Right throughout the world there are some incredible stadia and venues that have become synonymous with a particular sport; these same places have seen world class performances, memorable matches and incident packed excitement for thousands of spectators.
Recently modernised, Wembley Stadium is often referred to as ‘The Home of Football’, reflecting the game’s English origins. It now has a capacity of 90,000 which makes it the second largest stadium in Europe, behind Barcelona’s Camp Nou. This hugely impressive structure with its sliding roof design came at a cost of almost £800 million, making it the most expensive stadium development anywhere in the world.
Wembley has hosted many famous football moments throughout the years, including the 1966 Word Cup final which saw England land the coveted trophy for the first time. 1977 saw a very different set of circumstances which are still talked about today as Scotland supporters invaded the Wembley pitch and destroyed one set of the goalposts on live UK television.
When you mention snooker, one venue in particular always springs to mind: the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. This venue has played host to the Word Snooker Championships since 1977 and is widely regarded by professional players and fans alike as the best anywhere in the world. It has witnessed some truly remarkable tension and excitement over the years, with particular highlights including Cliff Thorburn’s televised maximum 147 break in 1983 and Dennis Taylor’s black ball triumph over the legendary Steve Davis in 1985, which upset all the odds and had a nation glued to its screens. History continues to be made at The Crucible and the 2008 championships saw two maximum 147 breaks for the first time ever in the latter stages of a ranking event, made by Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter.
There can be few more thrilling sights in world sport than watching a Formula One car racing through the streets of Monte Carlo. The deafening roar as the drivers skilfully negotiate their way past the beautiful harbour, through the long sweeping tunnel and past the majestic hotels and casinos that line the streets is a truly remarkable sound. The Monaco Grand Prix is an awesome spectacle in a truly stunning setting.
Without doubt one of the most famous locations in the world of golf is the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA. Since 1934 it’s been home to the prestigious Masters tournament and the much sought after green jacket that comes with the title of Masters Champion. The lush green surroundings make this a remarkably scenic venue for one of the major events in world golf and the course has borne witness to some stunning climaxes. 1986, for example, saw a truly memorable moment in Master’s history with the ‘Golden Bear’ himself, Jack Nicklaus pipping Greg Norman by one shot for the title some 23 years after he’d first claimed the trophy back in 1963. And who can forget Scotland’s Sandy Lyle (the first Briton to wear the coveted Green Jacket) after his stunning approach from a bunker found the 18th green and led to his winning birdie in 1988?
More recently, Tiger Woods has become almost synonymous with the Georgia course, winning the US Masters 4 times, including a runaway twelve shot winning margin in 1997, which made him the youngest ever winner, as well as holding the record for the lowest winning score.
But whether its golf at Augusta, rugby at Twickenham, horse racing at Aintree or any other sport at any other venue, every one has a story to tell of triumph and hard luck.