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All the ups and downs of the rollercoaster campaign to redevelop Wembley Stadium.

Wembley Index

Venue Index

 
  • 11 March 1998 - Wembley Stadium is sold for £103m to a Football Association/English Sports Council consortium, ending months of wrangling.

     

  • 24 July 1998 - Officials confirm that the famous Twin Towers will be demolished as part of the redevelopment programme.

     

  • 29 July 1998 - Plans for the new stadium are officially unveiled. The stadium design offers "vastly improved facilities, superb spectator views and a huge arch, three times the height of the Twin Towers which will be visible across the whole of London". Work is expected to start in the summer of 1999.

     

  • 2 December 1999 - Culture Secretary Chris Smith orders a re-design which would allow the Olympics to be held in an arena for which the proposed cost is now £475m.

     

  • 22 December 1999 - Smith orders Wembley to be developed as a football-only venue and tells stadium officials to repay £20m of their £120m Sport England lottery grant.

     

  • 1 February 2000 - WNSL chairman Ken Bates blasts Smith's decision. "On 29 July it was the perfect solution. On 30 July it was a walking disaster. Why, I do not know," he said.

     

  • 1 June 2000 - Planning permission for the new stadium is received from Brent Council but only after council leader Paul Daisley forces Wembley to stump up extra cash to pay for new road and rail links around the ground.

     

  • 6 July 2000 - WNSL officials insist the redevelopment will go ahead despite England losing their 2006 World Cup bid.

     

  • 11 September 2000 - Australian construction company Multiplex signs a contract to build the new stadium for a maximum price of £326.5m. However, plans to open the new ground with the 2003 FA Cup Final are officially shelved.

     

  • 25 October 2000 - Demolition work is put back indefinitely as bankers Chase Manhattan experience extreme difficulty in trying to raise the £410m required to complete the work.

     

  • 7 December 2000 - Football Association chief executive Adam Crozier is set to step in to assume a more hands-on role in the project to renovate Wembley amid further concerns over costs and delays.

     

  • 8 December 2000: Bates is handed a unanimous vote of confidence over his handling of the Wembley project but the FA confirms changes will be made to the scheme, which includes Sir Rodney Walker appointed chairman of the project and declares that athletics could still play a part.

     

  • 8 February 2001 - Ken Bates quits the project, claiming he has been undermined by senior figures within both the government and the Football Association. He memorably declares: "Even Jesus Christ only had one Pontius Pilate - I had a whole team of them."

     

  • 7 April 2001 - WNSL chief executive Bob Stubbs reveals that selling the new stadium to a Premiership club could be one of the solutions to on-going funding problems.

     

  • 1 May 2001 - The Football Association admits the project is doomed to failure unless the government bails it out.

     

  • 3 May 2001 - Home Secretary Jack Straw heads the first meeting of a group of six ministers charged with examining the Wembley fiasco.

     

  • 8 May 2001 - Straw appoints millionaire businessman Patrick Carter as Wembley stadium supremo and gives him eight weeks to report on the options left for the beleaguered project.

     

  • August 2001 - Carter is due to hand his report to Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, with a decision from the Government expected in late September.

     

  • 19 December 2001 - The FA announces Wembley as its preferred site for the stadium, although the Government warns there is much work still to be done.

     

  • 15 January 2002 WNSL announce that their board of 13 directors will stand down en masse and a new, smaller board will be formed to help get the project back on track.

     

  • 3 May 2002 The FA inform Tessa Jowell that that the five tests she set for the project have been "substantially met" and work can soon begin.

    Funding is expected to come from German bank Westdeutsche Landesbank.

     

  • 31 May 2002 The FA sign "heads of agreement" with Westdeutsche Landesbank for a £400m loan. They estimate work can begin in September after a 10-week delay to sort out the fine print.

     

  • 10 July 2002 Sport England branded "slack, slovenly and supine" over the decision to contribute £120m to the project in a report published by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

     

  • 25 September 2002 Redevelopment expected to be given final go-ahead - but stadium could now cost £750m.

     

  • 7 February 2003 The famous Wembley twin towers are demolished by a giant excavator. Taken down brick by brick, the rubble is to be used in the construction of the new stadium.

     

  • 28 November 2003 FA confident the new stadium will open early, in spring 2006, as building at the north London site is five weeks ahead of schedule.

     

  • 28 May 2004 Wembley's iconic arch was being raised into position, the first stage in its installation. The 440ft structure weighing 2,000 tons has been suspended by cables and the operation is expected to completed in coming weeks.

     

  • 7 January 2005 Football fans, joined by England legend Sir Geoff Hurst, given their first glimpse inside the new Wembley Stadium.

     

  • 18 August 2005 Wembley Stadium developer Multiplex report lower-than-expected profits. The firm was hit by delays and cost overruns at its Wembley project.

     

  • 4 December 2005 A time capsule is buried under what will be the pitch at London's new Wembley Stadium. Mementos placed in the capsule include a signed England football shirt, 2012 Olympic bid memorabilia and part of the old stadium's twin towers.

     

  • 30 January 2006 Wembley developers and the FA warn the new stadium is now only 70% likely to be ready in time for the FA Cup final on 13 May. Cardiff's Millennium Stadium is on stand-by to host the event once more.

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