You wouldn’t usually associate staircases with famous sporting events and venues, but you’d be surprised how many actually feature as part of sports folklore…
The most famous steps in English sport are those leading up to the Royal Box at Wembley Stadium. At the old stadium, there were 39 steps and every year the winning captain would lead his team up to receive the FA Cup. And its most famous moment came in 1966 when Bobby Moore was presented with the World Cup by the Queen after England had beaten West Germany in extra time.
When the old stadium was demolished in 2003 and re-built, nearly everything about the famous venue changed. The distinctive twin towers were gone, replaced by a giant arch, while the stadium’s interior had a completely different look as well. However, one feature that was retained was the staircase leading up to the Royal Box – the scene of so many memories over the years. This time, though, the 39 steps had become 101 – an even more gruelling climb to collect the rewards of battle.
Ever since Pat Cash climbed up through the stand to celebrate with his family after winning the men’s singles title in 1987, it’s become a common sight to see subsequent champions making a similar journey. Andy Murray made the famous climb in 2013 after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years. So caught up in the moment was the Scot that he almost forgot to see his mother during the celebrations.
But clambering over people’s heads onto the commentary box roof is set to be a thing of the past thanks to a new staircase that has been constructed on Centre Court. Bosses at the All England Club, probably realising the climb was going to become a regular event rather than an occasional oddity made the decision to install a flight of stairs to make it easier for the new champion to reach their friends and loved ones after their triumph.
For any cricketer, one of the ultimate dreams is walking through the Long Room at Lord’s, then making their way down the Pavilion steps and out onto the hallowed field of play for the first time, flanked by applauding members and surrounded by history.
The current structure was built in the late 19th century after the original burned down. Since then, it has played host to every world class cricketer to ever play the game, as well as a few VIPs, including the Queen during the 2013 Ashes series.
The staircase itself, is rather simple and humble, given its grand surroundings – a set of plain, concrete steps, with painted edges above the riser, and extending just a few feet above the turf. But it’s what it symbolises that makes it the ultimate destination for anyone who has ever swung a cricket bat.