Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love my football. Addicted to the game, so I am. And Liverpool and England are the teams for me. I guess Cruz Azul too, when I’m in Mexico. But there’s only ever been one stadium I truly loved, and that was the old Wembley stadium, until they knocked it down in 2001 to make room for the new Wembley.
I went to see more games at the old Wembley than I did any other stadium. Mostly England matches, but one Charity Shield too, and in the late 80’s (1988 if I remember rightly) I went to see a weekend footy tournament that was to celebrate the centenary of the English Football League. I arrived a little late, but just in time to see Liverpool leave the field having been knocked out by Fulham.
The new Wembley opened for business, finally, in 2007. So, seeing as I’d been living in Mexico since 2005, I’d never had the chance to go see it. Till now of course. This post had to be leading somewhere, right?
First impressions? The weather sucked. Grey skies, cold wind. As per usual. So maybe they could have given the stadium a little more colour to help it stand out. A little less green glass and white paint, and a little more red and blue perhaps. But I’d be missing the point. When a game is on, the lights on the arch come on, a hundred thousand people turn up wearing a rainbow of colours, hundreds of stalls open and the place comes to life! I just happened to stroll past whilst it snoozed….
It is a hugely impressive building. It’s not like any stadium I’ve seen before. It’s truly a world class, 21st century stadium. And it’s &$@%ing massive! Really, really massive. As you would expect given all the stadium records it has broken. I went to the Mighty Azteca just a few weeks earlier and was impressed with the scale of that. Next time I look at the Azteca it will be with different eyes. That monument of Mexican pride will look a whole load smaller.
But. Wembley needs a World Cup, not just to justify it’s $1.5 billion price tag, but to give it the chance at hosting a historic event, which it truly deserves. The bid is in for England to host the 2018 World Cup, so cross fingers….