The original Wembley Stadium was built in 1927 in London, England. It is the largest football (soccer) stadium in the UK, holding 90,000 seats for football games and an additional 25,000 seats for concerts. The stadium hosted its first ever event four days after the building was complete. In 1948, Wembley was the primary site for the London Olympic Games. Eighteen years later, Wembley hosted the World Cup final where England won its first World Cup title. Today, Wembley Stadium is one the most popular football stadiums in the UK.
Backstory and Context
Wembley Stadium was the site for the 1948 Olympic Games. It was only the 11th time that the modern Olympics had been held. Many people debated whether or not to hold the Olympics at all due to so many countries trying to rebuild after World War II. However, it was finally decided that the games would be a good distraction from the war and the repercussions from it. Japan and Germany were not invited to the games due to their participation in the war. The Soviet Union also did not attend but that was not due to lack of an invite. It was the first Olympic Games that several communist countries participated in. The countries that attended was Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Poland. The facilities were not at the same caliber as some of the previous Olympic Games but most of the sport stadiums had made it out of the war with very minimal damage. Wembley hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, the track and field events, and several other events. Male athletes were forced to stay in housing at former army camps, while women stayed at dorms at Southland College. Ten new events had been added to the women's sports. Additionally, the weather was so bad and sloppy that it slowed down the track and field competitions enough that the fewest Olympic records were set in the history of the Olympic Games.
The 1966 World Cup finals were held at Wembley Stadium. At the time, the stadium had a capacity of up to 100,000. The average attendance of the whole tournament was 48,847 which beat the old attendance record set at the 1950 World Cup (47,511). England's national team did not come out strong in the first match and continued to give uneven performances in other matches. Still, England went on to win the tournament by beating West Germany 4-2. The game was full of controversy after the third goal was scored in overtime. After a strike from Geoff Hurst hit the cross bar, it bounced down and crossed the line into the net. However, it continued to be debated whether the ball actually crossed the line or not. Whether it did or did not, the referee called it a good goal and England won their first World Cup title.
Today the stadium is home to several different events and several teams. The stadium hosts the Football Association Cup final every year. It is the home of the England national football team, the FA cup semifinals and finals, and the Rugby League finals. Recently, the stadium has also hosted several NFL games as a way to bring American football over seas. Wembley has previously hosted Olympic soccer games including the gold medal match during the 2012 London Olympics. Additionally, the stadium has hosted boxing matches featuring Mohammad Ali as well an event with Evel Knievel. Knievel crashed while trying to jump over 13 double decker buses.
The stadium was built in London in 1927. About seventy years later the original stadium was demolished and rebuilt. It took four years for the construction to finish and the stadium was finally reopened in 2007. The stadium has a large arch that is recognized around the world. The arch helps with support of the roof and is tilted at a 22 degree angle. After the rebuilding, a sliding roof was used to completely cover the fans but leaves the pitch itself completely open to the elements. Building officials also decided to use a blend of synthetic grass and real grass to strengthen the playing surface.
•Association, The Football. “About Wembley Stadium.” Www.wembleystadium.com, www.wembleystadium.com/about/about-wembley-stadium.
•“10 Facts about Wembley Stadium.” Globalblue, www.globalblue.com/destinations/uk/london/10-facts-on-wembley-stadium/.
Lewis, Robert. Wembley Stadium, Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed December 3rd 2019. https://www.britannica.com/place/Wembley-Stadium.
London 1948 Olympic Games, Britannica. Accessed December 4th 2019. https://www.britannica.com/event/London-1948-Olympic-Games.
World Cup 1966, Football History. Accessed December 4th 2019. https://www.footballhistory.org/world-cup/1966-england.html.