When you talk about any league in the world the English Premier League always lands the big number 1 spot every time. Some people like La Liga, some people like the Italian league, but when it comes down to it there’s no more competitive league than the English league. There’s no better history than the home of football. That’s where we were going today, Wembley; the home of football. When I think about the start of the season I think about two games that gets my blood going again, gets my voice yelling, and gets my passion started. Firstly it’s the Community Shield the second is the actually league opener. Today we were off to the Community Shield. The significance of this trophy is it’s the first major trophy of the season and it means that its only one week away from the start of the EPL (English Premier League). For those of you that don’t know it’s a one cup final and you get there by either winning the year previously or winning the FA Cup final. Last years league winners Manchester United were playing surprise winners of the FA Cup Wigan Athletic.
Wembley is a different stadium than we’ll see on this whole tour of stadium. It’s different because in that it’t not home to a club team. Wembley’s significance to English football could be a blog within itself. However, I’ll just tell you that Wembley is run by the English Football Association and is home to England football team and hosts some of the biggest finals of English Football including the FA Cup and League Cup. In the last 3 years Wembley have hosted the European Champions League twice as well. It also hosts many concerts and lastly the Community Shield, previously referred to as the Charity Shield. When I say that it’s been the home of football, I mean that the old Wembley was home to some amazing football and even where England has won there only World Cup win. It was around from 1923 to 2000 then they tore it down and was replaced with the stadium that we see now.
When we got to the stadium it was incredible. We walked out of the train station with hundreds of Manchester United supporters. They definitely out numbered the Wigan Athletic supporters and when we got there it was incredible. People were lining up waiting for the players to arrive. I got to interview a top Manchester United supporter who told me that last season he went to the Real Madrid game and watched Danny Welbeck score that amazing goal. This is what true fans are made of. We’ve been talking a lot about these superficial fans and I think between Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United you have to have the most stereotypical superficial fans. What I mean by that is, that you don’t think about any of these teams actually having true fans, but when we go to Old Trafford home of Manchester United I hope to find some more true fans. We watched the game and I don’t want to make this a Manchester United vs Wigan Athletic blog because it’s really about the stadium. In this regard I just want to talk about the atmosphere and it was really good. We’ve talked to a lot of tour guides and they always say it’s much better to go to a game and live that match day experience and its so true. There were about 80,000 supporters and I don’t even know how these players move their legs while everyone is watching them. I don’t care how much you get paid these players do get nervous and how there able to do the things they do is truly amazing. Manchester United were expected to win and they did 2-0 with two goals by last year’s top goal scorer of the year, Robin van Persie. Check out the pictures I think sometimes pictures speak louder than words and the comments we’ve been getting on these pictures speaks volumes. It was an incredible atmosphere and just to be in Wembley with a packed stadium is something every fan dreams of and we were able to witness some history and I’m glad we got to see this game.
The next day we were off to Wembley again. We are really lucky. When arriving at the stadium the key statue that is at the main entrance and built within the history of the history of English football and the history of Wembley, is a statue of the great Bobby Moore himself. For those of you that don’t know he was the captain of England when they won the World Cup back in 1966. We noticed that the majority of everything that was up for the final yesterday was gone and replaced with England posters for the next upcoming game in 4 days time. England vs Scotland.
We were going to Wembley to have a tour of the famous stadium. When we got there we knew we were getting a VIP tour, but we’d been to them before and there were still several of people on them. However, when we got there we were treated like true VIP’s we arrived 30 minutes early and we were greeted by our tour guide and he informed us that he’d be taking just the two of us on the tour! It was truly one of the best tours we’ll go on, on this trip. He gave us amazing amounts of information, took us on the tour even to where the queen or prince’s would watch the games. It was truly an amazing tour and for only 15 pounds more we ended up getting gifts that were worth more than 15 pounds.
These are just some of the facts that he told us. I could only write so fast on my little phone.
When people remember the old Wembley stadium they think of the twin towers. It’s the most memorable part of the stadium for me anyways. The architectures that built the new stadium tried there very best to incorporate them into the new stadium but after many years of trying they just couldn’t figure out a way to do it. But they know that history is a vital importance and relevance to this storied stadium. What they ended up doing was tearing the twin towers down and taking the rubble from the old twin towers and putting the rubble under the pitch then covered by sand then soil. This way a part of history and a part of the old Wembley will always be with us.
9,000 pounds per year – Bobby Moore restaurant
Old Wembley cost 500,000 pounds
129,000 pound profit-1948 Olympics
A private box costs 250,000 pounds per year.
