I feel somewhat obliged to post an entry in this journal on this topic. Wembley Stadium is just around the corner from where I live - and was once described by the legendary soccer superstar Pele as “the curch of football”. The famous Wembley Stadium as we used to know it is an inspiration and place of pilgrimage for many a die-hard fan of football.
When it first opened it was known as the Empire Stadium - the centre-piece of the British Empire Exhibition of 1924. It played host to its first ever event a year earlier in 1923: The FA Cup final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United - to an unimaginable, packed crowd of around 200,000 spectators! The Olympics were centred there in 1948 - and of, course, Bobby Moore of the England football team in its undoubtedly greatest moment, proudly held the World Cup aloft here on 30th July 1966. Since then - many legendary rock bands and pop artists have played here - including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, U2, Rolling Stones, The Eagles, the Three Tenors (Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti), Tina Turner, Amitabh Bacchan and Bryan Adams - not to mention the world famous and historical “Live Aid”, “free Nelson Mandela” and Freddie Mercury tribute concerts - all of which have graced this most historical of entertainment venues in recent years.
The original stadium (which was once surrounded by glorious lakes) evolved over the years to form the heart of a decrepid industrial and retail-park estate, incorporating exhibition centres and the Wembley Arena conference facility as well as the Sunday Market alongside MFI, CarpetWorld and other home furniture stores.
Click here for a Shockwave historical timeline of the legendary, old Wembley Stadium.
And so the story continues: In 2002 the famous stadium was demolished to make way for a brand new 21st century stadium. And ever since, practically every day, I have observed the skyline from the top-deck of the Route 79 bus on my way to work in the mornings. The new stadium is being hailed as being “the best in the world” - and will form a dazzlingly impressive addition to the skyline of North West London - which will apparently be visible from miles around - even Central London!
Well - to record some history in the making right here in blogdom: here is the view of the stadium site under construction as taken at the weekend by moi using my digital camera:
This cluster of cranes have become a permanent feature of the NW London skyline - and I have also noticed that they are clearly visible from the top floor of my office in Hammersmith too! I am intrigued by the sheer enormity of the concrete towers that appear to define the shape of the future stadium - and I am really looking forward to seeing the structure taking shape over the coming months. I am also kind of glad in a way that the new stadium will play a part in the proposed London Olympic 2012 bid - as I simply cannot imagine East London taking 100% of the glory of this most prestigious of events. (Sorry Diamond Geezer - but Wembley is the true home of the Olympics - Stratford is simply a politically-correct excuse for urban regeneration! :-) )
Here is a closer view of those massive concrete structures forming the outline of the new stadium: