There is probably not a single football fan who has not heard of the legendary English Wembley stadium. It was opened in 1923 in north-west London, and King George V of Great Britain himself took part in the opening ceremony. Wembley was planned to host the most significant football matches. For example, FA Cup finals and national team matches.
By the way, on the opening day at Wembley, the FA Cup decisive match was held, in which the Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United clubs met. In the history of English football, this fight was called the "Final of the White Horse". The stadium, with a capacity of 125, 000 spectators, was so crowded that spectators even found themselves on the football field before the start of the game. The final was in jeopardy.
Constable George Skory was able to save the situation, who, astride a white horse, competently directed the actions of the police. The fans were forced out of the field marking, thanks to which the match was started, albeit with a delay of 45 minutes. True, George Skory's horse was rather gray, but on black and white film it seemed completely white.
The fans did not have to wait long for the goal to be scored, already in the second minute Bolton player Jack David hit the opponent's goal, becoming the author of the very first goal at Wembley. In the second half, Bolton scored another goal, becoming the owner of the Cup. The trophy was presented to the winners by King George V.
For many years, the England national team did not have a permanent home stadium. The games were held at different stadiums in the country. Interestingly, even after the construction of Wembley, the situation did not change much: only matches with the most principled rival of the British, the Scottish national team, took place here. The tradition was broken only in 1951, when the teams of England and Argentina entered the Wembley field. The hosts won 2: 1.
And in 1966, Wembley became one of those stadiums where World Cup matches were held. It was here that the decisive meeting between England and Germany took place. For the only time in their history, the British became world champions, although the match turned out to be scandalous.
Three goals were scored by the hosts' forward Jeffrey Hirst, his team won 4: 2 in extra time. When the score was 2: 2, Hirst shot on goal, the ball hit the crossbar and bounced off the goal line. No one, not even the Swiss match referee Gottfried Dienst, had time to notice - did the ball cross the line? Nevertheless, the goal was awarded, becoming one of the most scandalous in football.
The USSR national team had four meetings with the British at Wembley. Moreover, the debut turned out to be extremely unfortunate for our players: on October 22, 1958, they lost in a friendly match 0: 5. In the remaining three matches, the opponents won one time, in another match they drew. But the national team of Russia and England met here only one time - in the qualifying match of the European Championship on September 12, 2007. The British won confidently 3: 0.
On October 23, 1963 at Wembley there was a match between the England national teams and the FIFA team, made up of the best football players in the world. The English Football Association celebrated its 100th anniversary that year. The goal of the world team was entrusted to defend Lev Ivanovich Yashin. The first half he defended “to zero”, and in the second half Yashin was replaced by Yugoslav Shoshkich. Here the British were able to score two goals and snatch the victory 2: 1.
In its eighty-year history, Wembley has lived more than just football. A variety of events were held here, and not only sports. For example, dog races have been held here since 1927. They gained immense popularity, bringing good profits to the stadium. In 1966, during the World Cup, it turned out that both the races and the France - Uruguay match were scheduled at the same time. The owners of the stadium decided that the races were more profitable, but the players had to move to another London stadium - White City.
In 1988, the stadium hosted seven concerts by Michael Jackson during his world tour. The total number of spectators at them was 504, 000. This event did not go unnoticed by the compilers of the Guinness Book of Records. No one had managed to gather such an audience before Jackson.
Of course, Wembley Stadium was of great importance both for London and for England as a whole. But, all good things come to an end. So at the beginning of the XXI century, it was decided that the legendary stadium was outdated and the English capital needed a new arena. On October 7, 2000, the last football match between the national teams of England and Germany took place here. The English did not succeed in saying goodbye to Wembley, the outcome of the match was decided by the goal scored by the German Dietmar Hamann.
Soon, Wembley was demolished, and in its place began construction of a new sports arena. New Wembley entered service on May 19, 2007. On this day, it hosted the FA Cup final match between Manchester United and Chelsea. Roman Abramovich's club won 1-0, winning this trophy for the fourth time in its history.