Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Stadium Review #22 - Wembley

Ground Information: Wembley Stadium Capacity 90,000

Appearance: Certainly impressive, rising up on the horizon along Olympic [Wembley] Way and perched in its lofty position makes you feel very small. The iconic arch can be seem from miles around. Externally the stadium is clad in silver panels with vast windows and sweeping curves, but marred by the stark concrete surroundings of the walkways and car parks, and the continuing construction work. Internally the concourses are of airport proportion, huge cavernous corridors with outlets lining both sides. The seating area is huge but 'cosy', the height and closeness of the tiers make the wrap round sides draw in. The size of the stadium is confirmed when supporters the other side look as small as ants. Being a new ground, the whole place is 'clean' and 'fresh'. 10

View: Excellent, the stand is quite shallow in incline but at the same time the rows are seperated enough so that your individual view is unobscured, except if people decide to stand up. 8/10

Getting there: Wembley is a public transport destination, so don't expect car parking in vast quantities. For a large stadium, it does get hidden especially when the 'round the houses' roads in and out make you lose all sense of direction, however it is signed from the North Circular and M25. There are two tube stations serving the area - Wembley Park is the closest and at the end of Olympic Way and Wembley Central a good walk away. There are lots of instrial estates offering supervised parking for around £10. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): The concourse is huge and has separate 'stalls' for food, bar, programmes, souvenirs etc. The bars are efficient with an in/out queuing system, but for a stadium that boasts a toilet per 34 people, they are still small, cramped and crowded. The PA and TV system are excellent and announcements are made five minutes before each kickoff. There are additional toilets accessible from outside the stadium. 6/10

Food and Drink: Expensive and not that nice. The pie was a true disaster, at £4.50 the whole thing fell apart into a huge heap, beer is £3.50 a pint and water £1.80 and tasted like tap water. 5/10

Stewarding/Police: The stewarding and policing was far over the top for the occasion, but they were practicing for bigger events. Some of the stewards are very forthright and abrupt in their manner. You cannot enter the seating area without showing your ticket again, and you will be heavily directed out of the stadium at the end of the game. 6/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Not much. There are a couple of pubs up Olympic Way in Wembley but they get very crowded, plus the usual take aways and banks. 4/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): There are no 'home fans'! This epends on who is playing and who is attended. For a "big" game such as the FA Cup the atmosphere would be electric. As it was the two sets of supporters were not that vocal. -/10

Total score: 45/70

Stadium League Table:
Pride Park (Derby): 65
Hillsborough (Sheffield Wednesday): 58
Poltair Park (St Austell): 57 [non league]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55

KC Stadium (Hull): 54
Wembley Stadium: 45
= Portman Road (Ipswich): 51
= Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51

= Carrow Road (Norwich): 50
= Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50
Underhill (Barnet): 49
= St Andrews (Birmingham): 48
= Molineux (Wolves): 48
= Loftus Road (QPR): 46
= The Hawthorns (WBA): 46
= Elland Road (45)
= Turf Moor (Burnley): 45

Kenilworth Road (Luton): 44
Deepdale (Preston): 43
Ninian Park (Cardiff): 42
Roots Hall (Southend): 41
London Road (Peterbrough): 36

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