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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 17:15 GMT
Doors finally open at new Wembley
Crowds make their trip along the new Wembley Way
The facilities at the venue are being tested
The doors at the new Wembley Stadium have opened for the first time for a special community event.

Up to 60,000 Brent residents tested turnstiles and escalators as part of the safety certificate application process for May's FA Cup final.

Football games were held on the pitch and visitors tested the 2,618 toilets - more than any other venue in the world.

The 757m ground was due to reopen in August 2005 but hold-ups led to music and sports events being cancelled.

Members of England fan club Englandfans were also invited to Saturday's "community day", which featured music and dancers from the local area.

The main attraction was a celebrity tournament featuring teams including Chris Evans, Jamie Theakston, John Barnes, Brian McFadden and Tim Lovejoy. Mark Bright scored the first goal at the new stadium in one of the celebrity games.

Wembley Stadium managing director Alex Horne said it was the first step towards gaining the safety certificate needed to host the FA Cup final.

"We still remain on track to host the 2007 FA Cup final," he said.

I want the Cup Final here in May
Brian Barwick, FA Chief Executive

"But the FA will only announce the 2007 Cup final at Wembley once the stadium has been granted its general safety certificate."

The FA's Chief Executive, Brian Barwick, said he felt really proud.

"This is a moment we've been waiting for - a stadium with people in it and with footballers on the pitch," he said.

"Today and next Saturday are about us learning about the stadium, learning about how to give people a good time here and making sure they're safe and secure.

"And when we've got all that in order and Brent Council are happy with that, we'll get our safety certificate. I want the Cup Final here in May."

Interior of Wembley Stadium on visitors' day
Visitors were dwarfed by the 90,000-seater capacity
The old Wembley, which opened in 1923, closed in 2000 and was demolished in 2002.

Alistair Lenczner, an associate partner with the stadium's architects, Foster and Partners, said the old arena's famous twin towers were still part of the building.

He said: "When they were crushed, some of the crush material was actually used to go into the concrete, which went into the foundations of the new stadium, so the ghost of the old twin towers is there.

"But I think the optimism of the new arch is what the new stadium is all about."

The Rolling Stones, Take That, Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams were forced to switch venues as the stadium missed its planned re-opening date, while last year's FA Cup final was relocated to Cardiff.

An under-21s game between England and Italy will be the first competitive football match to be played at the rebuilt stadium on 24 March.

George Michael will be the first performer to play there on 9 June.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Wembley's first visitors give their views on the stadium



SEE ALSO
Wembley game 'sold out' in hours
13 Mar 07 |  England
FA takes control of Wembley keys
10 Mar 07 |  Football
Wembley photos
10 Mar 07 |  Photo Galleries
Wembley Q&A
10 Mar 07 |  Football
Play-offs to miss out on Wembley
31 Jan 07 |  Football
Wembley firm 'will seek damages'
06 Jun 06 |  Business

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