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Prospective Wembley buyer Khan has ideas for venue

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Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is striking a lot of the right notes when it comes to his desired purchase of Wembley Stadium.

Khan, 67, says he wants to continue to host England matches if he gets the venue, and will also look to have a working retractable roof in order to further insure big events.

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“England must play there,” the American billionaire said. “Otherwise it will be a shell. It would be like an empty suit that doesn’t have soul.”

Khan also has an interesting idea to help smaller events at Wembley:

Another possibility, which has already been looked at by the FA, is the use of “video boards” which would be “automatically lowered on cylinders” to close the top tier of Wembley for certain events to give it a reduced 50,000-seat capacity. “There’s a lot creative stuff that can be done,” Khan said. “We are looking at all of those to get more use and create more revenue.”

It all sounds pretty cool, Shad… but are you bringing your NFL team? The comment section on the last post nearly started fire at the thought.

“I’d been to Wembley by then a couple of times and I told the NFL that the only venue we wanted to be part of was Wembley,” Khan said.

Report: Fulham, NFL owner Khan agrees to $700M price for Wembley

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Fulham owner Shad Khan also owns a National Football League team, and could have two top-flight teams from different nations playing in England soon.

For Fulham, the Cottagers are currently very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League and at the least will have a chance at qualifying through the playoffs.

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For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.

Here’s how ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith puts a bow on it (on one of the biggest days of the NFL calendar, nonetheless):

So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.

It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.

There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.

A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.

Wembley Stadium to host more games in Euro 2020

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An additional four games at the 2020 European Championships will take place in the North London suburb of Wembley.

With delays to the construction of a proposed stadium in the Belgian city of Brussels, UEFA has made the decision to move the group-stage matches that were originally set for Belgium to Wembley Stadium, as well as a Round-of-16 matchup. Wembley Stadium was already set to host the semifinals and finals of the tournament.

“Due to the Eurostadium project’s failure to meet the conditions imposed by the UEFA Executive Committee during its meeting of 20th September 2017, the four matches initially scheduled to be held in Brussels will now be allocated to Wembley Stadium, London following a vote by the committee,” UEFA wrote in a statement on their website.

The decision is a blow to the Wales FA and Swedish FA, which had lobbied UEFA to take Belgium’s place as a group-stage host nation.

The UEFA executive committee did make a number of other decisions, including deciding which groups for Euro 2020 would be located in which cities, as well as deciding that the Stadio Olympico in Rome, Italy will host the first match.

Here’s where the group-stage matches will be played.

Group A: Rome and Baku
Group B: Saint Petersburg and Copenhagen
Group C: Amsterdam and Bucharest
Group D: London and Glasgow
Group E: Bilbao and Dublin
Group F: Munich and Budapest

UEFA also had an interesting note, stating that each qualified host country will play a minimum of two matches at home in the group-stage.

That likely means that if England qualifies for Euro 2020, they’d be placed into Group D and would have at least two games in London. Same for Italy, Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, and the other host nations in the groups where their nation is hosting matches.

VIDEO: Alonso’s artful free kick a fitting goal for Chelsea at Wembley

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Marcos Alonso‘s left-footed free kick goal is a thing of beauty.

It’ll go down as the Premier League’s first goal at Wembley Stadium, and deservedly so.

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Alonso spun his shot over the wall with vigor, missing a leaping Toby Alderweireld‘s head by inches before dipping hard to beat a flying Hugo Lloris.

The goal gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead over hosts Tottenham Hotspur, and came after Alvaro Morata missed the match’s first best chance with a free header wide of goal.

It’s Alonso’s seventh goal for Chelsea, and could spur them away from the gloom and doom of last week’s season-opening loss to Burnley.

Spurs and the Wembley factor

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Tottenham Hotspur faces an obstacle this season in its pursuit of an elusive Premier League title, and that’s home matches at Wembley Stadium.

Or do they?

Yes, it would be better for the North London club to play at White Hart Lane or to have their new home ready one year early, but there’s an argument to be made that Spurs’ Wembley stumbles are a whole bunch of nothing.

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Since 2007, Spurs have won just two of nine matches at Wembley, losing six and drawing versus Gent in the 2017 Europa League.

But digging a little deeper begs forgiveness for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men. Consider:

— Only one of those six losses came against a team that would be considered clearly inferior to Spurs (Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup semifinal).

— The other losses to English clubs were in FA Cup or League Cup semis or finals, two coming to Chelsea and one to Manchester United. Spurs beat Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup Final.

— Spurs went 1W-1D-1L in a decent UEFA Champions League group with Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen, and CSKA Moscow last season. It cannot be argued that the results weren’t disappointing, but Monaco ran deep into the tournament and Spurs outshot and outplayed Bayer in a 1-0 loss (Spurs beat CSKA).

So perhaps this is about expectations more than performance. If observers expected Spurs to rejoin the Champions League for the first time since 2010-11 and run riot, then yes the Wembley results were dismal (and no one’s arguing against the brutal draw against Gent in the UEL).

But if the UCL is a process, which it surely seems to be, then maybe Wembley isn’t a huge concern (at least in the sense that it’s competition was good more often than not).

We’ll posit that Wembley is more of a concern for the Premier League, where — especially given expectations — we saw West Ham United stumble big time at a new home last season.

But that is quickly redeemed by Spurs’ North London rivals at Arsenal. The Gunners went 14W-3D-2L in their emotional final season at Highbury, and went 12W-6D-1L to open life at the Emirates Stadium.

That’s three fewer points for Arsenal, who finished fourth both seasons. Spurs went a remarkable 17W-2D during an unbeaten 2016-17 at White Hart Lane, only drawing Liverpool and Leicester en route to winning its last 14 home PL fixtures last season.

That’s really, really good, and certainly a cause for concern. But it’s also worth noting that a step back should probably be expected regardless of venue. And perhaps, really, the concern should be that Spurs’ disappointing road record is what blew a massive opportunity presented by its near blemish-free home run last season.

In terms of past champions, Chelsea lost a pair of home PL matches in its title run last season, and Leicester fell once while drawing six in its miracle run of 2015-16. The Blues went 15W-4D at home to win the 2014-15 championship.

Being good at home is important, obviously, and that’s why the uncertainty of a new venue for home PL matches strikes fear into some Spurs’ fans hearts. But should it? Have you say in the poll below: