England Stadiums

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Wembley

2007
England
London
Wembley Photo

Wembley

90,000
105m × 68m
England national football team
Wembley Panorama

Wembley Satellite Image

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Wembley Info and History

Wembley Stadium (often referred to simply as Wembley, or sometimes as the New Wembley) is a football stadium located in Wembley Park, in the Borough of Brent, London, England. It opened in 2007 and was built on the site of the previous 1923 Wembley Stadium. The earlier Wembley stadium, originally called the Empire Stadium, was often referred to as "The Twin Towers" and was one of the world's most famous football stadia until its demolition in 2003.

It is a UEFA category four stadium. The 90,000-capacity venue (105,000 combined seating and standing) is the second largest stadium in Europe, and serves as England's national stadium. It is the sole home venue of the England national football team, and hosts the latter stages of the top level domestic club cup competition, the FA Cup. It is owned by English football's governing body, The Football Association (The FA), through their subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Ltd (WNSL).

Designed by Foster and Partners and HOK Sport (since renamed Populous), it includes a partially retractable roof. A signature feature of the stadium, following on from the old Wembley's distinctive Twin Towers, is the 134-metre-high (440 ft) Wembley Arch. With a span of 317 metres (1,040 ft), this steel arch is the longest single-span roof structure in the world and, uniquely for a stadium, requires beacons for low-flying aircraft. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million. The old Wembley closed in October 2000, with demolition originally intended for that December and the new stadium due to open in 2003. After delays to the project, with demolition first started in September 2002, the old Wembley was not completely demolished until February 2003, with the new stadium scheduled to open in time for the 2006 FA Cup Final. After further delays, the stadium was delivered nearly a year late, leading to legal disputes between WNSL and Multiplex, who ultimately made a significant loss on the project. The stadium was handed over on 9 March 2007, in time to host the 2007 FA Cup Final.

In international football, the stadium was a central component of the failed English 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bids. In 2012 it hosted the football finals of the London Olympics. In club football, in addition to the FA Cup the stadium hosts the showpiece season-opening game the FA Community Shield match, played in August between the winners of the FA Cup and the top-level Premier League. In mid-season it also hosts the finals of the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy. At the end of the domestic season, the stadium also hosts the finals of the Football League play-offs. In European football, it hosted the 2011 Champions League Final, and will host the final again in 2013. In friendly tournaments, since 2009 it has been the venue of the summer Wembley Cup. Outside of football, the stadium also hosts major rugby league games, such as the Challenge Cup and International Rugby League. The stadium is also an annual regular season venue for the American National Football League's International Series, the first such venue outside North America. Non-sporting uses include large music concerts such as Concert for Diana, Live Earth and the Summertime Ball.

Wembley was designed by architects Foster + Partners and Populous (known as HOK Sport at the time of the design phase and construction) and with engineers Mott Stadium Consortium, who were a collection of three structural engineering consultants in the form of Mott MacDonald Ltd, Sinclair Knight & Merz and Aurecon. The design of the building services was carried out by Mott MacDonald Ltd. The construction of the stadium was managed by Australian company Brookfield Multiplex and funded by Sport England, WNSL (Wembley National Stadium Limited), the Football Association, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the London Development Agency. It is one of the most expensive stadia ever built at a cost of £798 million (After New Meadowlands Stadium) and has the largest roof-covered seating capacity in the world. Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners was appointed to assist Wembley National Stadium Limited in preparing the scheme for a new stadium and to obtain planning and listed building permission for the development.

The all-seater stadium is based around a bowl design with a capacity of 90,000, protected from the elements by a sliding roof that does not completely enclose it. It can also be adapted as an athletic stadium by erecting a temporary platform over the lowest tier of seating. The stadium's signature feature is a circular section lattice arch of 7 m (23 ft) internal diameter with a 315 m (1,033 ft) span, erected some 22° off true, and rising to 133 m (436 ft). It supports all the weight of the north roof and 60% of the weight of the retractable roof on the southern side. The archway is the world's longest unsupported roof structure. Instead of the 39 steps climbed, in the original stadium, to enter the Royal Box and collect a trophy, there are now 107.

