Wigan v Man Utd tickets: Why League One club's fans are angry about arrangements for FA Cup third round tie

United's long-awaited away draw will see them make the short trip to Wigan in January.
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Manchester United’s ticket allocation for their FA Cup third round tie at Wigan is proving a thorny issue for many of the League One side’s fans. 

The news United were coming to town prompted the Latics board to change around their usual arrangements for travelling fans - and some on the home side are really not happy. 

What have Wigan decided ahead of Man United FA Cup clash? 

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After being paired with United, Wigan announced the East Stand of the DW Stadium would be given to United supporters, as opposed to the usual North Stand, in order to maximise potential revenue. It means United will have approximately 8,000 tickets for the game, around a third of the stadium. 

The club’s board have argued it makes the most economic sense, but the decision angered Latics fans so much that some have even threatened to boycott the game, with tickets going on sale on Monday morning. The East Stand usually contains the loudest section of the Latics support - with thousands of season ticket holders being forced to give up their regular seats.

A number of Latics fans have been critical of the ticketing arrangements for the FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United next monthA number of Latics fans have been critical of the ticketing arrangements for the FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United next month
A number of Latics fans have been critical of the ticketing arrangements for the FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United next month

What have Wigan’s fans said? 

Indie Latics - a collective formed earlier this year during the dark days of the previous Wigan ownership - released a lengthy statement on the matter, also criticising the prices for the game and the lack of communication with fans’ groups. 

Part of it read: "While we understand the need for the board to make as much financial gain from this match, we take issue with the manner in which the decision was taken, and also the resulting communications that were put out. It will clearly stick in the throat of many East Stand season ticket holders that they will be forced to move stands for this game. That said, we also appreciate the board has a difficult decision to make in balancing the financial well-being of the club against the emotive wishes of fans at times.

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“We at Indie Latics also feel criticism of the pricing structure for the game is in order. To ask home fans to vacate their regular seats, and pay the same price for an arguably worse view (behind the goal) is, in our view, a slight on those supporters. No matter the opposition, these are tough financial times for people, and long term we would like to see discussions and a strategy from the club, detailing how they intend to grow the fanbase and encourage more families and children to attend matches.

"On the issue of making the East Stand the away end for the United game, there was an opportunity for the board to consult the Supporters Club and other fan groups before any decision was made or communicated out to the fanbase. This would have allowed for other opinions to influence any decision or amend the strategy, even if only slightly.”

What has Wigan’s chairman said about the United FA Cup ticket plan? 

Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium will play host to the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup third round next monthWigan Athletic's DW Stadium will play host to the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup third round next month
Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium will play host to the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup third round next month

Wigan Athletic chairman Ben Goodburn has responded to criticism. He said: “I understand that Latics’ fans like to sit in their own seats where possible. However, this is a unique one-off cup game and, having reviewed previous big home fixtures such as the 2018 Manchester City fixture, we want to ensure we maximise its potential whilst also ensuring we get as many Latics fans in the stadium as we think is possible.

“It has been clear during the current 2023/24 season that our stadium has been significantly under capacity. Our average attendance is down across all stands, including the East Stand, with an average attendance in our home stands of less than 40 per cent so far this season.

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“None of this season’s attendance metrics illustrate our ability to fill the East Stand, including for the Emirates FA Cup fixture against Manchester United. Moreover, the fixture has been selected for broadcast on terrestrial television on a Monday evening, which doesn’t help with our ambitions to fill the stadium for big fixtures and improve the atmosphere.

“The reality is that our club has made, and continues to make, significant financial losses that will continue in the long term unless we make some tough decisions which some fans may not agree with. Although the decision to move the away fans into the East Stand for this specific fixture was not an easy decision, we feel it is the right one in terms of maximising attendance, improving our stadium’s atmosphere and taking positive steps to improve the financial health of the club.”

When is Wigan v Man United? 

The FA Cup third round tie at the DW Stadium takes place on Monday, January 8, with the game kicking off at 8.15pm.

Is Wigan v Man United on TV? 

The game has been chosen for live coverage on ITV1. It will also be available to stream on ITVX. Both clubs will receive a live broadcast fee of £85,000 in addition to any payment from the competition’s prize fund.