By: Jose Antonio Torres
Last Friday, April 28, the centenary of the mythical Wembley stadium, known as the Cathedral of football, as King Pelé called it, was celebrated, although it was demolished in 2002, to renovate it and build the new stadium, this It was erected in the same place where the previous one was built, keeping the same name, and mainly, its history and its same essence, and taking advantage of this occasion, I would like to share the memory of the trip that I had the opportunity to make in May 2010 to this majestic stadium to support the Mexican soccer team in their friendly match against England in London.
On that occasion I went on vacation to Madrid, taking advantage of the fact that a friend lived there, and the Champions League final was going to be played in Madrid in May of that year, the same in which the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was also played. For this reason, the Mexican soccer team held a series of friendly matches in several European countries, including the game against England at Wembley Stadium itself, which would serve as a farewell for the team of the three lions before their fans. ahead of his trip to the World Cup to be held that summer on the African continent.
The match was announced two months before, which gave my friend and I time to organize the trip, taking advantage of Madrid’s proximity to London and the low cost travel in Europe by plane, the Champions League final would be on Saturday, and the Tri’s game at Wembley would be the following Monday, which gave us the opportunity to make a quick two-day getaway to the English capital, and take the opportunity to see Mexico play on the Sacred Ground at Wembley , which for football fans was something that is not usually so common, and I had to take advantage of it.
I remember that a volcano erupted in Iceland at that time, and due to the ashes and dust that emerged from said eruption, there was a risk that the flight would be canceled due to safety reasons, but fortunately we were able to take the flight on time, we flew That same Monday from Madrid to London, and the flight was with many Mexicans who lived mainly in Madrid, and some in other Spanish cities, all with the same destination, Wembley, and the same illusion, to see our team play in one of the historical football stadiums in the World; the game was held in the evening, so it gave us the opportunity to visit some of the main tourist sites in London.
From the airport it was taking a subway to Victoria station and from there walking to Buckingham Palace, we arrived just to see a celebration that was taking place in the surroundings, because The Mall and the roundabout where the statue of Queen Victoria is adorned with flags of the United Kingdom, and when we arrived at the Palace, a parade of the guards with the typical black hats and red suits was finishing, to then walk through St James Park, where the atmosphere of the party was already beginning to live, with several English wearing the shirt of his selection.
It was a clear day, so several people took advantage of it to sunbathe in the park, it’s funny how they usually take advantage of the sun rising in those parts, from there we headed towards Whitehall to get to Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. Later we went to visit the Tower of London, from where we could see The Tower Bridge, and get to know one of the most famous and important castles in England; That place is very cool, the armor room, the crown jewels exhibition, the old cannons, its history and being able to see what London was like in those days. There we ran into more Mexican fans, so the atmosphere for the game began to feel more.
Wembley Stadium is in North West London, quite a distance by tube from the central part of the city, but first we had to go through another friend who lived to the East of the city, since he was going to host us that night, so the tourist-cultural visit concluded at the Tower of London. Now the main reason for the trip continued, to go to Wembley with the green well on, to support the Tricolor.
From the moment we arrived at the Wembley Park tube station, we already felt that typical match day atmosphere that is usually experienced in England. To get to Wembley, you walk along the pedestrian avenue of Olympic Way, in a journey of about 15 minutes, where you can see the stadium with its imposing high arch that is above the roof, around people selling the typical party scarves, a characteristic souvenir of English football; At that time, around Olympic Way there was a lot of construction going on, which today can be seen completed in commercial areas and apartments.
The stadium is impressive, the second largest in Europe, with capacity for 90,000 fans, which provides comfort to each one of them in whatever area they are located in. The Mexican fans were located in the lower lateral area, next to the shore of one of the headwaters, for which we had a magnificent view and proximity to the field.
As color for the match, the English federation made a permanent mosaic of the England flag throughout the match, which formed throughout the stadium; For this, they left white and red shirts in the seats, so that this mosaic could be formed, and to our surprise, they included the Mexicans, giving us green shirts with the name of Mexico on the back, leaving them in the seats of the grandstand where we were going to be located, so that a small mosaic could be formed within its large mosaic, forming the flag of Mexico, that was a great detail on behalf of the English federation.
The game was good, although the result for the tri was not so much, since they lost 3-1, but we had the opportunity to see the first goal that Mexico scored at Wembley in its history, Guille Franco did it, as well as being able to see figures from the English team such as Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, as well as figures from our team who stood out in European football at that time, such as Rafa Márquez, and who would stand out later, such as Chicharito.
This trip was a great experience, having had the opportunity to see my team play at Wembley, as a football fan, it has been something wonderful, singing the anthem on that field, supporting the tri, and living with the English fans, it was something Very cool, it was a great party. And that is something that this type of sports trip gives, you live a great atmosphere at all times and you can have the opportunity to live with people from other places and other cultures; Sport unites people, allows you to visit places and learn about new cultures, so if you have the opportunity to travel to a sporting event, such as going to a World Cup or the Olympic Games, for example, don’t hesitate, take advantage of it! they will regret it!