Happy days. A trip round the new Wembley Stadium, a chance for the little boy in me to once again show himself.
I was in London for a really interesting plumbing show, but when I saw that guided tours were free, all thoughts of waste water were gone.
The new stadium, viewed from the outside is beautiful, but from inside it’s something special. I’d been a few times to the old Wembley, for cup finals and international matches, but it was the first time I’d seen Wembley Way from this view.
Memories of walking up it, maybe having had half a quiet cold one in one of the local hostelries before the match, knowing that I was going to have to queue for hours in the loo at half time, but drinking it anyway.
From looking at this, we headed towards the bowels of the beast, going down towards that hallowed patch of green that billions of schoolboys had dreamed of playing on. On the way, we walked past this:
One opportune phrase, one legendary sentence in the English psyche. Mr. Wolstenholme I salute your wordsmithery Sir.
Nearby was this:
On this day, I was about 2 and a half years old, on a beach in Malta with my father and his friends, I believe they were listening to it on a wireless somehow. I have no recollection, but it must have been one of the best days of any English sporting fan’s life. I will happily wager that I will never see it’s like again during my lifetime. Sad, but true.
A walk through the changing rooms, the treatment rooms and the shower rooms, all along beautiful marbled corridors, all the while my anticipation building. Through a blue swinging door and into the tunnel.
I cannot begin to imagine the sensation of being here, before the start of the F.A. Cup final, the biggest match in the English domestic calendar, and a match televised live the world over.
With the theme tune of Match Of The Day playing in my head, I went through the tunnel out towards that famous pitch.
The names that have graced this, and previous, pitches rendered me quite emotional. I’m a huge football fan, a proud Englishman to boot, and to be sat, in the Royal Box, watching the groundsman mowing the already pristine pitch was a wonderful sensation. The place was deathly quiet, totally different from my previous visits to the place, but it was truly wonderful to see.
Ten minutes or so around the pitch area and we were good to go, heading back inside the labyrinth.
Eeee when I were a lad, football was a working class game. With the money that has come in recently, a different class of person now watches football. Fairly obviously.
An hour of my life, spent walking around England’s national stadium, was quite simply bliss personified.