With a £426m loan deal for Wembley expected to be finalised this week, the demolition of the famous old towers could soon be underway
Football is coming home after all. After five years of delay and setbacks the £750m deal to develop the national stadium should be concluded in the next week. Two years after playing their last competitive match at Wembley, the German bank Westdeutsche Landesbank is ready to provide a £426m loan for the project.

The deal was on the table in April but the FA has had to wait another five months because of the complex nature of the contracts. Between 15-20 contracts covering everything from catering to seating had to be signed at the same time. Adam Crozier the FA's chief executive recently spoke of a "slight slippage due to the mountain of paperwork."

If redevelopment of Wembley had gone to plan it would have been finished four months ago and Arsenal would have won the FA Cup in England and not Wales. The World Stadium Team, a joint venture between Foster and Partners and HOK Sport, were appointed way back in May 1998 and the design incorporating the triumphal arch was unveiled in November 1999.

But a series of political U-turns and City reticence mean that even if everything goes to plan the stadium won't be ready until the 2006 FA Cup Final.

The government must take much of the blame for the Wembley fiasco. They originally wanted a stadium that could incorporate an athletics track and then decided that a purpose built athletics venue should be built at Pickett's Lock, North London instead. World Stadium Team developed its designs for a football stadium only, but a year later then culture secretary Chris Smith announced that there would be a track after all for the 2005 Athletics World Championships.

The reason why a German financier is bankrolling the national stadium is that the City doubted the viability of the financial plans. In May 2001 City banks refused to provide the £410m in funding unless the FA raised its equity stake from £40m to £125m. As a result the contractor Multiplex and the design team were stood down as the government asked an independent consultant to re-examine scheme. During that time alternative schemes proposed in Birmingham and Coventry threatened to scuttle Wembley for good.

The project was again under threat earlier this year when Barclays pulled out of the scheme just as the April 30 deadline neared for the financing to be in place. This was despite an attempt by the design team in Febuary to slim down costs when they removed offices and a hotel from the plans. Only West LB's late intervention saved the scheme.

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell finally gave Wembley the go ahead after seeing a report by Cyril Sweett that concluded that Wembley was good value. The QS concluded that the stadium would not cost substantially more than schemes such as the Stade de France and Stadium Australia.

Despite all the delays the FA's £326m construction deal with Multiplex is still in place and very soon we can expect to see the beginning of the end for Wembley's famous twin towers.