Harty on the cost of FA Cup tickets and Worthing FC

HOW tainted has the FA Cup, the greatest competition in the world, become?

First and foremost, full marks to Stoke City, whose ticket prices for next Saturday’s fifth-round tie against the Albion clearly show that they want people in the ground, despite both clubs having perhaps more pressing priorities in their respective leagues.

Shame the same cannot be said for Manchester United, one of the richest clubs in the world, who announced that adult Crawley fans would have to pay £41 to watch the greatest day in the club’s history when they take on United at Old Trafford next Saturday.

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Without wishing to offend the massed ranks of the United support, this has all the hallmarks of the work of the late, great Dick Turpin. I appreciate that there are running costs, but with the game live on a free-to-air broadcaster, ITV, at tea time, I would have thought, if anything, the tickets would be at a far reduced rate than at a premium?

While you can always say no, United have really got all true dyed-in-the-wool Crawley fans over a barrel.

If the balls had come out in a different order, and the Albion had ended up in the North West instead, there is no way that even at £41, I wouldn’t have paid to watch the Albion play at the theatre of dreams, but that doesn’t make it right.

United know that with a global support, and a large existing season ticket roster, they can charge what they want in the knowledge that even, despite live TV, they will almost certainly fill the ground.

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So, spare a thought for all true Crawley fans. They cannot miss out but will have to pay over double what the Albion support are being charged to watch another Premiership side on the same day.

Their loyalty to their club has been exploited by a club who could afford to slash ticket prices, rather than keep the existing level.

Some recent impressive results have been a justified reward for hard-working Worthing FC manager Chris White.

His task on taking on the Rebels job last summer was without doubt a difficult one, but in what was always going to be a transitional season, Worthing could yet end it being part of Sussex football history.

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The news that the Sussex Senior Cup final is being moved to July 16 to be the first-ever game at the Amex Stadium has re-ignited the competition for the clubs left in it, of which Rebels are one.

Not only with the prestige of being one of the first two teams to play at the stadium, the possible share of the gate revenue from an expected 10,000 crowd, also makes an appearance in the final an attractive propostion.

If the Rebels were to reach the final, then July could yet prove to be the start of a momentus season in the club’s long history.

With the 125th anniversary coming up, the club are looking into a special game to celebrate this landmark achievement.

Hopefully, a reunion of all the surviving legendary players to pull on the red shirt will also take place at the same time.