The 2022 FA Youth Cup final is set to attract the biggest crowd of the season in England outside of games at Wembley and Manchester United’s home matches. Wednesday’s match between Manchester United Under-18s and Nottingham Forest’s youngsters will be staged at Old Trafford and 59,500 tickets were purchased by noon on Saturday, including 5,200 to Forest fans. Their supporters haven’t visited Old Trafford since 1999.
United have sold 10,000 tickets in the last two days as the crowd nudges towards their stadium’s 73,000 capacity. The gate is set to beat the 60,356 which attended the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in October, the 60,223 crowd which witnessed Arsenal against Manchester United two weeks ago and 59,958 which saw West Ham’s highest league crowd of the season – also against Manchester United.
Tickets cost just £1 to see Travis Binnion’s side and all proceeds are going towards United’s charitable foundation. United have won the competition a record 10 times, including the first five competitions in the 1950s, with Chelsea lifting the trophy nine times.
Chelsea, who Forest beat in a dramatic semi-final in Nottingham, have been the pre-eminent force in English youth football in the last decade, while United have not won the Youth Cup since 2011 – that two-legged final was watched by 29,977 in Sheffield and 24,916 at Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, who are both set to leave United this summer, played in that game, while Harry Maguire featured for Sheffield United.
A home crowd of 24,347 watched United lose to Liverpool in the 2007 final, while there were 19,518 at Anfield. United’s success at Old Trafford against Middlesbrough in the 2003 final second leg was watched by 14,849.
In 1995, 3,503 watched Tottenham in the final against United, with a crowd of 20,190 in the second leg as United won the cup.
United’s famous class of ‘92 final attracted a crowd of 14,681 to Old Trafford for the second leg of their final against Crystal Palace which featured David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Keith Gillespie, Ben Thornley and Robbie Savage, while crowds of 30,562 and 31,037 saw both legs of the 1993 final between Manchester United and the victorious Leeds United.