A "platform system" has been designed to convert the stadium for athletics use, but its use would decrease the stadium's capacity to approximately 60,000. No athletics events (track and field) have taken place at the stadium, and none are scheduled.[citation needed] The conversion for athletics use was a condition of part of the lottery funding the stadium received, but to convert it would take weeks of work and cost millions of pounds.

 

The initial plan for the reconstruction of Wembley was for demolition to begin before Christmas 2000, and for the new stadium to be completed some time during 2003, but this work was delayed by a succession of financial and legal difficulties. In 2004, the London Mayor and Brent Council also announced wider plans for the regeneration of Wembley, taking in the arena and the surrounding areas as well as the stadium, to be implemented over two or three decades.

Delays to the construction project started as far back as 2003. In December 2003, the constructors of the arch, subcontractors Cleveland Bridge, warned Multiplex about rising costs and a delay on the steel job of almost a year due to Multiplex design changes which Multiplex rejected. Cleveland Bridge withdrew from the project and replaced by Dutch firm Hollandia with all the attendant problems of starting over. 2004 also saw errors, most notably a fatal accident involving carpenter Patrick O'Sullivan for which construction firm PC Harrington Contractors were fined £150,000 in relation to breaches of health and safety laws.

In October 2005, Sports Minister Richard Caborn announced: "They say the Cup Final will be there, barring six feet of snow or something like that". By November 2005, WNSL were still hopeful of a handover date of 31 March, in time for the cup final on 13 May. However in December 2005, the builders admitted that there was a "material risk" that the stadium might not be ready in time for the final. In February 2006 these worries were confirmed, with the FA moving the game to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

On 20 March 2006, a steel rafter in the roof of the new development fell by a foot and a half, forcing 3,000 workers to evacuate the stadium and raising further doubts over the completion date which was already behind schedule.On 23 March 2006, sewers beneath the stadium buckled due to ground movement. GMB Union leader Steve Kelly said that the problem had been caused by the pipes not being properly laid, and that the repair would take months. Rumours circulated that the reason for the blockage was due to Multiplex failing to pay the contractors who laid the pipes who then filled in the pipes with concrete. A spokesman for developers Multiplex said that they did not believe this would "have any impact on the completion of the stadium", which was then scheduled to be completed on 31 March 2006.

On 30 March 2006, the developers announced that Wembley Stadium would not be ready until 2007. All competitions and concerts planned were to be moved to suitable locations. On 19 June 2006 it was announced that the turf had been laid. On 19 October 2006 it was announced that the venue was now set to open in early 2007 after the dispute between The Football Association and Multiplex had finally been settled. WNSL was expected to pay around £36m to Multiplex, on top of the amount of the original fixed-price contract. The total cost of the project (including local transport infrastructure redevelopment and the cost of financing) was estimated to be £1 billion (roughly US$1.97 billion).

Handover and opening

The Bobby Moore Sculpture stands outside the stadium entrance, looking down Wembley Way

The new stadium was completed and handed over to the FA on 9 March 2007. The official Wembley Stadium website had announced that the stadium would be open for public viewing for local residents of Brent on 3 March 2007, however this was delayed by two weeks and instead happened on 17 March.

While the stadium had hosted football matches since the handover in March, the stadium was officially opened on Saturday 19 May, with the staging of the 2007 FA Cup Final. Eight days before that on Friday 11 May, the Bobby Moore Sculpture had been unveiled by Sir Bobby Charlton outside the stadium entrance, as the "finishing touch" to the completion of the stadium. The twice life-size bronze statue, sculpted by Philip Jackson, depicts England's 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, looking down Olympic Way.

Structure

    The stadium contains 2,618 toilets, more than any other venue in the world.
    The stadium has a circumference of 1 km (0.62 mi).
    The bowl volume is listed at 1,139,100 m3, somewhat smaller than the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but with a greater seating capacity.
    At its peak, there were more than 3,500 construction workers on site.
    4,000 separate piles form the foundations of the new stadium, the deepest of which is 35 m (115 ft).
    There are 56 km (35 mi) of heavy-duty power cables in the stadium.
    90,000 m3 (120,000 yd3) of concrete and 23,000 tonnes (25,000 short tons) of steel were used in the construction of the new stadium.
    The total length of the escalators is 400 m (¼ mi).
    The Wembley Arch has a cross-sectional diameter greater than that of a cross-channel Eurostar train.


