Hendon to play at Wembley Stadium

Greensnet Editor
Sun 01 Apr 2007, 00:00

Wembley Stadium, The Football Association, the London Borough of Brent and Hendon Football Club are delighted to announce that the Greens will be playing at the newly-refurbished Wembley Stadium in season 2007-08.

The situation arose after The FA and Brent Council remained dissatisfied with the amount of activity at The Stadium in its first season of operation. The Council noted from reading local newspapers that Hendon were shortly to lose their home of 81 years, Claremont Road, and as the club is based less than a mile from the Borough's border, there was synergy.

A Brent Councillor, on guarantee of anonymity, said, "We had seen that Hendon Football Club were having problems with their ground and we knew of their negotiations to groundshare with another Football Club in our Borough.

"As the usage of Wembley Stadium is still unsatisfactory, and problems with regard to ticketing remain unresolved, we contacted The Football Association to propose allowing a small Club to use the stadium for the season.

"There are three very good reasons for this from a local perspective why Hendon are the perfect choice. Firstly, as a senior Non-League football club, attendances at matches will vary from hundreds to maybe a few thousand, thus meaning that various levels of stewarding can be tested.

"Secondly, many of Hendon's supporters live in the London of Borough of Brent, so for them to go to Claremont Road or Wembley Stadium makes little difference in terms of journey time.

"And thirdly, maybe most importantly, as the cost of visiting Wembley Stadium for major matches, such as internationals or Cup Finals, will be very high and for football fans everywhere the chance to watch a competitive match at the Stadium at a reasonable price is an excellent one. Hendon FC are bound by their League's rules regarding maximum admission prices and these will not change, even though they will be playing at possibly the best stadium in the world."

The Ryman League are delighted with the move. "Hendon Football Club have been members of this League for more than 40 years and have a proud tradition. It will be a shame to see their old stadium disappear, but it has been in need of major restorative work for a number of seasons.

"League regulations regarding ground grading will have to be met, so stand-alone dugouts will have to be in place. However, because the regulation regarding covered standing accommodation for spectators was waived when Yeovil Town were members - they had more than 4,000 covered seats and allowed standing spectators to use the seats in inclement weather - it is only fair that with 92,000 covered seats, standing under cover will not be necessary for matches at this venue."

An FA spokesman said, "We have made certain representations to Hendon Football Club and the Ryman League regarding the use of Wembley Stadium. We are happy that many more fans will get the chance to visit the Stadium for football matches, but there is an agreement that Hendon will neither train on the pitch more than once per week and they will neither train nor play matches on the pitch at any time within 10 days of a major match, be it an international, special event or Cup final."

Brent Council's controversial "exclusion zone" for events at Wembley Stadium will not be enforced for any Hendon match, so the Car Park - at minimal cost - and local transport facilities will be available for spectators.

Hendon Football Club manager Gary McCann said, "This is fantastic news for the Club. It will make quite a change to play at Wembley Stadium after all these years at Claremont Road. We all know that the facilities here are not the best, and attracting players has been a problem on occasion.

"It always was the biggest ambition of my career to play at Wembley Stadium. I think I might have to come out of retirement for a game or two next season."