100 years of Wembley Stadium told through 100 matches.Â
The 1923 FA Cup final – also known as the White Horse final – was the first football match played at the British Empire Exhibition Stadium. Although best remembered for its vast, well-beyond-capacity crowd, which had to be marshalled by a policeman atop a white horse, that afternoon marked the opening chapter of the long and eventful history of the stadium soon to be known simply as Wembley.
Over the 100 years since that overcrowded day, Wembley has established itself as the home of the beautiful game and, almost certainly, the world’s most famous football stadium.Â It occupies a special place in the hearts of players and punters alike. Watching your team at Wembley is the highlight of a fan’s lifetime of support; playing there the fulfilment of a childhood dream.
Its sacred pitch has been the crucible of many classic matches across the decades: World Cups have been won here, as have FA Cups, European Cups, play-off finals and more. And that hallowed turf has also seen greyhounds, stunt motorcycles, American football, plus the feet of 72,000 music fans at Live Aid in 1985.Â
Nige Tassell chooses 100 matches – from the well known to the esoteric – that have shaped Wembley’s legacy and tells a lively and original alternative history of the past 100 years of football, and of Britain.Â We hear a ball boy’s perspective on the FA Cup Final when Bert Trautmann broke his neck, about the other commentator of the 1966 World Cup final, and why a cup-winning team of eleven unemployed menÂ didn’tÂ receive a trophy from a future king.Â
Field of Dreams isÂ the story of how football found its home.Â