Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shadid Khan has just made an offer, thought to be worth £800m, to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association. This article will be looking at whether if Khan’s offer is successful and England do move away from the current national stadium, how that can be a positive thing for England and the FA cup.
The 90,000 seater, since opening in 2007 has been the national team’s home, for all England World Cup and European Championship qualifier matches, also hosting the vast majority of England home friendlies. Also, Wembley is the home of the two FA Cup semi-finals and final, as well as hosting the League Cup final, the Checkatrade Trophy final and the Championship, League One, League Two and National League play off finals.
The development of grassroots Football.
Sources were told by the FA that if Wembley were to be sold, then the money gained, would then be used to promote grassroots football. Grassroots football is a vital part of the English game, as it brings together people in the community and promotes the spirit of fair play and development of potential future stars. However, can the FA be trusted is the question as they still owe £113m to public bodies such as Sport’s England, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, plus the London Development Agency, which helped build the stadium, costing £757m, when it opened in 2007.
Improvements in the FA Cup experience.
Selling Wembley, would hopefully end the terrible idea of FA Cup semi-finals at the stadium. In recent years, semi-finals have been full of empty seats, most notably in last week’s semi-final match between Chelsea and Southampton. Where 7,000 seats in the Southampton end were left unsold as well as a half full corporate section, which looked terrible. Atmospheres at semi-finals and finals as a result have been poor, with a real seated, muted, corporate feel to most of the ties. This could be because of the amount of games being played at Wembley, resulting in the awe and excitement of going to Wembley vanishing from the modern game.
Although, in my opinion I do believe that the final should take place at Wembley, as that is the home of the FA Cup and I see with only the final being played there, the magic and atmosphere of cup final day being restored. As long as the real fans are put first, rather than corporate daytrippers, which would be done by reducing the corporate section and making ticket prices cheaper.
Improvements following England.
For supporters of the national team, many will agree that the atmosphere has been virtually non-existent at most England games. However, times when England have played at club grounds such as Old Trafford and Villa Park, the atmosphere and occasion has been better than when England have played at Wembley.
Having England tour the country, rather than staying in the south, will be fairer on the population. This would allow all areas of the country to get a chance to see the Three Lions play, rather than just fans in London or people who can afford to get to London. I do believe games, should still be played at Wembley as London’s venue but as well as games in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol etc. who all have high quality stadiums in the area, that are fit for international games.
Obviously, there is a fair argument that the FA should never sell their home, as after all it is ‘the home of English football’, and it is a massive part of England’s incredible football history. However, I don’t propose to move the FA Cup final and other finals elsewhere as I believe it would be wrong to see cup competition finals anywhere else. There should be an agreement with Shadid Khan to keep the finals of club competitions at Wembley as part of the deal. Clearly changes do need to be made though as currently there are too many games being played there and the beauty 0f going to Wembley as a fan is vanishing.
Do you agree with these opinions? Let us know in the comments below!