Wembley widgets | Budget might be in the tank, but there’s a place in commode

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London | The new Wembley Stadium, promoters claim, has more toilets (2,618) than any other building in the world. We are skeptical. If the Sears Tower in Chicago does not have more toilets, we would be sorely disappointed.

Nevertheless, Simon Garfield writes at length about the cost overruns (the cost has rocketed to £757 million, up from the 1996 estimate of £180 million) and the legends of the previous Wembley, which included death-defying feats from Evel Knievel, papal Masses and the 1966 World Cup finals. “Watching football at Wembley had a Blitz spirit about it,” writes Garfield,

to the point that being crushed on the terraces as urine cascaded down the steps was something to be mourned. It was a dump, but it was the dump where England won the World Cup.

Former Labour sports minister Kate Hoey objected to the lack of permanent facilities for track and field at the new facility as well as the use of lottery money to subsidize the project. “Wembley will go down in history as something that could have been handled far better and produced a far better result for football,” she says. “It will certainly please those who lord themselves with corporate entertainment.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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