WEM­B­LEY? SHAHID AND THE NFL ARE WEL­COME TO IT

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

THE only down­side to Shahid Khan’s £600m pur­chase of Wem­b­ley Sta­dium is the news that he won’t turn it into flats. Con­trary to Khan’s state­ment, Wem­b­ley is nei­ther iconic nor beloved. It hasn’t been since the twin tow­ers were de­mol­ished 15 years ago. It is a soul­less, cor­po­rate shell – an over-priced van­ity project that has drained funds from grass­roots foot­ball and robbed the rest of the coun­try of both Eng­land matches and FA Cup semi-fi­nals. This Wem­b­ley is not the home of foot­ball and it shouldn’t be the home of Eng­land ei­ther. How is it fair that a fam­ily from Croy­don can travel to watch Eng­land for the price of a Tube ride while a fam­ily from New­cas­tle must pay north of £200 in train fares? And it isn't just the fans. Talk to any player who rep­re­sented his coun­try dur­ing the six-year pe­riod when Wem­b­ley was un­der con­struc­tion and they’ll all say how much they pre­ferred play­ing at Old Traf­ford, St James’ Park or An­field. More at­mos­phere. More in­tim­i­dat­ing crowds. More fun. The only thing Wem­b­ley has more of is seats, par­tic­u­larly empty posh ones. Our ‘national’ sta­dium is noth­ing of the sort. Khan – and the NFL – are wel­come to it.

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