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Wembley Stadium

From Academic Kids

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Old Wembley Stadium
(1923-2000)
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New Wembley Stadium
(2006)
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Old Wembley Stadium from the pitch
(1923-2000)
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Wembley Stadium redevelopment as of 4th March, 2005.
Computer generated image of New Wembley Stadium(2006)
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Computer generated image of New Wembley Stadium
(2006)

Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London, England, which is currently being rebuilt. It stands opposite Wembley Arena.

The Wembley Stadium is one of the world's most famous football stadia, being the English national football ground since 1923.

Originally known as the Empire Stadium, it was built for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, on the former site of Watkins' Tower. Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayrton were the architects and Sir Owen Williams was the Head Engineer. The stadium's distinctive Twin Towers became its trademark. Also well-known were the thirty nine steps needed to be climbed to reach the Royal box and collect a trophy (and winners/losers medals).

It was first opened to the public on 28 April 1923. The Stadium's first turf was cut by King George V. In 1934 the Empire Pool was built.

Contents

Football

The first event held at the stadium was the FA Cup final of 1923 between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. This is known as the White Horse Final. With an official maximum capacity of 127,000, the attendance was quoted as 126,947 but up to 200,000 people are thought to have squeezed in. It was thought that the match would be postponed until mounted police, including Police Constable George Scorey and his white horse, Billie, slowly pushed the masses back to the sides of the field of play for the FA Cup Final to start.

The FA Cup final was played there every year in May (outside wartime) until 2000. It was also the venue for Finals of the FA Amateur Cup, League Cup, Associate Members' Cup and the Football League promotion play-offs.

As the home of the English national football team, in 1966 it was the leading venue of the World Cup and hosted the final game.

In all, it has hosted 5 European Cup finals, including the 1963 final between AC Milan and Benfica, and the 1968 final between Manchester United and Benfica. In 1971 it again hosted the final, between Ajax and Panathinaikos, and once more in 1978, this time between Liverpool and Club Brugge. The last such occasion was in 1992, when Barcelona played Sampdoria. The FA unsuccessfully bid for the redeveloped Wembley to host the 2007 final.

In 1996 it hosted the final of Template:Ec, as well as all of England's matches in that tournament.

Of Wembley Stadium, Pelé said "Wembley is the church of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football" in recognition of its status as the world's most well-known football stadium.

Other sports

Wembley was the main athletics venue for the 1948 Summer Olympics, with Fanny Blankers-Koen and Emil Zátopek among the notable winners.

In the sport of rugby league, the RFL has held its Challenge Cup final at Wembley from 1929 onwards, an event often seen as a big day out for a sport whose heartland is in the north of England. The stadium was also regularly used by the sport for major international matches, such as Great Britain versus Australia. The first Ashes test of 1994 is particularly well remembered by rugby league supporters.

In rugby union, Wales played its Five Nations home matches at Wembley while Cardiff Arms Park was being rebuilt into the Millennium Stadium in the 1990s.

The National Football League held several preseason football games at Wembley during the 1980s and 1990s, and the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football played at the venue in 1991 and 1992. Wembley hosted the inaugural World Bowl where the Monarchs defeated the Barcelona Dragons 21-0.

As well as special events, Wembley was also a venue for regular sporting fixtures, notably in greyhound racing and motorcycle speedway. Wembley's owner's refusal to cancel the regular greyhound racing meant that the match between Uruguay and France in the 1966 World Cup was played at White City.

In 1992, the WWF (now WWE) drew 80,355 when Summerslam was held.

Music

Wembley Stadium became a musical venue in 1972 with an all-star rock 'n' roll concert.

The British leg of Live Aid was held there on 13 July 1985 which featured such acts as U2, Queen, Paul McCartney, and a reunion of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin.

Queen held a huge concert in 1986 and the Freddie Mercury Tribute was also held there in 1992.

The Nelson Mandela tribute concert was performed in 1988.

Redevelopment

The stadium closed in 2000 for redevelopment, but a string of financial and political difficulties delayed the work for over two years. The new National Stadium is currently under construction, at a 2003 estimated cost of £757 million, and is now scheduled to open May 13, 2006 with that year's FA Cup Final. The new design is for an all-seated capacity of 90,000 protected from the elements by a sliding roof. The stadium's signature feature will be a circular section 7 metre internal diameter steelwork lattice arch with a 315 metre span, erected some 22° off true, and rising to 133 metres tall. The arch was raised for the first time during construction of the Stadium in June 2004.

A short documentary of its redevelopment can be found on the Queen Live at Wembley 1986 DVD. The reconstruction of the stadium is part of the wider Regeneration of Wembley.

External Links

fr:Wembley Stadium he:אצטדיון וומבלי nl:Wembley no:Wembley stadion fi:Wembley Stadium

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