The first ever all-Manchester FA Cup final is set to take place on Saturday, with City bidding to go within touching distance of a historic treble against rival neighbours United at Wembley.
Aside from stopping the Premier League champions in their tracks, the Red Devils are gunning for their second domestic trophy of the year, having lifted the Carabao Cup in February.
The thousands of fans who plan to make the trip from Manchester to London are set to endure major disruptions on public transport, with industrial action scheduled to ‘severely’ affect national rail services.
The FA have confirmed that an additional 120 coaches will run from Manchester to London so that fans are able to attend the event.
Still unsure about the transport chaos this Saturday? Mail Sport provides you with everything you need to know.
Thousands of supporters are set to be affected by train strikes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final
Erik ten Hag (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) will go head-to-head in the first ever FA Cup final between Manchester United and newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City
How will trains be affected?
On the day of the final, industrial action by Aslef will affect national rail services, with thousands of City and United fans set to be affected.
Train companies have warned that their services will be ‘severely reduced’ on Saturday, causing most fans to seek alternative transport options.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper stated: ‘It is deeply disappointing that Aslef has decided to call strikes and ban overtime, targeting thousands of people attending the UK’s first Eurovision event in 25 years – including Ukrainians displaced by Putin’s war – and the first ever all-Manchester FA Cup final.
‘The fair and reasonable offer from the RDG included urgent reform to ensure our railways are financially sustainable for the benefit of passengers, rail workers and the taxpayer as well as delivering a pay rise – for members whose salary already averages £60,000 a year.’
Industrial action called by the ASLEF is expected to cause significant disruption to the final
Trains will not be able to transport the tens of thousands of supporters expected to attend
The latest strikes by Aslef members are part of a lengthy dispute with the government and train companies over pay and conditions.
The union said its negotiating team has met representatives of the employers on eight occasions over the past year to try to find a resolution.
Nevertheless, fans are still outraged by Aslef’s decision to target major sporting events, as industrial action is set to affect both the FA Cup final and the Epsom Derby on Saturday.
Aslef chief Mick Whelan stoked the fire earlier this week by claiming the strike was a coincidence, telling the BBC: ‘We don’t do it on that basis, as you know. I don’t think there’s a day in this country where there’s not a pop concert or something going on.’
What are the alternative solutions?
The FA confirmed earlier this month that they will organise 120 coaches for Man United and Man City fans to help them get to Wembley for the FA Cup final.
Supporters going to the game this weekend face severe disruption as there are currently no trains from Manchester to London because of industrial action announced by the Aslef union, which will shut down large parts of the rail network.
Manchester City’s last FA Cup clash with their rivals came in 2011 in the semi-final at Wembley
Avanti West Coast – the only operator of direct Manchester to London services – is one of 16 companies affected by the strike.
The FA confirmed that they will run coaches from Manchester to London to help fans get to the final, costing £60 return for adults and £55 for under-15s.
There will be 60 coaches for each club, with United and City fans being kept apart for the 400-mile round trip and will not travel together.
The coaches and those wishing to drive to the capital have been advised to take different travel routes down to London and stop at different service stations on the way.
The FA will lay on additional transport for Man United and Man City fans travelling to Wembley
Transport for Greater Manchester have urged City supporters to take one of these routes to the capital: M62 and M1; M6 and M1; or M6, M6 Toll and M1, while United fans have been advised to take the M6, M42 and M40.
Motorway services have also been allocated to each club.
City fans have been asked to use Lymm, Sandbach, Stafford, Norton Canes, Corley, Rugby, Watford Gap, Northampton, Newport Pagnell, Toddington and London Gateway.
For United, fans have been allocated Knutsford, Keele, Hilton Park, Warwick, Cherwell Valley, Oxford and Beaconsfield.