Wembley: Still Under Construction

By Hazel Last edited 153 months ago
Wembley: Still Under Construction

The as yet unfinished Wembley Stadium has been under fire for most of it's embryonic life, at times literally and of late, figuratively. It has been confirmed that the stadium will not be ready in time for the FA Cup final which was to be Wembley's formal unveiling on 13 May, and a new date for the opening cannot be given by Australian building firm Multiplex. Losses have surpassed £75million and are creeping towards £100million; the stadium's planned cost could grossly inflate from £757million to £1billion.

It is also a huge loss for football fans and Wembley investors, as the match will be played at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff instead. Like a forgiving wife who forgives her incompetent husband one last time (again) and believes that this time, we won't be let down, the FA held out for Multiplex's promise that Wembley will be ready for the all important Cup final but has had to, finally, let go and admit that this time, it's not going to work. The match will have to go to Cardiff and all the other promises for the stadium that have been made will have to be reconsidered.

Much has been made of the music that has been programmed for Wembley's new life but none of the dates scheduled to take place before August are likely to happen. No Bon Jovi. No Rolling Stones. No Robbie Williams. No... Take That. All those sticky post-adolescent ticket holders who got damp at the prospect of seeing their former heroes together in the greatest stadium on earth will just have to go back to pining for them from afar and unleashing their unfulfilled love for the lads through fanfiction and hand-drawn posters.

In an extension of the bitter divorce metaphor, Multiplex has got itself into legal wrangles with sub-contractors and may sue the FA as a way to share some of the incurred costs. This would be a harsh blow to the windpipe for the already suffering FA who is facing huge financial losses if faced with late completion of Wembley. If forced to cancel its pre-August concerts and non-FA sports events (originally thought to be money-spinners bound to create much needed revenue - not likely now, sadly), the FA stands to lose loads in that it won't be able to pay back bank loans and the £150million of its own money it has committed to the stadium.

It's sort of like this: "incompetent husband spends family's fortune on botched DIY projects whilst starry-eyed wife makes ambitious and expensive plans for the summer; they have a major falling-out when costs have spiralled close to £1billion and wife has to return all her pop and rock paraphenalia to the shops. Husband may sue wife to cover costs of botched DIY." Meanwhile, Wembley Stadium remains incomplete and looks like it will stay that way for a little while longer.

Last Updated 20 February 2006