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