Football in London
|| Whichever area
of London you’re visiting you’ll find that
football (or soccer) is a way of life and considered much
more than a simple game.
If you’ve never been to a soccer match be prepared
for all the thrills and spills of high adrenalin sport
and watch as grown men shed tears.
The North of London is home to two premiership football
clubs: Arsenal and Tottenham
Arsenal [map] is based at Highbury, Avenell Road, N5. Affectionately
known as “the gunners” Arsenal was formed
by workers of the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory in
1886. Arsenal is one of the most successful football clubs
in the history of the capital and has won the “double”
(FA Cup and Premiership League trophy) on two occasions.
North London’s other football club and Arsenal's
biggest rival is Tottenham Hotspur [map],
White Hart Lane, Bill Nicholson Way, High Road, N17. Tottenham
Hotspur has been established for more than 119 years and
first won the FA Cup way back in 1901. Famous players
have included Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola.
The South East has three slightly less successful, but
still incredibly well supported, football teams.
Charlton Athletic [map],
whose home ground is at The Valley, Floyd Road, SE7, will
celebrate its centenary in 2004/2005. Heroes such as Sam
Bartram, Don Welsh, Stuart Leary, Eddie Firmani, Mike
Bailey, Derek Hales, and Alan Simonsen have all passed
through the club's ground during this time. There’s
also a Charlton Athletic FC Women’s team and Charlton
Deaf FC who compete in the Brockley and District League.
Millwall [map] is a team with very dedicated supporters. The team are
known as “The Lions” because their home ground
is The New Den, Zampa Road, SE16. Millwall was founded
in 1885 by workers at C & E Mortons Factory on the
Thames at Millwall. The New Den and its predecessor the
Den have had an eventful history including fires and bombing
during World War II. The New Den is a fantastic multi-million
pound development that makes a visit to see Millwall play
a real treat.
One of London’s oldest football clubs is Crystal
Palace FC [map],
whose home ground is Selhurst Park, Whitehorse Lane, SE25.
The football team bares the name of the glass building
erected in Hyde Park in 1851 to honour the Great Exhibition.
It was then moved to the South East where it was destroyed
by fire in 1936. Crystal Palace FC was formed in 1861 and has a turbulent history, but the team currently compete in the Coca Cola Championship.
South West London is home to Chelsea FC [map].
Chelsea, whose home ground is Stamford Bridge, Fulham
Road, SW6, has had a largely successful history since
its formation in 1905. The Stamford Bridge ground was
designed by Archibald Leitch and initially included a
120 yard long stand on the East side which could hold
5,000 spectators. The Stamford ground was initially offered
to Fulham who turned it down and it was in Chelsea’s
favour as it enabled them to get high up in the Premiership.
The West of London has two football clubs: Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers.
Fulham FC originated in 1898 and is perhaps
most famous for being owned by Harrods boss and millionaire
Mohammed Al Fayed. The home ground is at Craven Cottage,
SW6, and fans are known as “cottagers” as
Queen's Park Rangers FC, whose home ground
is located at Loftus Road, South Africa Road, London,
W12, are in the championship league and have had a somewhat
The East of London is home to Leyton Orient and West Ham United.
Leyton Orient, based at Matchroom Stadium, Brisbane Road,
E10, are better known as “The O’s” and
were founded in 1881. The club was originally named after
the Orient shipping line.
West Ham United FC [map] is based at Upton Park, Green Street, E13, and its fans
are called, unsurprisingly “The Hammers”.
The Hammers were formed in 1885 and have moved around
in the league as well as from several different grounds
in East London. Having spent much of the 20th century in Division One, the club was deservedly promoted to the Premiership in the 1990s. Despite relegation in 2002/03, the team are doing well again in the top flight.