By David Michael
Standing on the Holte End as the final whistle blew in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Bradford City, as must Villa supporters did, I felt cheated and distraught about missing out on a trip to Wembley. For Villa, these kind of trips don’t come around frequent enough. Drawing Bradford in the semi was a banker for day out in London. Defeat was a bitter pill to swallow. No Capital One Cup Final, but little did I know at the time though, short-term pain would lead to long-term gain…
What No Twin Towers?
Lets be honest, even though that Wembley arch lights up at night, it’s not the same as seeing the infamous Twin Towers as you approach the stadium. “Villa have a trip to the arch” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
The Pie Prices
The best thing about not going to Wembley is not getting stung by the ridiculous daylight-robbery pie prices at the stadium. Almost a fiver for a soggy old pie! £1.30 for a packet of Walkers Crisps; now that’s really taking the p**s.
Flat Beer Fiver
A fiver for a plastic glass of flat watered down beer and zero choice in the beer stakes too. Jesus – how much for a can of Red Bull! Has the world gone mad? Go to Twickenham and you can get a choice of several beers, including a decent pint of Guinness and the choice of food is on a totally different level.
The good folk of Bradford City – who have saved us Villa fans from being ripped off at the League Cup final – found out first hand, how Wembley seems intent of squeezing every penny out of football fans, when they were told it would cost them £1500 if they wanted to surf a giant flag to commemorate the 56 victims of the Valley Parade fire of 1985.
The reason the Bradford fans were given was it would need specially trained stewards to facilitate such a flag. It’s an unbelievable attitude.
OK, you might need some stewards to help sort this out, but isn’t this meant to be the national stadium where these things are to be expected. At the recent England vs Brazil game (where I took these pictures), there was a St George’s flag mosaic display before the game. They were happy to pay for that.
This £1500 cost shouldn’t have even been brought up. Wembley could have had a word with the club and also the FA who both eventually offered to foot the bill, and sorted it out quietly, rather than being insensitive to the memory of the 56 fallen supporters. Also, why even try to be difficult with the supporters of a team who are making a one-off fairytale visit to a cup final? After all, Wembley could have covered the flag costs with the profit they’ll make on Walkers Crisps alone!
The attitude of the modern game really does suck.
No Nightmare Exit from Wembley
Be thankful for small mercies. Trying to leave Wembley after a game (especially if you lose) is probably more difficult than breaking out of Alcatraz.
Once again, thanks Bradford City for saving us Villa fans from all of the above. We can have a nice hassle-free Sunday afternoon. On a serious note, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish the Bantams the very best of luck in the final. It would be amazing if you won it. Swansea City deserve their final day too, as they’ve been a breath of fresh air in the Premiership (and very generous to the Villa in donating four points to our relegation struggle). It should be a cracking final.
Just make sure you eat and drink before and after the game!
* Venglos View is a satirical column, although we’re serious about the Wembley prices!
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