Stars celebrate Wembley’s 100th birthday

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Football legends and music icons are among those to have hailed Wembley Stadium on the day the famous London venue celebrates its 100th anniversary (April 28).

Wembley opened its doors for the first time for the FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United on this day in 1923. Since then, it has staged iconic events including 88 FA Cup Finals, the 1966 World Cup Final and Live Aid.

Sir Geoff Hurst, England’s hat-trick hero from the 1966 showpiece, said: “Wembley will always have a very special place in my heart for obvious reasons. It’s the place where I enjoyed one of the greatest days in my life and a venue, I still love going back to each time because of the memories it evokes.”

Stars including American rock group The Killers and Take That’s Gary Barlow have also been sharing their memories.

Many of the stars associated with Wembley’s most famous moments have been captured in a celebratory piece of artwork to mark the stadium’s landmark birthday.

The Wembley 100 Icons image features famous names from the worlds of football, sport, music, and politics, who have all performed at the iconic stadium in the last 100 years. It includes sporting icons such as Muhammed Ali, Bobby Moore, Lionel Messi, David Beckham, Leah Williamson and Harry Kane alongside music legends Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Beyonce.

Liam Boylan, Wembley Stadium director, said: “Wembley is a special place that holds a space in people’s hearts for many different reasons, whether that is through sport, music or the variety of other events that have taken place here over the years.

“Today, we want to celebrate that fact and look forward to another 100 years of fantastic, history making defining moments.”

Wembley was built as the centrepiece of the British Empire Exhibition, intended to showcase Britain as a global commercial power. Originally known as the Empire Stadium, over 200,000 fans flocked to its opening event – the 1923 FA Cup Final, when Bolton beat West Ham 2-0 in a match dubbed ‘the White Horse Final’ due to the famous footage of a police officer on a white horse named ‘Billie’ holding back the fans from the pitch. King George V was in attendance to present the trophy to the winning team.

Wembley was famously rebuilt in the early 2000s, with six FA Cup finals taking place in Cardiff between 2001-06. The original stadium’s famous Twin Towers were removed in what was a controversial decision for traditionalists, while the new venue is known for the 133-metre tall Wembley Arch.

After some test events, Wembley officially reopened on June 1, 2007 as England drew 1-1 with Brazil.

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