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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK


Sport: Football

Football accepts new-look Wembley

Wembley is set to be dramatically re-designed

The news that Wembley's Twin Towers have no place in the stadium's £475m re-design was met with mixed acceptance on Thursday by fans and players alike.

The Towers, which have gained legendary status over the years, are to be replaced by four sky-scraping steel masts.

In general, reaction to the changes was favourable, although many were sad the structures would no longer dominate the north-east London skyline.

  • The chairman of the National Federation of Football Supporters' Clubs, Ian Todd, said: "Although Wembley has a tremendous amount of history attached to it, I think that what supporters in general really want is to be comfortable, and they certainly haven't been that for the last few years - there's not much knee room.

    "A state-of-the-art stadium in which they will be comfortable and will enjoy an uninterrued view of the game is a prime consideration.

    "It is sad that they can't be maintained in some sort of feature within the design, but it is an ultra-modern design which doesn't really lend itself to that sort of replication."

  • Shiela (Shiela) Spiers, on the national committee of the Football Supporters' Association, said: "If the price of having a modern stadium, fit for fans to go to, is to lose the Twin Towers, then so be it.

    "The football authorities must ensure that this wonderful stadium has prices the fans can afford."

  • George Cohen, 1966 England World Cup-winner said: "It would have been nice to have kept the Towers, but as a developer myself I can understand the economics of why they cannot be retained.

    "I remember in 1966 that it was always wonderful to see the Towers as you approached the stadium from a distance because you know you are getting near to Wembley.

    "I will be sad to see them go. But I accept that they have no practical use, and if the authorities are going to make a clean sweep then so be it - because times change. Let's hope the money they are saving by not incorporating them is put towards the safety and infrastructure of the new stadium."

  • Former England star Trevor Brooking said: "The Twin Towers will always be an emotive issue, but I think we should judge the new stadium when it is built and when we see what atmosphere is created.

    "There will be a near-90,000 crowd, and that will create its own noise level. All new stadia have their own special atmosphere. The new Wembley will have its own atmosphere in the same way the old Wembley had."

  • Former Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt said: "I am disappointed that it has not been possible to keep the Towers in the new stadium. Wembley without the Twin Towers will not be Wembley in my view.

    "The Towers are synonymous with Wembley, and we all talk about them whenever we talk about the stadium. When I was growing up watching cup finals at Wembley I always marvelled at them.

    "The traditions of English football, such as winning the World Cup in 1966, are based around Wembley, and it is still my favourite stadium in the world of all the ones I've played in. There is an aura about the place that will be lost when the stadium is demolished."



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