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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Wigan send back semi-final tickets

Kevin Palmer

Wigan Athletic look set to be outnumbered by Millwall supporters at Saturday's FA Cup semi-final, after Latics officials handed back more than 10,000 tickets from their allocation for the game at Wembley.

Championship side Millwall have sold out their allocation of 31,000 seats, but their Premier League opponents have been left a little red faced after they failed to find takers for all their tickets.

Football Association chiefs are now introducing a 'neutral' area at Wembley, with 6,000 tickets from Wigan's unwanted allocation going on general sale.

Despite the inventive move that is designed to bolster the crowd, FA officials expect as many as 14,000 seats to be left empty for a tie that offers Wigan a chance to claim one of the greatest moments in their history by reaching an FA Cup final for the first time.

The modest number of Wigan supporters wishing to make the trip to London comes on the back of the club bringing a reported 340 supporters to watch their crucial relegation battle against QPR at Loftus Road last Sunday.

They are hardly attendance figures that seem fitting for a Premier League team, but Wigan manager Martinez offers a stout defence for the club's followers whenever he is quizzed on the subject.

"From the outside they always look at the numbers and that is the wrong way to measure the passion of the fans. I always measure the quality of our fan base," he said earlier this year. "Remember, we have come a long way in the last 15 years. We are a modern, young, new football club.

"The numbers are not going to be where other clubs have them but the passion and quality of these fans is unique.

"It is a very difficult area. There are many possible, successful distractions. In the 25 miles around here, there are some football clubs that are very easy to support. Our fans have always been very loyal and very strong. I can guarantee you the passion and support from our fans is quite unique."

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