On 25th May this year, nearly 90,000 football fans will descend on Wembley Stadium to see two of Europe’s top football teams battle it out in the Champions League Final. This will mark the seventh time that the venue has hosted the competition’s endgame, although for the first time in 17 years there won’t be any home teams represented, as both Manchester United and Arsenal were knocked out at the group stage.
Despite the fact that you can’t cheer on an English side this year’s final is bound to be a real spectacle, as 2013 is the Football Association’s 150th Anniversary – rest assured that they’ll be pulling out all the stops to entertain the crowds at the game. If you’d like to go along, why not try your luck by entering the competition being run by PokerListings.com, which is offering a pair of tickets to the final, as well as two night’s accommodation at a four-star hotel that’s convenient for Wembley.
With a prize valued at over euros 5000, the competition couldn’t be simpler to enter – just head to the site’s Competition of the Month page and fill out the entry form with your name, email address, and answer to the question that will be presented on the page. If you get the answer right you’ll be entered into a draw to win this fantastic prize – the lucky winner will be notified by email on 29 March.
Whether you get lucky in the competition or not, Wembley is a fascinating venue that’s definitely worth a visit. The old stadium, which was built in 1923 for George V’s British Empire Exhibition of the following year, wasn’t actually intended to survive past the exhibition even though it had successfully hosted an FA Cup final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham, held to test the venue’s ability to host big events. Fortunately, sense finally prevailed and so it continued as the national football stadium for another seventy six years, long enough for Pele to dub it the ‘cathedral of football’. Although it finally closed in 2000 and was subsequently demolished, you don’t have to go very far to find it – the thousands of tons of concrete that made up the stadium were used to create the hills of Northala Fields, just off the A40 in Northolt.
Of course while it lacks the history of its predecessor, the current Wembley Stadium is arguably a much better venue. Designed by Sir Norman Foster and opened in 2007, it’s marked out on the skyline by the huge steel hoop that loops out over the pitch. No-one’s ever been able to explain to me why that feature is actually necessary, but lit up on match nights it looks absolutely spectacular.
Good luck with your competition entry – if you do win there’s a good chance that you’ll be witness to a very spicy affair, as both Barcelona and Juventus are in with a chance to make it to the Champions League Final this year.