During the months of May and June, one million people will go through the turnstiles of Wembley Stadium, consuming 650,000 pints of beer and a quarter of a million burgers in the process. The famous venue has been a hive of activity from the FA Vase final on 4 May and will remain in pretty much constant usage until pop icon Robbie Williams plays his final concert on 5 July.
Between those dates, Wembley will have played host to the FA Cup Final, the first international match between England and Republic of Ireland at Wembley for 22 years and the crowning glory of European club football, the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund today. Seven pieces of silverware will also be presented in that time.
The person charged with event management, ticketing, as well as health and safety compliance for all of these events is Lindsey Jackson, Director of Event Owner Delivery. Not only is she relatively calm about these showpiece events, she’s relishing each and every one of them.
“When you are at a venue you want it to be in use, it brings everything to life,” she told FIFA.com. “That’s what we’re all here to do and it’s great to have these events. We started with the FA Cup semi-finals in April. Wembley is slightly different in that we have a quieter period over Christmas than most football stadia - our pinnacle is around May.
“We’re pretty co-ordinated and efficient in how we turn Wembley around. The team have got a huge amount of experience about what can be achieved over a short time. All of our planning across the whole year is for now; it’s a really exciting time for us. Just to see the fans and players celebrating, the trophy lift, well everybody here has played a part of it. To think we helped them to achieve a little part of that is something quite special.”
Jackson was involved in the bidding process for the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final, which Wembley staged, as Barcelona defeated Manchester United, so today’s encounter will be the second time in just three years that Europe’s elite have gone head-to-head under the famous arch.
“Reaching a Champions League final is an overwhelming experience for a club, there’s a lot that a club needs to deliver, but we just try to make it as easy as we possibly can for them,” she continued. “We approach it in the way that everybody’s time at Wembley is unique. Our brand is ‘Inspiring Memories’ – and so for each and every person that comes to the stadium we try to treat them all equally, whoever it may be.
“If it’s the FA Vase team it’s still their final, the culmination of their tournament, the pinnacle of their year. That’s regardless of whether it’s Spennymoor Town or Bayern Munich it’s still incredibly special for anybody connected with those clubs and we try to meet them all accordingly.”
Wembley’s Head of Ticketing, Andrew Falvey has estimated that the 90,000 printed tickets would stretch the nine miles from Wembley Stadium to Trafalgar Square, but it isn’t just the superstars of football who are gracing the famous venue over the English summer. Bruce Springsteen, The Killers and former Take That star Williams will entertain 80,000 fans in concerts.
"There’s no rest for us after the Champions League Final,” smiled Jackson. “We go straight into our concert planning. Our team is concentrating on seven music concerts that we’ve got throughout June and July. It’s fantastic!”