Newly arrived in the British capital? Keen to start indulging your love of The Beautiful Game? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place because everywhere you look in London, it seems there’s something footie related to get your teeth into.
So, where to Start?
The home grounds and stadiums of many of the most popular and historic football teams are located in London. The Premiership is the top professional football division in England and currently there are five London clubs competing in this league. These teams include such iconic names as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and West Ham – even the most casual football nerd would be salivating at the prospect of catching any one of those top flight teams right now.
The home of English national football is the iconic Wembley Stadium situated in north west London. Did you know it is the second largest stadium in Europe after Barcelona’s Nou Camp? With 90,000 seats, this breathtaking complex hosts big international soccer tournaments such as European and World Cup events as well as domestic competitions like the FA Cup final. As a cathedral to sports and in particular football, Wembley Stadium is something of a national treasure that any newcomer to London should check out.
Arsenal or The Gunners as they are affectionately known by their fans, are a north London premiership football team based at The Emirates Stadium. As one of the most successful teams in English history with ten FA Cup victories, the club managed to go unbeaten in the 2003-4 season – a historic achievement that has only ever happened once before, they are a bright light on the premiership stage. In 2006 the team moved to the massive new Emirates stadium complex which can seat 60,000 spectators.
To really get into the zone at Arsenal, try taking the stadium tour which opens up parts of the complex rarely seen by normal punters. Stroll around the dressing room, the players’ tunnel and dug out, marvel at the gleaming team baths and physiotherapy rooms and view the extensive hospitality areas. For those who like their football facts and historic details to be on display, you won’t be disappointed because there is an Arsenal museum on site as well. For drinking in the unique atmosphere of one of England’s finest clubs, taking the Arsenal Stadium tour is highly recommended.
Whereas Arsenal’s stadium is a modern architectural triumph, Chelsea FC have their original home at Stamford Bridge Stadium on the Fulham Road. This historic stadium has housed the team since 1905 although plans are afoot for a modern, new stadium complex for 60,000 spectators which is hoped to be completed by 2020. As with the other stadium tours, places such as dressing rooms, pressrooms, director’s box etc. are on the itinerary. If you want to practice your ball skills there’s even an interactive video in the Hall of Fame where you can pick up tips from a Chelsea Academy coach.
Your Winning Team
If all this team talk has got your own feet twitching in need of some real football action, then 5 aside football leagues in London are a thriving part of the social sports scene that you should check out. With games played on pitches in venues all across London, there is bound to be something to suit you. Why not put together your own team from mates and work colleagues and join the other 5 aside football leagues in London where the competition and social aspect is equally lively. All the organisation is taken care of by the league managers, all you have to do is turn up and play – pure football and nothing else. What could be better?
One other premiership team that opens its doors to fans so they can take a peek into this fascinating world is Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. White Hart Lane in Tottenham north London is where this historic club is located – and it’s been in existence since 1880, actually playing at this ground since 1899 – so a stadium tour is a football experience seasoned with historic elements. More recent stars of Tottenham’s line up include the BBC Sport pundit Gary Lineker who famously scored ten goals in a World Cup tournament for England. Other Spurs characters to have made their mark include legendary strikerTeddy Sheringham and also Paul Gazza Gascoigne who helped in their FA Cup victory in 1991. To get the low down on The Lilywhites, make a trip around White Hart Lane a priority.
If your passion is for football, then London makes the perfect destination.Your biggest problem will be selecting which one of the amazing footballing pleasures on offer to indulge in first. Choices, choices…