Football may be dead but just bear with me a second. Things have changed quite a bit since football became more about business and less about passion. Okay. You can disagree with me. But the truth is that I can’t get over that Germany 7-1 Brazil. It’s still traumatising.
Oh well, the good news is that football is also nostalgic when tells its history. So, why not start from scratch by paying a visit to the majestic Wembley Stadium? Actually, the word ‘majestic’ does do justice when we talk about this temple of football.
The “new” Wembley was finished in 2007, replacing the “old” legendary Wembley which was demolished in 2003. With a capacity of 90,000 seats spread over three tiers, the most famous football pitch is annually the stage for FA Cup finals, important friendly international matches, and of course, it’s the home of the England squad.
When there is no football on, Wembley also holds music concerts and special events such as the 2012 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, of course.
Anybody interesting in football (or not) should visit this gigantic stadium because it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in London and possibly in the world. The guided tour of Wembley costs £20 (adults), and £12 (children –child under 5 –free) and it takes only 30 minutes to visit it from top to bottom.
I have visited Wembley a couple of years ago and I can recommend this guided tour, especially for families. It has so much to be seen and wow, kids will love the idea of touching the FA Cup.
The experience starts already outside with the stunning view of the stadium and its iconic arch, besides the statue of Bobby Moore.
This legendary footballer is considered one of the best defenders of world class football and he is also a member of the world team of the 20th century. Nobody could better represent the sport in England than him.
But much more history was waiting for us inside the stadium because Wembley is enormous. Literally gigantic, in facts and figures.
It was quite funny when the tour guide, a very sympathetic Liverpool fan, warned me about the fact that “Brazil can have 5 World Cups but Wembley has 2.618 toilets. Beat that”.
Let’s be honest, it’s really an impressive number.
There is another curious fact about Wembley facilities as well. I was quite impressed with the number of hair dryers available in the facilities too. It’s not by chance that most footballers nowadays have a bit of metrosexual appeal. The changing rooms look more like spa rooms. They’re comfortable and modern as anyone could imagine. Wembley style!
The English squad and any team invited to play at Wembley have a royal treatment indeed leaving no excuses for a bad performance on the pitch. Just saying!
From the toilets to the conference room and the changing rooms, everything in Wembley is in large proportions. But it’s just when you take a seat in the stadium that it’s possible to realise how impressive this temple of football is. Wembley has a circumference of 1km. It’s a lot of rows to walk around.
Unfortunately, the grass on the pitch was being replaced because there was a U2 concert the week I visited it and the pitch was damaged. Gutted!
Sitting comfortably in Wembley’s seats for a few minutes, it was time to be educated about the history of the stadium itself. It was a moment to contemplate this gigantic piece of engineering with particularities such as the design of the sliding roof. The roof is amazing and very useful when dealing with the (crap) UK weather.
But the best moment of the tour is yet to come when you get closer to the FA Cup itself. It’s possible to take a photo next to the iconic piece that represents the oldest football tournament in the world. It’s certainly a great moment for any fan of the sport.
Another great moment would be seeing the Oasis gig at Wembley in 2000. But never mind, you can’t have everything in life! ;o)
Besides the facilities already mentioned, the stadium has 34 bars, 8 restaurants, and 688 food and drink service points. Blimey! And the souvenir shop is also a must-see point. Children will not resist it.
The tour of Wembley is certainly a unique experience and it should be on the bucket list of people visiting London. I can’t wait to visit the temple of football again!