City fans call for meeting after criticism
Manchester City fans are asking for a sit down with manager Pep Guardiola following his criticism of Sunday's FA Cup attendance at home to Fulham.
A crowd of 39,223 turned up for the televised lunchtime kick-off, way below City’s Premier League average this season of 54,391.
Despite it being the third biggest FA Cup crowd over the course of the weekend, Guardiola said he was ‘surprised’ the tie was well short of the Etihad’s regular 54,500 capacity.
The Citizens lead 3-1 after their impressive display in the first leg at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, with perhaps some home supporters thinking the job is already done and starting to save for another trip to Wembley.
However, City supporter groups have cited their club have played nine games since December 27, and do not understand why Guardiola has bemoaned the busy fixture schedule for his players, while failing to appreciate the costs involved for regular every day followers.
There is also much anger that coming so soon after Christmas, City put tickets on sale nine weeks before they will host Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 on March 17, which has seen the second-leg tie quickly sell out.
It is understood the City Matters group, which regularly meet with representatives of the club, want to request a meeting with Guardiola to try and give a clearer picture surrounding non-attendance for some games.
The Citizens have not lost a domestic cup tie in over two year
s, having played 19 times during that successful run, visiting Wembley six times in the process.
There is a feeling of a growing disconnect between the success on the field and the affordability factor, with appeals for more to be done to introduce cheaper tickets.
Rival fans have previously dubbed City’s home ‘Emptihad’ due to many supporters deciding to stay away from cup games, including earlier rounds of the Champions League.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of City’s official supporters club, said earlier this week: “I’d suggest he’s not in touch with the financial reality facing football fans (Guardiola).
“Pep has to accept that this is a working-class group of fans who spend a lot of their money on football, so stop beating us up about it. I love Pep, but this sort of thing will alienate fans who work very hard to buy tickets.”