Cheapest can cost 40,000. This was really interesting because we’ve seen less modernized stadiums with a lot more expensive boxes.
Wembley is the Largest undercover stadium in Europe. Technically the Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe but not everyone is covered so they like to call it the Largest undercover stadium.
1st tier can hold 34,000 people
2nd tier can hold 17,000 people
3rd tier can hold 39,000 people
Roof is closed for games/events for fans but after and prior to the events and during tours and such it opens for sunlight to get onto the pitch.
Pitch was changed 12 times in 3 years but now they have a dezo system and haven’t changed it in 3 years so problem solved. This was due to the fact that people and concert sets would be on the grass and ruining it as well as not enough sunlight.
Wembley is home to 2618 toilets more than any other building in the world.
The English FA aim to pay off new stadium by 2025. It cost them 750 million pounds initially to build Wembley and since they’ve had there problems with the pitch so it’s cost them much more but now everything is on track.
Wembley hosts 9 major restaurants and lots more small ones in the stadium itself.
The FA Cup – oldest cup in England and Manchester United won it the most times. 11 times. This cup is now always hosted at Wembley as it was in the old stadium during its demolition they had to host the final at another stadium in England.
In 1966 Wembley hosted the World Cup and our tour guide was there and for 11 games he got to go for 4 pounds and 20 pence. Final game cost 50 pence.
“Wembley is the church of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football” Pele
This stadium is appealing to us because of the history this place holds for England and other stars around the world. It won’t have the gritty feel of a place like Dortmund or it won’t have a packed crowd every weekend where people can call home every weekend. Although you could suggest that this place could be called for anyone English. This place brings you to the modernized version of a stadium that resembles history, memorable finals, and yet a neutral place. It changed in 4 days from the final of the community shield to and England vs Scotland friendly. If anything this place gives every fan around the world something positive to remember. For the English they could remember that they won their only world cup here. For the Bavarians they can remember they won the Champions League here.
For players, coaches, and fans this can be the best or worst place in the world. Our guide told us two stories. I’ll start with the positive one. He told us of the atmosphere during the 1966 final and how he was in the terrace and how he was swaying back and forth and when England won it everyone in the stadium the atmosphere is one that he will never forget. The other story he told us was when England only had to draw against Croatia to qualify for Euro 2008 at Wembley. Steve McClaren was the head coach and the whole nation rested on his shoulders. The game finished 3-2 Croatia and England failed to qualify consequently for Euro 2008. Now if anyone has heard about how harsh the news reporters are here in England they had no idea how bad they were after that game. Usually the news room can hold 90 reporters and it usually takes about 20-30 minutes post game because a couple of reporters get there comments quick and then leave to send of for printing. However, after this game they called ahead and said cancel my column I’m getting every bit of information from this. The post game interview with the coach was 110 minutes longer than the actual game itself and apparently our tour guide said they ripped him apart and for those of you who know English football he was sacked the next day.
What Eric has helped me realize is that Wembley is a mission, a goal, a journey for most fans especially English fans for even the club teams. As you may know, England has 4 divisions of football the English Premier League being the top division. The league cup and the FA Cup gives teams like Scunthorpe a chance, a dream from players to coaches to fans, the possibility of Wembley. Wembley is a day out. Going out with your dad for your first match at your local team’s ground is a special day but after that it’s a special day but then it becomes your second home. Whenever you go to Wembley it means the world to the players, coaches and fans. It means that you’ve done something right, whether you have as a player done enough for your team to go to the finals, or you have played well enough to represent your country if your English or your country is playing England usually. As a fan it means getting to look at one of the most memorable stadiums with new modernized architecture that will be something you will never forget. These dreams do come true as the FA Cup and League cup give these lower club teams the chance to play at some top clubs grounds and if there really lucky maybe the goal to play at Wembley.
We’ve had an wonderful time touring this incredible stadium and to think the luck were having so far is unbelievable really with VIP tours and watching the community shield.
I’m doing the Liverpool part of our journey a bit different so you’ll have to wait for that blog till the end of the trip. But in regards to this part of the journey next stop for us is Liverpool vs Stoke City. But my next blog will probably be on Manchester City vs Newcastle. What a cracking game that was. Stay tuned for more. Also just to add what Eric said on facebook. Unfortunately with all the amazing editing he’s been doing he’s been unable to continuing his blog but I’m sure he’ll keep you posted on his views of his trip after the trip is over. Our blogs really complement each other well so when he posts his blog after the trip read mine again because they really do work together well.