The Carabao Cup is set to witness one the best atmospheres in the competition’s history when Manchester United and Newcastle United face off in the 2023 Final.
With a gate of approximately 86,000 expected at Wembley Stadium this Sunday, the number of people through the turnstiles for the competition in 2022/23 is set to top 1.5million – the highest cumulative attendances for over 20 years.
This campaign, Carabao Cup attendances are up 11% on last season as fans have flocked through the turnstiles to see their team take a step closer to the home of football.
Over 74,000 fans watched on at Old Trafford as Finalists Manchester United beat Charlton Athletic 3-0 to book their place in the Semi-Final of the competition. Around 9,000 travelling supporters made the trip to watch their team, the only EFL team remaining in the Carabao Cup, take on the Reds. Addicks boss Dean Holden took on his hometown team in front of the biggest crowd the competition has seen so far this season.
In 2022/23, Carabao Cup attendances at the conclusion of the Quarter-Final were at their highest since 2001/02; the 2000/01 League Cup edition was the last with two-legged ties in the first two rounds.
The combined attendance across the whole competition prior to the Semi-Final this season stands at 1,464,442 across the 92 fixtures played so far, averaging over 15,000 supporters per game.
Sunday’s showdown could mark the start of a new era for both teams involved. The showpiece marks the Magpies’ first appearance in a major Final since 1999 when the Toon fell to defeat against Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.
Legendary Magpies goalscorer Malcolm Macdonald, who featured in both the 1974 FA Cup Final and 1976 League Cup Final, is predicting an electric atmosphere a sold-out National Stadium come the weekend.
2022/23 was one not to be missed! 👊— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) February 23, 2023
👥 Carabao Cup attendances are up 11% on last season. 👏#EFL | #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/J6r3bhTCun
“For fans, the League Cup is the better Final to get to,” he said. “It gives a much greater number of supporters a wonderful day out at the Cup Final. It’s an occasion that everyone who is there, with no exceptions, will remember for the rest of their lives.
“This is such an occasion that really doesn’t exist in Premier League football. The atmosphere is going to be one of the best and most exciting atmospheres in the history of the League Cup.”
As for the Reds, Erik ten Hag could add to the Club’s silverware cabinet for the first time this season since his arrival at Ajax.
Five-time Premier League and Champions League winner Darren Fletcher, who lifted the trophy in 2010 with United, expressed just how much of an occasion it will be for the Club’s fanbase.
“A day at Wembley is a memory that so many people will remember for so many different reasons,” he added. “United have got amazing fans who travel all over the world to support the Club.
“Wembley is an amazing stadium and with 90,000 people in there, you definitely feel the size of it when you’re down on the pitch. These big moments are what you work so hard for and put those years of preparation in for. You’ve got to enjoy the occasions and give your all to make it a special day.”
No matter the outcome, it is certain to be a day to remember for Reds and Magpies supporters.
🏟️ With a gate of about 86,000 expected at Wembley this Sunday, the number of people through the turnstiles for the competition in 2022/23 is set to top 1.5million – the highest cumulative attendances for over 20 years. 👏#EFL | #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/JMmO8G1Lu5— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) February 23, 2023