The new English domestic season kicked off this weekend, with the return of football league action plus the traditional Wembley curtain raiser – the FA Community Shield. This heralded the start of the fifth season of action at the new national stadium since its completion in time for the end-of-season finals in 2006-07, and this will be its busiest season yet, culminating with the UEFA Champions League final in May 2011.
This year’s Community Shield was the 44th competitive club match since the re-opening* and fittingly it featured the two clubs that have made the new stadium their second home: Chelsea (with a record 9 appearances) and Manchester United (with 8 appearances). In fact, Manchester United have played in all four of the Community Shield matches since the event moved to the new Wembley, winning three and losing one of them. In that period, the team that has won the Shield has always gone on to win the league, so Alex Ferguson will take great heart from his side’s 3-1 victory yesterday.
A grand total of 51 club teams have earned the honour of running out onto the new Wembley turf (which finally seems to be a decent playing surface) in the four and a bit years since the stadium opened. The most notable absentees from that list are Liverpool and Manchester City, who will both be hoping they can put that record right sooner rather than later. 18 teams have now played at the stadium on more than one occasion, with debt stricken Portsmouth the third most frequent visitors (5 times) followed by Stevenage, Cardiff and Tottenham (3 times each).
Of the 18 teams who have visited more than once, only two have managed to keep a 100% winning record at English football’s biggest venue and it seems it’s good news if you’re a northern seaside resort – Blackpool and Whitley Bay are the undefeated pair. It’s not such good news for Aston Villa, York, Shrewsbury, Cambridge and West Brom – they are the five teams to have played at the new Wembley more than once and failed to win on either occasion, with Cambridge and West Brom failing to even find the net on any of their visits.**
Comfortably the biggest win at the new Wembley is Whitley Bay’s 6-1 trouncing of Wroxham in the 2009-10 FA Vase final. The next biggest margins of victory are Southampton’s 4-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy thrashing of Carlisle United and Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa, both also in the 2009-10 season. By far the most common scoreline (including after extra time) is 1-0, which has happened on 13 occasions (or 29.5% of the time), followed by 2-1 (on 7 occasions). In total, 113 goals have now been scored in competitive club football at the new Wembley at an average of 2.57 goals per game. Chelsea’s 14 is easily the biggest contribution from a single club.
There have only been five new-Wembley penalty shoot-outs to date and incredibly Manchester United have been involved in them all, winning three and losing two. United have also been a participant in all three 0-0 draws thus far at the new Wembley.
The full record for the teams who have made more than one appearance at the new Wembley Stadium is shown below:
*The full list of competitive club matches played at the stadium is: FA Cup final and semi finals, League Cup Final, Community Shield, Championship, League One, League Two and Conference Play-Off Finals, FA Trophy Final, FA Vase Final and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final.
**In the event of a draw, we took into account the result after extra time and penalties – there are only winners and losers in club football at Wembley.