A couple of weeks ago a friend offered me a ticket for both recent England matches at Wembley Stadium, London. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take up the ticket for Spain but I was about town for the match against Sweden… and it was free!!
So after a workshop I’d really rather forget about, I grabbed some food in London and hit the underground to get to Wembley. The food in London was a good idea as, despite being one of the most expensive places in the country to eat, Wembley must be one of the most expensive places to eat in the Northern Hemisphere!! A 500ml bottle of Buxton water a tear-inducing £2.20 & a 1/4lb Burger £5.50!!
The crowd (48,000 plus), that eventually turned up, was the lowest crowd to turn up to an England match, in England, since something like 1993… and the lowest in the Wembley stadium since it was reopened following refurbishment. The crowd was also extremely quiet. Now many all seated stadia have the effect of quietening large crowds of people from making a noise (there must be a PHD in there somewhere?!) but if it hadn’t been for the drum corps in the first half, or the ‘Mexican wave’ in the second (quite why you need to raise your voice when you stand up & sit down is beyond me to be honest), the only noise would have been chatter.
The game itself was obviously not that entertaining, given the appearance of said ‘Mexican wave’ 20 minutes into the first half (yup, really) and about 18 minutes into the second (yup, really) happened at all. Is there a better sign that a crowd is bored restless than the need to stand up in order??
England got their goal in the first half, their 2000th in international football since records began and depending on who you listen to, it was either a Gareth Barry effort or an own goal… I’m not sure what English Football aficionados would prefer…
The other point was that it was absolutely ‘baltic’ in London last night! I was very under prepared with no hat, scarf or gloves in my possession… I guess lesson learnt for me, I’ll be studying the forecast more closely in future in 2011 and dressing accordingly!!