The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

AT last it seems England are ready to ditch Wem­b­ley and start play­ing at proper foot­ball grounds.

Say what you want about the ‘home of foot­ball’ but, to me, the place has all the charm and char­ac­ter of a Hol­i­day Inn.

It’s not the ground where Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup or venue for the Matthews fi­nal. It’s a flash, over­priced van­ity project bereft of soul or at­mos­phere.

The crowd are miles from the pitch, the cor­po­rates are al­ways munch­ing canapes. And with tick­ets up­wards of £40, no won­der the FA strug­gle to fill it.

Is it any sur­prise Roy Hodg­son is so keen to hit the road? He knows how much more spe­cial England nights would be at a packed out An­field or Villa Park, both to in­tim­i­date op­po­nents and lift his own team. More to the point, England should be for the English, not just the same bored Lon­don­ers who turn up to ev­ery game.

We are the only ma­jor na­tion in Europe who al­low one city to hog the na­tional team.

That’s a dis­grace which – driven by Wem­b­ley’s need to cover losses – has gone on far too long. The FA must turn this ‘em­bry­onic’ idea into a per­ma­nent plan.

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