Is there more to the FA Cup than Football?

Posted on May 28th, 2015 by

In my household, there is one avid football fan, two of us who really couldn’t care less what shape the ball is or what colour shirt gets it in the net, and a non-committal dog. However when it comes to the FA Cup final, the household stops; the television is locked to that channel (democracy has no place on that day), and we all watch it to the end – whether willingly or not!

I suspect we are not the only household where this is the case, and as I was contemplating what I could do to make the time pass more quickly this coming Saturday afternoon (ideas included watching paint dry, watching grass grow etc) I was struck by a thought. Just what is the impact of this event?

I dug about on the internet for some numbers and came up with some stats posted about the 2004 event when Cardiff hosted the FA Cup, courtesy of ScienceDaily. Applying some match-box calculations to the numbers they quoted, and making some assumptions about a capacity stadium this year and demand being constant per person, I have arrived at the following:

There will be 90,000 people watching the game live in the stadium; they will consume between them

  • 456,165 pints of beer/lager
  • 46,850 pasties
  • 33,288 sandwiches
  • 29,590 portions of chips
  • 16,028 beefburgers.

Let’s delve deeper into that….

456,165 pints of beer/lager is 259,221 litres: assuming it weighs the same as water (it being the largest component) this is nearly 260 tonnes. If it were transported in a liquid tanker with max capacity 24T (24,000 L) it would take 11 tankers (on mathematics alone; tankers are not my specialty, although I have several SpringTide colleagues with the requisite expertise!).  Another image – it would fill an Olympic size swimming pool to a depth of 22cm. One can also take these musings to their natural conclusion and provide that same impact on the sewerage system eventually, but let’s not dwell on that…

Pasty & pint

Let’s turn our attention to pasties then. According to the Food Standard Agency food portion sizes, the average medium pasty weighs 155g. The pasties themselves, packaged and boxed, would fill a class 3 small truck based on the total weight of 7.2T net of packaging. In terms of raw materials, and basing it on a home-made recipe and just for fun, this many pasties would be formed from 3.5T raw minced beef, 1.8T butter, 3.9T flour, 1.2T onions, 1.4T potatoes, and 0.5T swede (rutabaga).

Sandwiches. Now here assumptions get a little tricky. A quick straw poll in the office showed a preference of cheese & pickle (42%), egg (17%); chicken salad (25%), plain ham, and ham with salad (8% each).

For ease I am going to assume one type of bread; medium thickness slices, and a quick Google has provided a median average slices per loaf excluding crusts equals 16. I am also going to assume that one sandwich equals one round made with two slices of bread.

Basing quantities on my home-made equivalent, to make the sandwiches we would need: 4,161 loaves of bread; 5,548 slices of ham, 222kg of salad which is about 1,110 bags of salad (at 200g per bag); 400 jars of pickle (520g per jar); 694kg cheese; 3,699 eggs; and just over 540kg of sliced chicken. I doubt these will have actually been purchased in these “household quantities” but I am trying to put a picture on it for us all.

An article by the Federation of Fish Friers provides an average portion of chips weighs 10oz (approximately 280g) so nearly 8.5 tonnes of chips were consumed on the day which would have presumably come from a similar amount of raw potatoes. I would NOT want to be peeling those!

Finally, referring back to the Food Standard Agency food portion sizes for a benchmark beef burger: 56g raw, 34g cooked. This equates to 898kg of raw mince, on top of the 3.5T used earlier for the pasties, which makes it a seriously bad day for cows. Add in the 16,028 burger buns and probably several litres of mayonnaise, ketchup, brown sauce, vinegar and copious amounts of salt, and we have our estimate of food used on the day. I think you will agree, the consumption is mind boggling!


On the same day this year, Hampden Park, Glasgow is hosting the Scottish FA Cup Final and it’s the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015 at Twickenham too. We could probably allow roughly the same amounts of food and drink all over again for each of those events…..

So we have the actual transport of raw materials through to production and thereafter as finished goods to the various kiosks and stalls; the storage of the same; the coins and notes which will change hands paying for it which will all impact on local banks, the electricity and fuel used to cook and keep warm on the day and the volume of packaging which I won’t even guess at!

Then you have the small matter of 172,000 people descending on London (assuming Twickenham is full to capacity as well) so the associated cars and coaches on the Capital’s already congested roads, additional demands on Transport for London, whilst at the other end of the UK 52,000 people will be descending on Glasgow.

Then there is the increased pressure National Grid as various households watch their sport of choice, and the “home” beers and snacks that are bought in to consume during the watching of the games.  And it’s not just the UK – half a billion people globally watched the FA Cup final in 2013, so not just our National Grid taking a battering!

The procurement choices being made – whether by household or at corporate level; logistics and HR decisions involved in the passenger and freight transport; the picking, packing and unpacking then the kiosk layout. The fuel (various media) consumed, the sterling used, the forecasting (how many do we think we will need vs how many sell); the waste afterwards and the recycling (hopefully) being collected and processed.

Goodness me, I almost forgot – I haven’t picked a team yet! Or my memorabilia shirt, badge and woolly hat…. Best get a move on! Who’s playing again???

I think you will agree, there is DEFINITELY more to the FA Cup than just football 😉

FA Cup