d really like to do.”
The decision to host all semi-finals at Wembley was taken in 2003 when the stadium was still being built. Prior to this semi-finals had previously taken place at neutral grounds such as Old Trafford or Villa Park.
However a precedent was set in 1991 when the Spurs v Arsenal semi-final was held at Wembley to accommodate the huge demand for tickets. The match ended in a 3-1 victory for Spurs and is best remembered for Paul Gascoigne’s outrageous free-kick that opened the scoring.
While the FA can legitimately claim that playing semi-finals at Wembley gives more fans the chance to see the game live there is little doubt that the primary motivation is to claw back some of Wembley’s £750m estimated cost.
The ties, to be played on the weekend of Saturday, April 18th, will see Everton take on Manchester United while Arsenal or Hull will face Guus Hiddink’s reinvigorated Chelsea.
So what do you think? Should semi-finals be played at Wembley giving more fans the chance to see their team in action? Or should Wembley host finals only to help maintain a sense of occasion? Vote in our poll (see left).