Football in London
London, a metropolis with over 10 million inhabitants, is one of the unofficial football capitals of Europe, and of the world. Hundreds of thousands of footie fans descend upon London each year in order to enjoy some of the finest football Europe has to offer. It’s no wonder, seeing as the plentiful selection of matches and readily available tickets make London the ideal destination for a first-timer’s recreational football trip. Several of Europe’s largest and most esteemed football clubs call London their home.
The concept of football culture is said to have originated in England. The grand and mighty stadiums are packed each week with jolly, singing local supporters, world-famous football stars dash to and fro on the green, and the almost tangible love and passion for the sport, which can be felt throughout the city, is absolutely incredible. London fits the bill for anyone looking for an unforgettable and memorable football experience.
The vast majority of people’s interest is directed towards England’s main league, the Premier League. Out of London’s fourteen professional teams, five are in the Premier League during the 2016-2017 season. These teams, London’s “highest and mightiest”, are Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Tottenham, and West Ham. Through the years, they’ve all reaped success at the top, but thanks to their countless merits, Arsenal and Chelsea are under the greatest scrutiny, and enjoy the highest regard around the world. In addition to these high-profile teams, there are numerous interesting and traditional clubs on the lower league tiers.
The Premier League, which is the world’s most widely spectated league, is known for its hard tackles, intensive and unyielding play style, its energetic and entertaining matches, and for its biggest stars, players and coaches alike. The hegemonic London derbies are particularly renowned for their inimitable atmosphere, and they can offer spectators unforgettable experiences. All the large, local clubs are steeped in history, and the air of rivalry between opposing supporters is thick in the air even days before the clubs go head to head. This kind of fan culture is something you can’t fully comprehend before experiencing it for yourself.
It’s customary for many locals to devote their weekends to football. After an exhausting week at work, local fans get to cheer their favourite clubs on, and the excitement is contagious. Should the heavens align in a fortuitous way, you may be lucky enough to spectate up to four live games within one weekend!
Attending a match is very straight-forward. Stadium tickets become available weeks, if not months, in advance of the games, and they can be easily procured through various websites that cater to sports spectators, or even directly through a club’s own web pages. Ticket prices vary from club to club, usually the largest and most renowned clubs charge the most for their wares. Naturally it is also possible to score tickets on the spot, but the safest bet for those traveling from further afield is to sort out their ticket affairs well in advance.
Booking flights and accommodation couldn’t be simpler. There are daily flights to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports from all over Europe. The simplest and cheapest ways to reach one’s lodgings from the airports are the Tube and express train services. Train tickets booked in advance may be available for significantly discounted prices. London’s accommodation selection is unrivalled, and there are options to cater to any budget, from a humble backpacker to those demanding luxury and finesse.
Getting around town and reaching sporting events at the stadiums is hassle free thanks to the well-oiled machine that is the London public transport system. The Tube is easy to use and is the fastest way to travel around the city. If you’re not pressed for time, busses offer an inexpensive and scenic option for your commute. Special transport to the stadiums is also available, and London’s famed black cabs will be happy to ferry footie fans to their games, chatting about the weekend’s matches during the ride.
London truly is a city that loves football.
Get to know a few of the largest football clubs in London through these brief introductions.