THE Challenge Cup Final is something sacred.

As Warrington fans, we have been spoiled in recent years, five finals since 2009, winning on three glorious occasions.

It is an occasion players and coaches dream of, look at the haunted faces of the Wire players at the hooter on Saturday and it was clear what this meant.

And while there was heartbreak on the pitch, I was almost as disappointed by what I watched off the pitch.

As soon as Catalans defeated Saints in the semi-final, it was going to be difficult to fill the National Stadium.

In fact the French side did well to get as many as 5,000 there while Warrington's estimated total of between 15,000 and 20,000 fans was similar to those who saw the defeat to Hull two years ago.

But the reality is only 50,672 people were at Wembley, the lowest post Second World War total.

The upper bowl was closed while the lower was by no means full.

The upper bowl was closed

And this has been a trend with 68,525 watching last year and the only sell-out since the final returned to Wembley in 2007 being Warrington's defeat of Leeds in 2010.

It presented a poor picture of the game on its biggest national stage.

How did the RFL attempt to fix things on Saturday? By launching a fire sale with tickets on Groupon available for £15 and people who bought tickets in the upper bowl being moved to the lower.

In short, loyal Warrington fans who spend hundreds watching their side each year bought lower bowl tickets for £50 and were sat in the same seats as people who paid £35 less.

What sort of incentive is this from the RFL to the people who are the lifeblood of the great game? And why buy early for next year? Just wait for the Groupon tickets to come out.

If they knew they would have to discount the tickets, why not delay the start of sales for a day so everyone was paying the same? Or offer Warrington fans a discount for next season.

The RFL have done some good things this season, the semi-final double header at Bolton for example being a great success.

But the sad fact is the move to August bank holiday has been a failure and it needs to be addressed or soon the Challenge Cup Final will be moved to the Etihad or Coventry. And then the romance of the cup will truly be dead.

It is not time to turn off the life support yet, and the wonderful atmosphere created by the Warrington fans show how much success at Wembley means.

But unless this competition is moved back to a May or June final and unless the RFL starts treating its supporters better, it will fall into a critical condition pretty soon.