Just as we were starting to get our heads around the idea of selling English football’s spiritual home being good for grassroots football, it turns out the deal is off the table.
But while Shahid Khan may have withdrawn his bid for Wembley Stadium, the FA can still make the historic ground lucrative if they are willing to think outside the box.
We’ve come up with five alternative ways that the FA can finally make Wembley pay its way.
Let’s start with the obvious. The FA has a premium football facility sitting empty night after night while people are paying a good money to kick a ball around in a tiny astro cage down the road.
Why not do the decent thing and rope off a load of five-a-side courts on the Wembley pitch and let the Sunday League plodders in for a run around?
And if you’re going to spend your Wednesday night getting lumps kicked out of you by an angry man called Keith you might as well do it on the hallowed turf.
The groundsman may get a little squeamish about the pitch being dug up, but the FA did say it wanted to encourage grassroots football…
Make Wembley more accommodating
As anyone who has rented in London will tell you, there’s a real lack of quality accommodation in London.
More to the point, there’s a profound lack of accommodation where you can roll out of bed onto the hallowed turf of the national stadium – a great spot for a summer barbecue or just taking the dog for his evening run.
Wembley is a maze of conference rooms, board rooms, dressing rooms and hospitality suites, surely there’s more than enough space to rent a few out as one-bedroom apartments.
All you’d have to do is tell the tenants to make themselves scarce when England are on.
Admittedly, anyone who did rent there would pretty soon be bankrupt paying £12 for a pint at their local bar down the concourse, but getting your mail sent to Wembley Stadium would be good while it lasted.
As well as football, Wembley has been hosting American football and concerts, which are always a good money spinner.
However, this is where the FA is missing a trick. Why not merge the two? Then you get a real spectacle.
Who wouldn’t pay £100 for a ticket to see Billy Joel attempting to play Uptown Girl with the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line closing in on him?
Crossover events are the way forward and in years to come people will wonder how they did without Manchester United v New York Giants v Ed Sheeran.
Okay, this one may also anger the groundsman, but Wembley could be an ideal location for growing fruit and vegetables.
In fact, the England team could become self-sufficient within five years, living entirely off the produce grown at the stadium.
The retractable roof makes it possible to turn the whole stadium into a greenhouse between England fixtures and while the players may whinge when they trip on a bed of courgettes or run plum into a tomato plant during a marauding run down the wing, they’ll get used to the vegetation and the humid conditions.
A different kind of diving
It’s about time that the 133-meter high arch about Wembley Stadium was useful for something.
There will, of course, be some curmudgeons who disagree with filling Wembley with water to a height of six foot, but they’ll just have to get with the programme and watch as people pay for the chance to hurl themselves from The Arch into the deep end.
Draining the water in time for games could be a challenge, but the waterlogged conditions could make England games more exciting, adding an element of drama as fans watch to see whether Raheem Sterling drowns in a puddle.