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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
In the lap of luxury
BBC Sport Online looks at how it will feel to watch sport in the new Wembley in 2006.

Now that all the deliberation and indecision is finally over, England can look forward to a new national stadium - a new Wembley in fact.

But after years of delays and revised plans, how will Sir Norman Foster's vision of Wembley's replacement fare in reality and what will it be like watching sport in the new Wembley?

When walking down Wembley Way, the Twin Towers loomed large on the horizon and their proud stance instilled fans with a sense of occasion.

Their replacement needs to be something special and the 133m tall arch, which sits above the north stand, promises to be just that.

One of Wembley's old twin towers
The twin towers will make way for the triumphant arch

The arch, which measures 315m in length, will be the longest single roof structure in the world and it will be visible across London.

As well as providing a stunning highlight of the new stadium, the arch also supports the roof, of which half is retractable.

And best of all, the arch ensures there are no pillars needed for support so every fan will have a perfect view of the pitch - something for which the old Wembley was criticised.

All 90,000 spectators will sit in a single bowl, as opposed to four individual stands. This will bring together the entire crowd and help to create a fantastic atmosphere.

The old Wembley was famous for the level of crowd noise and superb acoustics.

Players often said there was no experience quite like running onto the pitch and being greeted by the tremendous roar.

So, it is good to know the acoustics of the new venue will be based upon those of the old - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

New levels of comfort

Each and every fan will be under cover, with the retractable roof able to slide from the on position to the edge of the touchline in just 15 minutes.

Leg room is greatly increased and now measures more than was given in the Royal Box in the old stadium.

If all the rows of seating were placed end to end, they would stretch 54km, giving more evidence of the spacious nature of the new venue.

And if you want, you can sit back, gorge on fast-food and watch the action on two giant screens - each of them is the size of 600 household TV sets.

The call of nature, should it interrupt your viewing pleasure, can be answered via one of the 2000 toilets in the stadium.

That should cut down on queues - a particularly annoying feature of the old Wembley.


But of course Wembley is not only host to football, but rugby and athletics too.

The new Wembley will be capable of accommodating athletics to IAAF standards - with the track constructed on a removable, elevated platform.

With the platform in place, 68,400 people will be able to attend athletics meetings.

The viewing experience, seat comfort and access to state of the art facilities should mean England will have a stadium to match the world's best.

And if so, FA chief executive Adam Crozier's boast that "the new Wembley will become an even greater icon" will not be a hollow one.

Will the new Wembley be worth the money?



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