Ferguson no fan of Wembley semis

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Sir Alex Ferguson is not a fan of using Wembley as an FA Cup semi-final venue.

The Manchester United manager has never lost at this stage of the competition and is hoping to maintain his 100% record on Sunday when his team tackle Everton, but his memories of 1994 - when the Red Devils drew with Oldham at Wembley thanks to Mark Hughes' memorable last-gasp equaliser - are not particularly fond.

"The FA have obviously got to pay off Wembley, which is the reason the game is down there," said Ferguson. "With so many games there already you can understand why they utilise it for semi-finals as well. But it is hard when the final is there as well."

He added: "Getting to the final should be the reward and the incentive for every footballer in the game. At one stage you could only play at Wembley by reaching the FA Cup final.

"We didn't have play-offs or anything. It lost that real feeling of getting to the top of the tree by reaching Wembley."

Unquestionably, Villa Park stands out as Ferguson's favourite semi-final venue. It is where United have won five of their eight semi-finals under Ferguson's command, including the epic 1999 replay against Arsenal, settled by Ryan Giggs' wonder goal.

In addition, two replay wins against Oldham came at Manchester City's old ground Maine Road, with Newcastle beaten in an embarrassingly one-sided effort at the Millennium Stadium in 2005.

"I have always thought semi-final day at Villa Park was a fantastic occasion. The atmosphere is brilliant," said Ferguson.

"This will be the second time we have been to Wembley and I do remember that Oldham match was not a particularly good game. They don't have Manchester United's support and could not bring the numbers."

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Ryan Giggs
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Manchester United
Oldham Athletic
Mark Hughes
FA Cup

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