LONDON The Wembley Stadium that I remember from all the old Jim McKay Wide World of Sports episodes looked so very . . . British.Historic.Like a place a Queen would go to watch a rugby or soccer game, if she were into that sort of thing.But this. This I dont get.Wembley Stadium opened in 1923 with King George V cutting the ribbon. It seated 127,000, a figure that officials conveniently ignored as the soccer occasion warranted.Its iconic architectural feature was twin white towers, each with a flag pole atop it. The twin towers at each end of the matching white façade created the Wembley look that the world knew for nearly a century.It took 39 steps at old Wembley to get from the playing pitch to the Royal Box to collect your championship trophy. The most famous 39 steps in sports, Brits and teams both called it.Wembley was the main stadium for the 1948 London Olympics. It hosted FA Cup and European Cup finals. In 1966, it hosted the final game of the World Cup, and the home team of England got to climb the famous 39 steps.And in August of 1986, Wembley Stadium hosted the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.As Jerry Jones would decide later, too, about his own stadium, the people who owned old Wembley believed that the grand old stadium was getting gray around the edges. Old Wembley was demolished in 2003, and a new Wembley was completed four years later.Jones has said that Wembley, old and new, provided the inspiration behind the design of the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. A visitor can see the resemblances the curved toilet-seat shape, the retracting roof.The plaza areas at Cowboys Stadium, Jones said, were meant to mimic the long concourse that runs from the Wembley train station to the stadium.But the white Twin Towers are gone.The 39 steps are now (huff, huff) 107.Wembleys stately white façade is now mostly curved glass, same as you-know-where.Replacing the towers as new Wembleys distinctive feature is a single 436-foot steel arch, sloping 22 degrees off center.And I dont like it, which puts me in the company of lots of locals who see new Wembley for what it is a cash machine for its owners (the FA Cup people), constructed with only a token nod toward tradition.The name on the front still reads Wembley, but the famous stadium where Tom Landrys Cowboys played, where the opening ceremonies of the 1948 Olympics were held, where Michael Jackson performed 15 times and The Who, Rolling Stones and U2 all played its gone, towers and all.No question, new Wembleys interior is modern and roomy. But there is little beyond its famous name to suggest that this is where something historic has taken place.Even the playing pitch has lost its link to the past. There have been problems with the Wembley grass since the new stadium opened, and the field has had to be resodded 11 times in the past five years.The irony is that London abounds in history and tradition. Its buildings and monuments tell a colorful past.Old Wembley Stadium was historic.New Wembley is just, well, nice.Their darling, their bloodThese are tough times in Ireland, they said.People are losing jobs. Stores are going out of business.But this was a journey, they said, that they had to make.The train stopped at the ExCeL Center on Thursday and what seemed to be most of Ireland jumped aboard.There was nowhere to sit, but they sang and celebrated anyway. They carried the Irish tricolour green, white and orange with them, some with their faces painted to match.They had come to see boxer Katie Taylor, the pride of Ireland. A four-time reigning world champion, Taylor decisioned Russias Sofya Ochigava on Thursday to win Irelands only gold medal of these Olympic Games.The woman standing next to me wore a green jacket with a small pair of boxing gloves green, white and orange stitched onto the back. She and her daughter had come from Dublin.It was a magnificent fight, she reported. And though a British fighter was on the undercard, Irish fans in attendance had outnumbered the locals by 5-to-1.And they werent wallflowers, judging from the chanting and the din in the train car.The friendly lady next to me gave me a crash course in why her pilgrimage, and why Katie Taylor, was so important.Shes a joy to watch, she said. We dont win as many Olympic medals as you guys do.The recession has hit Ireland hard. In Katie, they see a working class hero. Katie Taylor makes her Irish countrymen want to stand in a crowd and shout.In the 2004 Oscar-winning movie, Million Dollar Baby, the Clint Eastwood character gives his female fighter, played memorably by Hilary Swank, a green boxing robe with the words Mo Chuisle on the back.On her death bed, he finally reveals to her what the Irish expression means.My darling, my blood, he whispers.Katie Taylor didnt have the robe, but she had the love of her nation with her Thursday.It was an honor, even if it was just for a few minutes, to go along for the ride.