April 09, 2013, 11:32 am -- /EPR NETWORK/ -- Back on 28th April 1923 an estimated 300,000 fans packed into the new Empire Stadium at Wembley to watch Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United 2-0 in the FA Cup final. Ninety years and one expensive stadium rebuild later, the new Wembley Stadium will celebrate a landmark year with a whole host of important FA Cup matches and a second Champions League final in three years.
This weekend Championship side Millwall take on Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic in the first of two back-to-back FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday 13th April. This intriguing match will be a warm up for a fixture which many would have hoped to be the final, as super clubs Chelsea and Manchester City square up to one another in the second FA Cup semi-final on Sunday 14th April. The winner of both ties will return to the national football stadium to meet in the FA Cup final on 11th May.
More significant than Wembley Stadium's 90th anniversary, the Football Association - the world's oldest professional football body - celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. UEFA has joined in paying its respects by selecting Wembley as the venue for the 2013 Champions League final on 25th May. The fact that no English club has made it through to the quarter-finals of the world's biggest knock-out competition was not in the script as Wembley becomes the first stadium to host the European Cup final twice in three years.
Travellers arriving from outside London to watch any of these key fixtures at Wembley Stadium this spring can conveniently book their accommodation on LondonTown.com, where there's a wide range of London hotels. London's sporting scene stretches far deeper than football, however, with more stadia and major sports venues than any other city in the world. London's main sports venues are all featured in an extensive online feature on LondonTown.com that also looks at the key fixtures in the sporting calendar in 2013.
Two key dates for April are the London Marathon, which takes place on the famous 26.2-mile route around the city on Sunday 21st April, and the British Basketball Play-off Final at Wembley Arena on Sunday 28th April. Amongst the marathon's 30,000 runners will be double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah - although the long-distance track specialist will not make it all the way to the finish on The Mall for he intends to complete just the first half of the gruelling race.
Taking place on the same afternoon as the Champions League Final on Saturday 25th May is the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham Stadium. The biggest domestic club fixture of the rugby union season sees the two best sides in the country go head-to-head in a bruising winner-takes-all encounter. Also coming to Twickers in May is the Marriott London Sevens, on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May.
Days later, on 16th May, England's cricketers play their first Test match of the season in the 1st Investec Test against New Zealand at Lord's. Meanwhile, back at Wembley Stadium the Football league Play-off Finals and the Championship Play-off Final will be taking place either side of a Champions League final that everyone expects Barcelona FC to win.
All these sporting events - and many more - are featured on LondonTown.com's extensive guide to London 2013, which can be downloaded on PDF or iPad for free. http://www.LondonTown.com
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