Rowell Report: Wonderful Wembley

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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EVEN though Sunday’s cup final ended in defeat, the whole day, or the weekend in many fans’ cases, was special, and leaves you wanting more.

Quite simply, Wembley is addictive.

The successful clubs are regulars and there’s nothing like a major cup final at Wembley to raise a club’s profile both at home and abroad.

The great and the good find their way there and you see celebrities milling around just like any other fan – whether it be Noel Gallagher in the Press Room or Sunderland fan Jordan Henderson in the stands.

Playing at the nation’s showpiece stadium is glamorous and high profile and it makes you wonder why some managers don’t take the cup seriously when there’s such a great reward at the end.

Sunday’s cup final was the first time I’d visited Wembley since its redevelopment and the sheer size and scale of everything is impressive.

Walking to the stadium, you see the huge arch on the skyline and the fans I saw as I went to Wembley all seemed to be wearing red and white.

When I entered the ground I was determined to take it all in and enjoy the occasion as well as the game itself.

I made a point of going pitchside with my Echo colleagues to see Wembley from different angles and perspectives and we also witnessed Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips being interviewed for Sky TV.

I was in my seat a full hour before kick-off as I wanted to see the stadium fill up and come to life.

By now, I think the whole country knows about our fans’ invasion of Covent Garden and Leicester Square, where the pub-owners and landlords probably took more in one weekend than they usually would in a month.

If only Sunderland could have gone home with the trophy.

We all wanted it so badly but it wasn’t to be.

But as we are still in the FA Cup, the chance is there to do it all again.