Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Acast, Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Unveiled: Fa’s New Cash Cow

Johnny visits the new Wembley

Johnny Pundit: Closet George Michael fan
Johnny Pundit: Closet George Michael fan
Wembley: Cheap at half the price
Wembley: Cheap at half the price
Big Mal: Suspicious stains
Big Mal: Suspicious stains
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, Wembley. They were taking all the commentators round so I had a jolly good nose about. Impressive stuff…
A snip at £750m
…though you'd think it would be for £750m. It's the most expensive stadium on the planet. What's more, it's got 2,617 toilets — more than anywhere else in the world. It's like a temple for the incontinent; a palace for the loose-bowelled. It costs about £200,000 for a box each year; believe the nice tour lady said there were 100 boxes, each for five years minimum. 'That's the first £100m sorted out then', muttered Fothergill. It's also got the largest restaurant in London. Factor in the profits from hospitality, big name sponsorship (Microsoft, Carlsberg, Umbro), laughably expensive burgers for the plebs, forbiddingly priced tickets, and concert revenues, and suddenly £750m looks a snip.
A spot of wind
Two things struck me, however. On the tour, we passed a couple of eateries. Fine: except there were branded 'Seafood and Champagne bars'. Now I'm sorry, but I don't remember seeing those when I played for the Hammers in the 1955-56 season (come to think of it, I don't remember seeing them at the Reebok last season). Champagne's only roles in football should be coursing down over the sides of the FA Cup, or leaving suspicious stains on Malcolm Allison's sheepskin coat. As with the national stadium, though, so the national game. The wind of change is blowing and, as so often with a spot of wind, it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Wot! No bath?
The other thing that astonished me was the changing rooms. You won't believe this, but there's no communal bath! Why not? 'Health and safety'! On the other hand, the hand dryers in the gents' were nuclear-strength and actually worked — marvellous! I consider that part of the £750m well spent. Progress, I suppose, is like jam: sometimes you get the fruit, sometimes you get the peel

Johnny Pundit

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