Posted: 5/14/2007
Title: UNDERNEATH THE ARCH

Blog:                                                                                                                         

     It's new, its big, it has more toilets than any other building in the world, and its British. It is topped by a 'TIARA' or giant arch, to replace the famous twin towers. THIS IS WEMBLEY. Its finally open and I went to the first ever Final there, the F.A. CARLSBERG TROPHY, between Kidderminster Harriers in the West Midlands, and Stevenage Borough , from an hour or less north of Wembley.

    Next Saturday there will be 90,000 for Chelsea vs Manchester United at the FA Cup Final, but this afternoon a record crowd for such a match, of 54,000 was present for clubs than would be happy with 3,000 for their league matches.   'Meet me at the Bobby Moore statue', I said to a friend, but the stadium was so bland that this statue, unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton the day before, is the only distingtive landmark, so EVERYBODY was meeting there. Its at a  majestic position at the head of Olympic Way from Wembley Park station, where The Metropolitan Line Tube goes into London. My last visit to the Old Wembely was at the 1996 European Championships where England beat Scotland, again, and Paul GAZZA  Gascoine scored a wonder goal.   I was also there on THAT DAY in 1966 when the Charlton Brothers, Banks, Ball, Hurst, Stiles  etc. beat Franz Beckenbauer and the West Germany 4-2 to lift the World Cup.   Today we had both teams and supporters in red. with names that were and probably won't be household names, but it is THE PEOPLE'S STADIUM.

    Remind yourself, DON'T EAT THERE. Food is expensive and not very exciting, like the stadium itself. They should visit the stadiums in Philadelphia, Houston's Reliance Stadium, and Arlington's Ameriquest Field for a menu overhaul. I told a couple of Wembley officials, who were asking for comments, that its no use having all those toilets inside, when they have thousands outside arriving early, as instructed, to find the gates are not yet open.  The Old Wembley and Olympic Way stank of urine as the great unwashed relieved themselves. This might happen again when the herds from West London and Manchester descend upon it.. The match was quite exciting with the Harriers, The RED ARMY scoring 2 early goals from James Constable only to see the BARMY ARMY from Stevenage reply 3 times for a thrilling finish.

   There were no trash cans outside or inside-perhaps they are afraid of terrorist bombs, and cleaners were picking up litter quite fast. However, I remember at France 98 with the same threats they had shallow cardboard boxes which could only take 1 layer of easily-seen trash. so that drinks, cans, sandwich wrappers don't look unsightly,.ALSO, those famous mounted police, with horses that are NOT potty trained. I suggest a policeman, with at least the rank of inspector, should be assigned to scoop it up for the Buckingham Palace vegetable garden!!  They also need free ICE COLD water fountains as found in US stadiums, and there needs to be some bas relief  commemorative artwork around the stadium with scenes from great moments at the old Wembley.  The stadium is designated as public transport easy access, with very few parking spaces for cars and some for buses, but unlike stadiums in other cities there is no greenery or parkland surrounding it for picnics. Perhaps they can roof over the car park and grass it for the fans to sit and wait before opening time.With a meat pie at 6.00 ($13.00) eat first or take in sandwiches-they don't check for that.

  I complemented Housekeeping Team Lady No. 448  for her efforts in picking up trash almost as soon as it was dropped, but she could do nothing about the 2 pigeons that flew in and did there business on some unoccupied red seats,. In fact 600 seats had to be replaced after they had faded after only a few weeks, and part of the roof leaked and some fans had to be relocated.  I inspected and used the new rest rooms and they are much better than France '98 where there were lots of Turkish style squat toilets at Stade de France, Marseille etc.   If you wanted souvenirs, the choice was dreadful, with a poorly thought out Wembley logo as bland as its surroundings and not even a postcard of the stadium for sale which would have sold in their thousands.

   Anyway, it open for business with lots of events from soccer to rugby league to pop concerts and my suggestion there is NEVER to invite Scotland there to play England since they tend to wreck and rampage after they get over the border, but are well behaved traveling elsewhere in Europe.

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