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Wembley Stadium Tour and Thoughts on Racism in Football

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hello everyone,

Hope you are well.

After I went to the PSG Stadium Tour I asked my Mum if Wembley could be our next trip because I enjoyed the previous one so much. On Saturday 12th October me, my Mum and most of my close family went to do the tour. As me and my Mum had been to Wembley before to watch England games we knew which carpark was best to park in so we booked into the red carpark in advance, which is only a few minutes walk to the entrance we needed to go in. Its also accessible.

When we got there we met at the Bobby Moore memorial statue and it was surprisingly easy getting onto the tour as they only briefly checked our bags. We were then given mini tablets and headphones which played videos and gave information about the stadium.

The first section of the tour was self directed and we used the tablets as our source of information and to guide us. In this little area it was all about the history of the stadium and how it was built. In this time I learnt that the "Twin Towers" that featured in the original building were demolished and replaced with the new famous Wembley arch. I then discovered the remainders had been used in the making of the new Wembley stadium so they are still part of it today. It was interesting to see the difference between to two designs when looking at the mini models displayed. Before we went through to the next bit we checked the disabled toilets. They were very similar to the other toilets I had seen in the stadium, they were tiny and they didn't have any sight of adaptions.

The next part of the tour was also self directed and was about Englands football achievements through history, we saw videos from the World Cup win in 1966 on our mini tablets and we learnt some more interesting facts about the teams past. This included the very controversial goal in the final of 1966 of which the crossbar used on the game is displayed in the museum.

The final part of the self directed tour was a visit to an exhibition room containing memorabilia. This was upstairs so I had to go in the lift which was accompanied by one of the staff members. In the room they had trophies from the competitions that were held at Wembley, such as the FA Cup and Community Shield. There were also displays containing other sporting events such as NFL, Formula one and Boxing achievements. Finally there was a display of the music that had been performed in Wembley. For example Ed Sheeran and the Spice Girls.

We then had to wait a bit for our actual tour to start as the previous tour hadn't finished but during this time we were able to watch more videos about the stadium.

Once our tour guide was back, the first area we went to view was the seating area. He spoke to us about the stadium and English football. He told us the the top tier of the stadium alone was bigger than the whole of the Bournemouth Stadium, the middle tier was bigger than Leicester's Stadium and the bottom tier was bigger than Chelsea's Stadium. This meant it was the second largest stadium in the world after the Camp Nou (Barcelona). Wembley holds 90,000 people. Whenever an artist visits Wembley to perform they normally shout the famous words of "Hello Wembley" so our tour guide got our group to try it to show the atmosphere it creates with only a small amount of people.

The next part of the tour was a long hall way which had lots of pictures from Englands past teams and legends that have played at Wembley such as Ronaldo and Messi and many more. It also included players that are still in the England team such as Sterling, Kane and Dier's signed shirts. Marcus Rashford's match worn signed boot was also displayed.

This followed into the press room which is used on match days and is full of all of the press reporters, they are not allowed to speak to the players before the match as it may interrupt their pre match rituals but after the match they can speak to the players with their permission. We were able to take as many pictures as we wanted throughout this tour.

The next room was the press conference room which is used for all events pre and post sports interviews. It is here that Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane have their press conferences. We were able to sit in the managers seat for a picture and there was a ramp meaning I could get to the seat.

We then went to visit the changing rooms which was the bit I was most looking forward to because I was able to see the players shirts. There are 2 changing rooms per team (Home and Away) as they realised the NFL teams couldn't fit in one changing room so to make it fair every sporting event is given two rooms per team, all of the changing rooms are identical. In the first England changing room we went into it had all of the shirts from competitions that'd been played their such as FA Cup finals. Sadly there were no Crystal Palace shirts. In the second room, the shirts were from the players which went to the Russia 2018 World Cup, some of them were signed but others were not. We were able to take pictures with as many shirts as we wanted but we were not allowed to touch the shirts. The reason why we were not allowed to touch the shirts was because a few years ago a little girl had touched a shirt with dirty fingers and ruined it! As it was the World Cup squad Jadon Sancho didn't have a shirt there so I was a little bit disappointed but Jesse Lingard is my joint favourite so my Mum lifted me onto his seat to have a photo taken. This followed into the players exercise area. At first I found it very basic but then on reflection I realised why, it had to be neutral for all teams.

Then we went to the foyer area where both teams stand in their lines to walk out onto the pitch. To make it realistic we formed two lines for the Home and Away team. The teams were Barcelona and Liverpool, so of course my whole family because we all share the common dislike to Liverpool we all stood in the Barcelona line. It was nice to then be able to go pitch side as we saw a different angle of the beautiful stadium. We were able to sit in the Managers seat, which is obviously where Gareth Southgate sits during matches. The pitch had machinery on it but I'm not 100% sure on what is was but i'm pretty sure it was used to protect the grass and help it grow while its not being used.

The next destination was the Royal area where the champions of competitions held at Wembley would go to receive their medals after the match. Due to it being up some stairs I had to go through a different route to use the lift. We were escorted by another tour guide who took us through a room which is where the Royals sit for privacy before a game. When we met back up with my family the FA Cup was up there so we were able to have pictures with it. Again due to it being down some stairs the Lady brought it up for me so I could have a picture. After this we were lead into a large room called the Wembley Suite which is used to serve the Royals the five course meal before the match. This meal costs approximately £2500 per person!

The final part of the tour was when we go to see the "Three Lions". They were all made from different recycled materials and looked amazing. This was my last photograph taken on the tour. We then had to hand our mini tablets back and we then left the stadium.

Our tour guide was nice, helpful and able to answer our questions.

On the way out we had a picture in front of the Bobby Moore Statue and then we walked around to the England shop. Surprisingly the shop wasn't very big, compared to other stadium shops I have visited.

I have added some videos of the day to my 'videos' tab.

I feel it is appropriate now to comment on the England v Bulgaria match that happened this week;

The first half alone was full of racism which was horrible to see. It's disgusting how fans can make such a horrible influence on the game, it’s not fair on anyone. During half time I was scrolling through my instagram and I saw some pictures of the stadium. The England players were playing their game away in Bulgaria and it made me feel sick to the stomach when I then saw what the Bulgarian fans were doing and being allowed to do!! Thankfully the UEFA’s three step protocol was used but sadly it wasn’t changing the attitudes of the fans, it’s heartbreaking to watch how much it can effect a game of football. Nobody should ever be discriminated because of the colour of their skin but especially not in the 21st century. It makes me feel sick that people think it’s okay and acceptable to act in such a way. It was really nice to see how protective Gareth was over his players and made sure the racism was dealt with.

It all started when Tyron Mings told the 4th official to start step one of UEFA protocol. This is when they make an announcement around the stadium telling the fans to stop, but it didn’t help. They had to pause the match as part 2 of the protocol as the abuse continued, the game then was continued till half time. At half time they were trying to sort it with the Bulgaria captain basically begging his fans to stop, this lead to the majority of the racist abusers to be kicked out of the stadium. In the second half the abuse still continued but the game didn’t need to be stopped.

It’s alright saying beat them on the pitch but something needs to happen to sort this out, because it is horrible to see, and NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED BECAUSE OF THEIR SKIN COLOUR!! I feel like the campaigns UEFA have introduced to tackle racism will only help a small minority so they may have to look to extreme consequences such as stopping major competitions temporarily to attempt to change the attitude of uneducated fans.

For us to be able to get 6 goals and walk off the pitch with smiles on our faces made me so happy to see.

Thank you for reading,

Ellie xx

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