Football

The first match at the stadium was a game played behind closed doors between Multiplex and Wembley Stadium staff. The first game in front of spectators was between the Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI and the Wembley Sponsors Allstars on 17 March 2007. The Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI won 2–0 (scorers Mark Bright and Simon Jordan). The first official match involving professional players was England U21s vs Italy U21s on 24 March 2007, which finished 3–3. Official attendance was 55,700 (although all of the 60,000 tickets that were made available were sold in advance). The first player to score in a FIFA sanctioned match was Italian striker Giampaolo Pazzini after 28 seconds of the same game. Pazzini went on to score twice more in the second half of the match making him the first person to score a hat-trick at Wembley Stadium since Paul Scholes for England in 1999. The first English player to score in a full-scale match was David Bentley with a free kick in the same game.
The first club game, competitive game, and cup final held at the new Wembley took place on 12 May 2007 when Kidderminster Harriers met Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy final. Kidderminster striker James Constable was the first player to score a goal in a final at the new Wembley. Kidderminster became the first team to play at both the old and new stadium. Stevenage Borough were the first team to win a final at the new Wembley beating Kidderminster 3–2, despite trailing 2–0 at half time. The first players to play at both the old and new Wembley stadia were Steve Guppy (for Stevenage Borough) and Jeff Kenna (for Kidderminster Harriers). Ex-England international Guppy was the first player to win a final at both stadia (with Leicester City, Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage). Ronnie Henry was the first ever player to lift a competitive club trophy at the new Wembley.

The first penalty save and first red card came in the Conference National playoff final between Exeter City and Morecambe. The penalty was saved by Paul Jones of Exeter City from Morecambe striker Wayne Curtis. The red card was given to Matthew Gill of Exeter for a headbutt on Craig Stanley of Morecambe.

The first Football League teams to play at Wembley in a competitive fixture were Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town in the 2007 Football League Two play-off Final on 26 May 2007. Shrewsbury Town became the first league team to score at Wembley and also the first league team to have a player sent off. Bristol Rovers won the game 3–1 in front of 61,589 which was a stadium record until the Championship play-off final two days later when Derby County beat West Bromwich Albion 1–0 to become the first team at the new stadium to win promotion to the FA Premier League.

The first FA Cup Final at the new Wembley (between Manchester United and Chelsea) was on 19 May 2007. Chelsea won 1–0 with a goal by Didier Drogba, making him the first player to score in the FA Cup final at the new Wembley. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech also became the first goalkeeper not to concede a goal in a competitive game at Wembley. Chelsea were the last winners of the cup final at the old Wembley and the first winners at the new.

The first game involving the full English national team was a friendly played on 1 June 2007, against Brazil. The match saw captain John Terry become the first England international goal scorer at the new stadium when he scored in the 68th minute. Diego became the first full international player to score for a visiting team when he scored in stoppage time, with the fulltime result being a 1–1 draw. The first competitive senior international was played on 8 September 2007 between England and Israel. This game ended 3–0. The first player to score international goals at both the old and new stadia was Michael Owen when he scored for England against Israel. On 22 August Germany beat England 2–1 to become the first team to beat them in the new Wembley Stadium. England's first competitive defeat at the new stadium was on 21 November 2007 when Croatia won 3–2. This match cost England qualification to Euro 2008 and head coach Steve McClaren his job.

Celtic were the first Scottish team to win a trophy at the new Wembley. Competing in the first year of the Wembley Cup in July 2009, against English side Tottenham, Egyptian side Al-Ahly and the 2009 European Champions, Barcelona.

Southampton currently hold the record for the number of fans at the new Wembley Stadium by one club, taking 44,000 to their Football League Trophy final victory over Carlisle in 2010. Millwall hold the record at the old Wembley when they brought 47,000 fans against Wigan Athletic in the Football League Trophy final in 1999.

Wembley Stadium hosted the UEFA Champions League Final on 28 May 2011 between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. Wembley will also host the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, making it the second time in 3 years.It will hold the event to mark the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.

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