MAY 22, 2023: WEMBLEY stadium has long banned any bag over the size of A4. If it is because of security, they need to know that weapons can come in far smaller sizes than a sheet of paper. If it is about restrictions around space and size then they should take a look at other aspects of their stadium, from turnstiles to seating. OK, thems the rules, nothing over A4. But what do we find when we arrive at Wembley Stadium station? A bag drop at the bargain price of £ 10. This was nothing short of scandalous, an opportunity to fleece the fans even more. A4 is also designed to restrict any idea that you could bring something to eat to the game, forcing you to buy some of Wembley’s quite inadequate catering. They create a captive audience and then compel you to buy junk food and poor quality beverages. Why do we put up with it?
Non-League finals day was disappointing from an entertainment perspective. The FA Vase final was poor and settled late on by a decent goal by Ascot United. The hordes of Newport Pagnell fans went home disappointed, their team didn’t do itself justice at all. However, their swift departure left a vast chasm of available seats in areas where stewards outnumbered the spectators. There is limited interest in the job of neutral fan in football these days.
The Trophy final was of a much higher quality, but again, it was not in any way a spectacle. And it was settled by a dreadful goal when the Gateshead keeper tried to clear but Halifax’s Jamie Cook’s body sent the ball into the net. What a pity a final should be settled in this way, but they all count.
Only 27,000 turned up for NLD, the smallest normal time crowd for the project. By the time we got back to London Kings Cross, Gateshead fans were already looking for their train home. Halifax wouldn’t be far behind, but they had something to celebrate. One can only hope the bag drop pirates were counting their losses.
Neil Fredrik Jensen