Wembley Stadium, London
FA Cup Final
Chelsea v Manchester United
Saturday May 19th, 2007, 3pm
By Doug Bagley
First of all, I would like to say that I am a Spurs Season Ticket holder, so not a fan of United or Chelsea. So, of course I should not get a FA Cup Final Ticket before a true fan of either Club. But yesterday as a Football Fan and someone who has always loved Wembley I got up at 5am and went to try and get into the Cup Final.
With a large Sign begging for 1 Spare Ticket I started walking around Wembley at 9.30am. I endured thousands of people telling me that I had no chance, laughing at me and some saying only if you have got £2,000.
At 10am I was able to stand in front of the Bobby Moore statue, it is a great tribute and will obviously become a meeting point for fans. However this is also the entrance for all the people going to The Wedding. Over the next few hours I was shocked and saddened at these people. It was just like a High Class Wedding (not that I’ve been to one). Whole families in their best outfits, very obviously not all of these people were even interested in Football to them this was another Ascot type Social event. We fans can argue about the ‘Football Family’ getting Tickets (in truth that’s what I was yesterday) but it appears that they all come in 2’s 3’s and 4’s with the Wife and 2 Children! Some of these may well ‘deserve’ a Cup Final Ticket but does the whole Family?
However, a funny if violent incident also happened later when I saw a Chelsea Open Top Double Decker Bus go past a Pub full of United drinking out of Cans. What started as friendly banter soon saw the United fans throwing many, many Cans at the escaping Chelsea bus.
The Stadium is massive but what you will all notice is that there are still NO Toilets along Wembley Way. On the Stadium perimeter there a just 2 very small Men’s Toilets.
There were forged Tickets in circulation and I was offered a Ticket for £400, £500, £600 and £1,000 but my budget was only £200. I was not going to be able to buy from a Tout but my hope was another Fan with a spare.
Outside the Bobby Moore statue at 2pm I was approached by such a fan and I agreed to pay the £200 when we got in. I was ‘over the moon’ and we walked the short distance to Entrance E the Ticket was for the United End. Disaster struck at the Turnstile, the 2 Tickets were forgeries! Thankfully, I had not given the man my £200. He went off to look for the Scousers (what is it with these people) and I kept on walking around Wembley. Unlike the old Wembley it is now possible to walk fully around the Stadium and very easy to loose your ‘bearings’ as it all looks the same.
At 2.15 at the back of the Chelsea end there was a small scuffle between United and Chelsea fans, similar to an earlier confrontation on Wembley Way . As the crowd split I was approached by a very genuine Father and Daughter who were both real football fans, they had a Spare Ticket and if I was genuine then they would sell it to me - I think my explosion of joy convinced them. I had been walking with my Begging Sign for nearly 5 hours. The Ticket was a £60 Ticket on the side in with the Chelsea fans, we agreed a price of £120 and as we were outside the entrance, I WAS IN.
My Seat was excellent and I was able to see the Spurs FA Cup Parade - Bobby Smith, Cliff Jones, Ricky Villa, Steve Perryman and Glenn Hoddle.
I could have cried when I took my seat. The Stadium is everything you could ever hope for and more. It is the San Siro, Bernabeu and the Nou Camp all rolled into one. It is so big but everyone is close to the pitch, it was worth the wait to get a worthy replacement for the old Wembley.
It is and will be the Best Stadium in the World, but those Club Wembley seats are a real issue. Any ground that has 17,500 people that are only there on a Company Jolly are not going to create a good atmosphere. Above the Bobby Moore statue there were hundreds of the 'Wedding Guests,' clearly visible though the massive glass frontage having a 5 course meal looking out over the fans on Wembley Way.
Lets hope the FA get it right in distributing Tickets for the England games, so that we can really create an atmosphere in the qualifiers we now need to win.
You all saw the game and will have your own views. FA Cup Finals are rarely great games especially if the best Teams play each other.
What was disgusting, was that the people at The Wedding in front of the Royal Box could not be bothered with the first 10 minutes of the Second Half - typical!
After the game the queues at Wembley Stadium Train Station were excellently managed and within 35 minutes I was on the Train back to Leamington Spa.
A great Day and one I will remember for the rest of my Life.
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