Wembley stadium has come under a lot of criticism recently, mainly due to the state of the pitch, which has disrupted play in the Carling Cup final and the recent FA Cup semi-finals held at the stadium. The last time I went to Wembley was for the England/Egypt game a month ago and while it is impressive, there are a few flaws with the place. Here are my top 5 worst things about it and the ones that have also been talked about in the media:
It is the most expensive stadium ever built
Costing £798 million and taking seven years to build, Wembley is the most expensive stadium ever. But you would think it would be perfect for that amount of money and built on schedule. Wembley was meant to be finished in 2003, then 2006 and was finally finished in March 2007. In comparison, the Emirates cost half as much (£390 million) and took about 18 months. So why did Wembley take so long?
The food prices
Around £8 for a burger, £7 for a chilli dog, £4 for a beer, the food isn’t value for money. There is a seafood restaurant on the premises at one can only imagine from their prices they are serving endangered species,
The state of the pitch
“The new Wembley is set to be a state-of the art venue offering fans and players an unmatchable experience and the playing surface will be its centre piece. The high-spec playing surface has been growing off-site at a secret location in England whilst the stadium and the pitch has been under construction.” That was the Press Release on 12 June 2006 from Wembley Stadium.
How things change. Harry Redknapp, whose team lost against Portsmouth at the stadium last Sunday, labeled the pitch a “disgrace”.
“We accept and understand the frustrations around the standard of the pitch at the FA Cup semi-finals. The problems faced on Saturday were due to the way the surface was prepared and the measures used overnight were unable to resolve the situation sufficiently for Sunday. There is a unique challenge with the surface at Wembley and we are working with expert pitch consultants to get it right.”
Eleventh time lucky, chaps.
Holding semi-finals at Wembley
For me, I think it devalues the competition a bit to play the semi-finals at Wembley and takes away a bit of the magic in the FA Cup final. The FA are obviously trying to exploit the competition by making a bit more money and it does give the smaller clubs a chance to play at Wembley, but I believe the history of the FA Cup should be valued and play the semi-final at a neutral ground that isn’t Wembley.
Ticket prices – got a few grand going spare?
For the normal seats, the prices are not overly bad and are no more expensive than at other stadiums. It’s just the best seats that cost a fortune, as Wembley loves the corporate market. If you want a corporate box, prepare to pay £81,000 a year or a Club Wembley Package in the Bobby Moore club will set you back nearly £6,800 a year.