It is not easy to find a fan that under no circumstances would have heard of the central sports arena of conservative England.
The real football Mecca, Wembley Stadium, under no circumstances belonged to any particular club — from the very moment of its creation, only home cups and finals of the country matches with the participation of the national team were held there.
Stepping onto the emerald lawn in north London was the pinnacle of the dreams of many famous performers, but not everyone was able to realize his childhood dream through strict selection parameters.
And the wonderful thing is that a couple of dozen lucky people who were finally lucky enough to drive the ball at Wembley immediately changed their own opinion about the stadium to a rapidly negative one. The flip side of the coin in the overall successful history of a well-known sports facility? Let’s try to figure it out…
Unsuccessful rematch Watkins
The distant 1889 was marked by the completion of the most visited architectural structure — the Paris Eiffel Tower. It was an extraordinary blow for English self-esteem — relations between the two countries were constantly accompanied by a firm struggle in different spheres.
At the same time, England planned to build an “answer” to the French in one of the parks of its own capital. That just didn’t “shoot” into the head of local architects, but there was definitely no project to create a football arena.
As a result, a special working group settled on the construction of a health and recreation park in a forgotten park with the title Wembley (with fountains, running tracks, lakes, cricket and golf courses), and the head of the English railway, Edward Watkins, promised to erect a huge tower on four pillars in the center of the complex.
350 meters high – the French with their creation had to “rest”. The park was put into operation soon enough, but Watkins’ plan was a “colossus on clay feet.” The foundation of the tower sank into the English alumina, the 60-meter “dolgostroy” scared tourists for almost fifteen years, until in 1907 it was compared with the horizon by a charge of dynamite.
The French on the other side of the English Channel were laughing loudly, the King of England was biting his elbows — that’s how Wembley began…
The inventive inhabitants of Foggy Albion found the use of huge “deposits” of cement underground after the end of the First World War.
In the first half of the 20s of the twentieth century, according to the project of Maxwell John and architects Simpson Ayrton, the “Empire Stadium” was built on the site of the destroyed tower in record time. Indeed, thousands of thousands of kilograms of metal beams and beams were added to the huge pit — the full construction cycle of the 78-thousandth arena took only three hundred days.
The world has not seen a similar architectural masterpiece yet. In order to somehow perpetuate themselves in creation, Maxwell and Simpson erected two 37-meter towers at the entrance: the signs “outlived” their own authors for as many as eighty years.
And the “Empire Stadium” lasted only a couple of months, because the English fans liked the version with the name of the park in which it was more. “Wembley” so “Wembley” — King George V reflected and festively opened the pride of the whole kingdom on April 28, 1924.
What the rival of the Eiffel Tower did not see in the first years of its own existence. There were dog-racing tracks and horse-racing here — only sailing regattas and ski battles were missing.
The first football confrontation was the FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham. Official statistics say that about 130 thousand spectators got into the stadium that evening, but eyewitnesses of those events were sure that no less than a quarter of a million ardent fans of the “game of millions” gathered at Wembley.
The excitement was so high that at a critical moment the masses could not fit in the stands and poured out onto the field together — there could be no question of a timely start of the match itself. The police got down to business: prancing on horses, the guards slightly pushed the people behind the sidelines of the field, and the players had to demonstrate their mastery of the ball in a noisy “live” corridor.
To demonstrate, it is still mildly reported — callously wiped off the face of the earth by the hooves of animals, the lawn at Wembley looked more like a plowed vegetable garden, which means it became pretty traumatic. Two hours later, the Cup was held over their heads by the guys from Bolton, but the two crippled triumphants were not euphoric: they were transported to the nearest military hospital on a stretcher.
Danger … from the middle
The condition of the grass surface at the main football stadium in England has become a real “Achilles’ heel” for him. agronomists and the best technicians have been working for years on the composition of the lawn, and it soon transformed into one of the bad ones on the continent. Fans with experience more and more actively recalled the “curse of Watkins”, the one over the ruins of whose tower Wembley was. But it was already unrealistic to take away that ill-fated foundation…
Any sports lawn is a real work of art. Without scrupulously selected varieties of grass, it is impossible to create perfect conditions for a spectacular competition.
It became even scary to perform at the famous stadium over time. The FA Cup finals were transformed into a terrible lottery: will everyone be lucky to finish before the final whistle, or will the crunch of bones prematurely end the career of one, two, three football players? The regulations of the oldest tournament in Europe did not provide for the replacement of field players, based on this, almost any final of the team was played in incomplete squads.
Jimmy Allen (1934, Portsmouth, head injury), Joe Carter (1936, West Brom, knee injury), Ray Daniel (1952, Arsenal, arm fracture), Jimmy Logie (1952, Arsenal, internal hemorrhage), Doug Lishman (1952, Arsenal, cleat thorn wound), Wally Barnes (1953, Arsenal, completion and leg fracture career ), Eric Bell (1953, Bolton, tendon rupture), Jimmy Meadows (1955, Manchester City), Bert Trautmann (1954, Manchester City, neck fracture), Ray Wood (1957, Manchester United, jaw fracture), Roy Dwight (1959, Nottingham Forest, leg fracture), Dave Whelan (1960, Blackburn, broken leg), Len Chalmers (1961, Leicester, knee injury), Jerry Bjorn (1965, Liverpool, broken collarbone)… Terrible statistics, as for the final matches at the same stadium.At the beginning of 1967, English football functionaries decided to put an end to heroism of this kind — in the final confrontation between Chelsea and Tottenham, one reserve player appeared in the applications of the teams. And, oh, grief – both were forced to replace crippled teammates.
The curse of Wembley wrote a terrible football story year after year — for seventy-six matches played at the stadium, injuries of varying severity took about forty athletes!
At the beginning of the XXI century, the sign of football England was wiped off the face of the earth by an army of excavators — just like the “Watkins Tower” more than a century ago. It is rumored that historians advised to remove a whole “cursed” foundation from under the destroyed arena… Since 2007, an ultramodern handsome stadium with 90 thousand seats has been built in a park in north London. We keep hoping that the “curse of Wembley” “new home” will be bypassed.