A taste of whats to come
PUBLISHED: 17:08 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:39 23 August 2010
WALKING through the tunnel into the heart of one of the most famous football stadiums in the world is something I will always remember, writes Ed Riley. Stepping out onto the pitch of Wembley Stadium, surrounded by 90,000 seats rising 52 metres above you
WALKING through the tunnel into the heart of one of the most famous football stadiums in the world is something I will always remember, writes Ed Riley.
Stepping out onto the pitch of Wembley Stadium, surrounded by 90,000 seats rising 52 metres above you, is awe-inspiring.
On Monday, Ebbsfleet United bosses got a taste of what it will be like to walk out onto the perfect green turf on May 10 when they take on Torquay United in the FA Trophy final.
The Football Association (FA) gave representatives from both clubs and the media a tour of the £800 million stadium that will host one of the biggest games in the their history.
Speaking at pitchside, club captain Paul McCarthy said: "I have been here for just a few minutes and it has brought a lump to my throat. We were delighted to reach the final and know we were going to Wembley, but when you see it like this first hand it really brings home just how special it will be for everyone involved in the club on the day. It's truly incredible. If I am selected to play on the day it will be an absolutely fantastic honour to lead the team out."
The group were shown the away dressing room, walked through the tunnel onto pitch side and climbed the 107 steps to the royal box where the trophy was sitting proudly on display.
We were then led to the top tier seating where you could take in the breathtaking size of the arena. You could only imagine what it might be like when thousands of Fleet fans fill the stadium.
Head coach Liam Daish said: "To see it like this is hitting home what a great day is in store, and what a fantastic prize for the players that they will get to play somewhere like this.
"I came here last year and sat up in the royal box on my own and had a little moment, wondering how great it would be to be involved in a game here. Just a year later, we have been given that chance. At the moment we are playing a lot of games, and I haven't been able to talk to the players too much about how it might be, but as it gets nearer, you start to realise it. It is going to be something to savour."
So far, 17,000 tickets have been sold to Ebbsfleet United fans, with 7,000 of these going to MyFootballClub members. Torquay United have sold 9,000.
Chairman Brian Kilcullen said: "To see Wembley like this you start getting nervous and excited. Imagine how the players feel, they will have that feeling three times over. I live and work in the town, and I know how excited everyone is to be come and watch their team play here. It will be an historic event.