On the outside looking in at Craven Cottage

31 05 2011

It’s been three weeks since the night I went to Craven Cottage, a little soccer stadium that is home to Fulham Football Club, an English Premier League team.

The plan was to see Fulham play Liverpool. I talked to a few people in the days leading up the match and got the sense that tickets weren’t hard to come by; just walk up and buy them.

It had worked in Italy when I went to a Serie A match. I hoped for the best. After all, it had already been a good day touring central London, including a stop in Trafalgar Square to pose with the London Olympics countdown clock and a very fine lunch at the famous Harrod’s department store.

I had strolled to and past 10 Downing Street and gone back to Westminster Abbey, now it was time to see what I really wanted to see, soccer.

We took the subway and when we arrived at the right station for Craven Cottage, the tickets hawkers were already there. I decided to avoid them and head to the stadium. We were there fairly early. PLEASE READ ON…

We stopped at the Fulham team shop, which was having an end-of-the-season sale. I made the decision to purchase the alternate third kit from this year. It was more than 50 percent off.

Then it was off to Craven Cottage. It was a bit of a hike but what amazed me the most was that if you didn’t know where to go, you might never find the place. It’s old, small, and right alongside the Thames River. It’s near a park in the midst of a residential area with narrow streets.

One of the first things I noticed was the gang of Liverpool toughs who were proudly walking the lane in front of the stadium chanting ” Michael Jackson is a (insensitive term for a man who prefers the same sex), la, la, la, la, la, laaa…” singing to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.” That’s them in the second photo below.

The ticket “sellers” wanted far too much money for tickets to the sold-out match. I wasn’t about to blow all of those pounds so I figured I’d try to wait them out until kickoff. In the meantime, we walked around the stadium to where the Michael Jackson statue stands. An oddity for such an old, Fenway Park-esque soccer stadium.  But yeah, that is the King of Pop. Another oddity: The entry gates to the stadium seating areas are so narrow. It’s like you have to suck in just to get through.

8 p.m. game time came, still no tickets. It was such a great night for a match. I was crestfallen. Disappointed to say the least.

In the end, I just didn’t want to spend 800 pounds (like $1300 U.S. dollars) for two tickets. We decided to walk away, go get some fish & chips and see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge at night.  😦 What a downer. I knew I would have to come back to London, and learned my lesson to buy tickets online well in advance.

A sad ending but certainly not terrible. I stopped when I heard cheering and singing – Liverpool routed the home team on this night 5-2.


The night ended here.




5 responses

31 05 2011
Craig Giovannetti

Hey JMR, brilliant piece! I am a Villa supporter, but my dream is to get over to England some day and see all of the famous footy grounds. Craig G. in Fairfield, CA

31 05 2011

I DID manage to get into a match at Craven Cottage. I sat five rows back of the goal in the Hammersmith end when Edwin van der Sar was their keeper and Brian McBride was in the air for them at the attacking end. The stadium, squeezed in between the river and the surrounding neighborhood is a classic, particularly the Stevenage Road stands — brick, Victorian wrought-iron, and wood. In one corner is the actual cottage (well, a brick building…the one you see in the third-from-last photo above). This is what an English football stadium should look like.
Oh, and I bought my tickets online well in advance.
I hope you get another chance.

12 08 2011
The day before the start of a new EPL season « My life of sports, y mas

[…] might recall reading on this blog our (mis)adventures at Craven Cottage. I will see a live match in England […]

30 12 2011
My year in review, adios 2011 « My life of sports, y mas

[…] That trip was unforgettable and we decided we have to go back to London, in part because we want to actually see Fulham PLAY in person next time!  […]

9 10 2012
4 Games in 4 Days – My Life in Cascadia | Prost Amerika

[…] his attempt to navigate the scalpers around Fulham’s Craven Cottage on his website – mi vida deportiva. Some great pictures there […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: