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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
90,000 seats, 2618 toilets, 26 lifts, 98 kitchens and 34 bars. Was it too much to ask for Wembley to provide just one decent playing surface? Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final was like watching naughty ten year olds playing football indoors on an untacked carpet. Every change of direction brought a skid and a howl of frustration, followed by the now traditional examination of the boots. But it’s not the boots that are to blame.

The owners of Wembley Stadium have brought this one themselves. Every summer, they throw metal sheets down on the turf like a layer of pasta in a lasagne, build a pile of speakers as high as the moon and invite 70,000 estate agents to bounce around to Bon Jovi. And then they wonder why the playing surface slides about like a bad toupee on a greased-up head. Now I’m no horticulturalist, but even I can tell that something’s wrong when a football pitch cuts up so much that it looks less like a snooker table and more like Tommy Lee Jones’ face.

How have we managed to get this wrong? Surely when you start planning a new stadium, you begin with the pitch and work your way up to the floodlights? It is, after all, the pitch that hosts the action, isn’t it? I bet they didn’t though. I bet in this brave new world of spin, fluff and media-glitter, the donut-munching, Blackberry-wielding goons in charge started with the arch and then skipped out for raspberry lattes.

There is something quintessentially English about all of this. Building ambitious stuff that doesn’t quite work is what we do now that the Empire has fallen. Hundreds of years of building bridges in some of the most inhospitable terrains on the planet, bridges that still stand today, and yet by the dawn of the 21st century, we’re incapable of spanning the Thames without terrifying the tourists with the wobbles. The Millennium Dome, Heathrow Terminal Five, Oasis. All fundamentally useless without dramatic augmentation. And now Wembley. You wouldn’t even want to play rugby at the home of football now and yet a quick glance at the upcoming events board tells you that that’s exactly what’s next on the agenda. It can be fixed. It must be fixed. Until then, however, it might be best to stage the semi-finals somewhere with a better surface. Like Mars, perhaps. Or, if we’re really desperate, Wigan.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,490
It wasn't the worst thing about yesterday, though...

How Terry got away with that challenge on Milner is beyond me. High, needlessly aggressive and with studs showing, if that's not a sending off I don't know what is.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,490
yellow-1.gif
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
It wasn't the worst thing about yesterday, though...

How Terry got away with that challenge on Milner is beyond me. High, needlessly aggressive and with studs showing, if that's not a sending off I don't know what is.

You can't send off John Terry though. Don't you understand that he's just brave, whole-hearted and English froo and froo? He'd never seek to injure another human being, or even an animal, especially if it was fluffy. He's just not that kind of player. Honest.
 

Beefy

Life President
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
18,906
Location
Old Leigh
The Terry tackle was a shocker. Milner is a very lucky boy to not have broken his leg.

I think I disagree with a fair chunk of the column though. Don't get me wrong, there's no getting around the fact that the pitch isn't up to standard but I don't think that has as much to do with the non-footballing uses of the stadium as it does with the sheer size of the stadium. Wembley is one of the biggest sporting arenas in the World and the size of the stands makes it very difficult for the pitch to get the amount of sunlight that it needs to grow properly. Grounds like the Bernabau, the Nou Camp and the San Siro don't have the same problems because they are in areas where the Sun is higher in the sky, exposing the pitch to far more sunlight. A couple of damp winters haven't helped much.

Some of the other examples that you quote of great British failures I think are more examples of great British moaning and bandwagon-jumping. There was nothing wrong with the Dome yet the media jumped on it early and suddenly people who had never even seen it were moaning about the waste of public money (even though it was lottery and private money which funded it). And Terminal Five had a few teething problems but very quickly established itself as the most advanced and efficient airport terminal in the World. Except that doesn't make such good copy.
 

Moody Blues

Ultra Slimline Filter
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Messages
7,653
Location
Slade Prison
I think I disagree with a fair chunk of the column though. Don't get me wrong, there's no getting around the fact that the pitch isn't up to standard but I don't think that has as much to do with the non-footballing uses of the stadium as it does with the sheer size of the stadium. Wembley is one of the biggest sporting arenas in the World and the size of the stands makes it very difficult for the pitch to get the amount of sunlight that it needs to grow properly. Grounds like the Bernabau, the Nou Camp and the San Siro don't have the same problems because they are in areas where the Sun is higher in the sky, exposing the pitch to far more sunlight. A couple of damp winters haven't helped much.

Arsenal's stadium is similar design to Wembley and they have a near perfect pitch every home game. If sun light is a problem, then do what Arsenal do and use artificial light
 

BrettieAngell

THE ROCK GOD
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
19,642
Location
Southend
They watered the pitch yesterday before the game which is why players were slipping, it looks better than it has done for a while.

Awful tackle form Terry, was he booked for it? If not then he should be done on video evidence.
 

Sandbach Shrimper

Life President⭐
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
6,081
Location
East Cheshire
The Terry tackle was dangerous and the sort that is being clamped on but to be fair he got the ball first. I can't see why he'd want to do that to an England team-mate, unless he's trying to do his mate Joe Cole a favour (sounds like a conspiracy I know, but those 2 are battling it out for a place on the plane to SA).

As for the pitch, it really is shocking the amount of times people were falling over in both semis. There was a moment in today's semi-final when Arun Dindane got booked for sliding in one of the Spurs players and his defence was that he slipped, and on the replay it actually looked like he did. It's been a problem for a while now and it's something they need to sort out, this is the national football stadium for goodness sake!
 

Beefy

Life President
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
18,906
Location
Old Leigh
The Terry tackle was dangerous and the sort that is being clamped on but to be fair he got the ball first. I can't see why he'd want to do that to an England team-mate, unless he's trying to do his mate Joe Cole a favour (sounds like a conspiracy I know, but those 2 are battling it out for a place on the plane to SA).

Doesn't matter if he got the ball. It's a potential leg breaker and should be a red card.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,490
You can't send off John Terry though. Don't you understand that he's just brave, whole-hearted and English froo and froo? He'd never seek to injure another human being, or even an animal, especially if it was fluffy. He's just not that kind of player. Honest.

Ah, of course.

On another forum I occasionaly glance at a whole section of Chelsea fans tried to defend Terry, claiming that he was in complete control of the challenge. Needless to say, such claims were laughed at by other football fans.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Messages
10,113
Location
Wixams
Arsenal's stadium is similar design to Wembley and they have a near perfect pitch every home game. If sun light is a problem, then do what Arsenal do and use artificial light

No Arsenal started planning with the pitch and thought about sunlight while building.

Arsene Wenger was heavily involved in this, and the wave look effect at the top of the stands were his idea to help with this.

Now there is a guy who cares about the game.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
The Terry tackle was a shocker. Milner is a very lucky boy to not have broken his leg.

I think I disagree with a fair chunk of the column though. Don't get me wrong, there's no getting around the fact that the pitch isn't up to standard but I don't think that has as much to do with the non-footballing uses of the stadium as it does with the sheer size of the stadium. Wembley is one of the biggest sporting arenas in the World and the size of the stands makes it very difficult for the pitch to get the amount of sunlight that it needs to grow properly. Grounds like the Bernabau, the Nou Camp and the San Siro don't have the same problems because they are in areas where the Sun is higher in the sky, exposing the pitch to far more sunlight. A couple of damp winters haven't helped much.

Some of the other examples that you quote of great British failures I think are more examples of great British moaning and bandwagon-jumping. There was nothing wrong with the Dome yet the media jumped on it early and suddenly people who had never even seen it were moaning about the waste of public money (even though it was lottery and private money which funded it). And Terminal Five had a few teething problems but very quickly established itself as the most advanced and efficient airport terminal in the World. Except that doesn't make such good copy.


Point taken with British moaning. I did go to the Dome and it was complete ****, but Terminal 5 sorted itself out quite quickly. Mind you, I'm going to claim dramatic augmentation on that count....
 
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