London is surely a city of football, with 13 professional clubs and among them Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are the most important, so find a ticket to watch a match of these clubs is almost impossibile due to the high prices and to the lack of availability. So, what can we do if we want to feel the emotions of the Premier League? Choose less important cubs! English stadiums are well kept and full of fans also when we talk about smaller clubs, actually they can be more authentic than the ones of top clubs.
In 2013, we choose Fulham, back then a small Premier League club, whose stadium is one of more interesting in the city. The Craven Cottage is located on the river Thames, it has been Fulham's home since 1896 and it keeps the same structure of the early XX century.
How to get to the Craven Cottage
The Craven Cottage is located near the Putney Bridge underground stop on the District Line, so it's quite easy to reach it by tube. Then you have to go across Bhisop's Pak, walking along the Thames. In the park there is Fulham Palace ( Link ), a medieval building, the residence of London Bishop form the XI century till the 1975. On these lands and around the Craven Cottage, Ann Boleyn used to hunt. Once in Stevenage Road, a series of Victorian detached houses welcomes you and then here it is the Craven Cottage, with its red bricks and its small and narrow turnstiles that witness the age of this stadium.
At the Craven Cottage
The atmosphere around the stadium is wonderful. There's the Wigan (Away team) bus surrounded by fans begging for autographs and we can visit the official store full of people. In the small square in front of the Cottage the Johnny Hayes statue stands above fans chatting and predicting the final result. Passed the turnstiles, we go to the Riverside Stadium where we find not only our seats, but also some food stalls so that we can eat a sandwich in front of the Thames.
We're lucky, our third row tickets are so close to the pitch that seems like you're on it with the players. Fulham vs Wigan won't be remembered as a top class quality match, but in terms of intensity, fair play and atmosphere it was a wonderful match.
The stadium is very charming and its old structure brings you back to the beginning of the XX century, if it weren't for LED monitors. The Haynes Stand in front of us it's the oldest stand of English professional football.
At the end of the match, while going back to the tube station, I thought about the wonderful gift made by Federica, who, without even knowing, had brought me in one of the oldest English stadiums to feel the atmosphere of old-timey football that I was looking for in a Premier League match. If you love football and you wanna feel its history, try to buy a ticket to go to the Craven Cottage, no matter the opponent!