Monday, 18 April 2011

Wembley Park Rubbish Dump

Returning to Wembley on Saturday evening after a brief holiday,  I was struck by the enormous amount of rubbish on Bridge Road and Forty Lane left by fans attending the match between Manchester United and Manchester City.  The bright blue carrier bags, discarded beer cans and take-away containers were scattered over the pavements, in the gutter, and on the grassy banks of the flats opposite ASDA. It was clear that many fans bought beer in bulk from the shops and then drank it at the roadside.

As I walked up Bridge Road local residents were steering their way through the rubbish and stepping over pools of beer on the pavement.  A child of about seven clutched his mother's hand and complained about the 'horrible smell'. On the corner I encountered a gang of street cleaners desperately trying to work out a practical way of tacking the mess in the time allotted to them.

There was much more debris than usual because of Saturday's late 5.15pm kick-off which allowed fans to get hours of solid drinking and snacking in before the match. According to the Guardian the late kick-off, arranged for the benefit of maximising ITV's live audience, had been criticised by the police, who saw it as a 'high grade' risk and by Virgin Trains. Alex Ferguson criticised the massive consumption of fuel entailed in getting two sets of Manchester fans down to London. The FA requires semi-finals to be played at Wembley to help pay for the out-standing stadium construction fees.

A suited drinker who was not a football fan approached me to ask where the nearest pub was as both the Torch and the Crock of Gold had closed because of the pressure of too many drinkers.  The Council's decision to build a mega library at the new Civic Centre, close to the stadium, looks even more foolish in the light of these events. Will the library have to close on match days and match evenings?