There is plenty to see for those involved in London football. Just to explain what’s usually referred to as Soccer around the world for any readers of this article from outside the UK, football means the ‘beautiful game’
London has a proud history of being the top club among popular football teams with a lot of rivalry between them. In the Premier League, there are usually four or five London teams and there are many analysts who feel this is one of the greatest barriers to any of them winning the Title. A ‘local derby’ between two London football teams could create an exciting atmosphere, and they’re too well contested to transform the current form on its head.
Tickets from the Premier League are often hard to get but a bit of patience sometimes results. There are a range of ticket companies available which can get them for a discount.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have won the prestigious Premier League title twice in the last decade and reached the European Cup final.
Here are some details about the top 10 football clubs in London, and they are listed in alphabetical order to avoid any accusations of being partisan:-
Since the season of 1919-20, the Gunners, Arsenal played in the top division of English football in consecutive seasons. They were champions on 13 occasions and in 2003-04 season, when they went the whole season without being beaten, achieved a unique record for modern times.
Arsenal won three times the much coveted ‘double’ (league and cup winners in the same season), in 1971, 1998 and 2002 They moved to a new venue, The Emirates Stadium, with a capacity of 60,000 in recent years. The Museum of the Arsenal is worth a visit, and is open every day.
The Bees, Brentford Football Club are currently competing in Football League I. Established in 1889, they have been competing their home games since 1904 at Griffin Park, their home ground. The most successful spell of Brentford came during the 1930s, when in the First Division they achieved consecutive top six finishes.
Since the war they’ve spent much of their time in English football’s third and fourth tier. In four occasions, Brentford were quarter-finalists in the FA Cup and twice were runners-up runners in the Football League Trophy.
The Addicks have seen better days with Charlton Athletic. In the 1930’s and 40’s there were halcyon days. They have suffered in recent years since being relegated from the Premier League in 2005, and then from the 2008 Championship.
They are performing at Greenwich’s The Valley just south of the River Thames. The club was founded in the year 1905.
Historically, the most prosperous era for Charlton was the 1930s, when the club achieved its highest league finishes, including the league runners-up in 1937, and after World War II, when the club reached the FA Cup final twice, winning in 1947.
Founded in 1905, the Pensioners or the Blues, Chelsea Football Club, and playing in the Premier League Chelsea was three times champion (1955, 2005, 2006), five times winning the FA Cup, four times winning the League Cup and twice winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. They reached the UEFA Champions League Final in 2008 playing Chelsea at West London’s Stamford Bridge with a ground capacity of 42,000. Most days the Chelsea Museum is open and worth a visit for those interested in museum and football history.
The Football Club The Eagles, Crystal Palace was formed in 1905. The team will play their home matches at Selhurst Park, where they have been based since 1924. The club currently competes in The Championship, the second tier.
The most recent productive time for Crystal Palace started in 1988-89, when the club finished third in the Second Division and was promoted to First Division. Reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final only to lose the Manchester United replay and finish 3rd in the First Division in 1990-91.
After then Palace has been relegated on a number of occasions and promoted to the FA Premier League, their most recent relegation from the top flight was in the 2004-05 season. This is all despite the club being almost bankrupt in July 2000.
Founded in 1879, the Cottagers, Fulham Football Club celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2004, and are in the top tier of English football, the Premier League. Fulham is London’s most senior professional football team.
Fulham achieved their highest-ever finish in the Premier League in 2009, coming in seventh to qualify for Europe.
Several great British footballers have been produced by the club like Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh, and Alan Mullery, and Jim Langley. They play at the famous Craven Cottage, their home from 1896, a riverside ground in Fulham on the banks of the Thames River.
Queens Park Rangers
The Hoops, or just QPR, Football Club Queens Park Rangers, based in Shepherd’s Forest, West London. They are currently competing in the Football League Championship and their achievements include winning the 1967 League Cup and becoming runners-up in 1975-76 and 1982 in the former First Division and the FA Cup.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club was founded in 1882, with blue and white as its primary colours. QPR has long-standing rivalries with many other clubs in the city due to its proximity to other West London clubs, the most notable of which are Chelsea, Brentford and Fulham with whom they battle what are known as the West London derbies.
In 2007 the Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore took over QPR and ranked in the top 10 richest sports clubs in the world. Lakshmi Mittal & F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone are also big shareholders. Watch the room, then!
Most football fans still reckon the famed ‘Spurs’ side of 1961, to be one of the best soccer teams in English football history. We have accomplished the ‘double’ that was not done at the time since it was won by Aston Villa in 1897.
It has given Spurs’ teams a lot to live up to in recent times. But Spurs have a long history of playing good football, so at White Hart Lane there are many thrilling matches with their near rivals in North London, Arsenal, in particular.
Spurs was the first British team to have won a major European trophy in 1963 – the European Cup Winners’ Cup. We won the Football League Cup on two occasions in the 1970s, and were the first UEFA Cup winners in 1972. Spurs won several trophies in the 1980s: a twice FA Cup, a twice FA Community Shield and a 1983-84 UEFA Cup. They won the FA Cup and Football League Cup in the 1990s, and defeated Chelsea in the Football League Cup final in 2008. This success ensures that in each of the last six decades, Tottenham has won a trophy-an accomplishment that only Manchester United has surpassed.
Spurs have planned a new stadium to be completed by 2012 and it is expected to be one of the best stadiums in the UK.
Watford Football Club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, The Hornets. We are playing in Championship. Established in 1881, the club played on several grounds before moving to a permanent location on Vicarage Road in 1922 where they remain until today. They’ve shared this stadium with Saracens Rugby Club since 1997. Watford’s rivalry with Luton Town is longstanding.
Headed by former England manager Graham Taylor, the club is best known for two spells. The first lasted from 1977 to 1987, when the club went from the Fourth Division to the former First Division. While in English Football’s highest tier, Watford finished second in the league in 1983, reached the 1984 FA Cup final, and played in the 1984-85 UEFA Cup season.
The second era spanned from 1997 to 2001, when Taylor successively took the club to the Premier League from the renamed Second Division. Today, Taylor is the club’s non-executive director and honorary life president alongside Sir Elton John who owned the club during both eras and maintained a long relationship with the club.
West Ham United
The Hammers, West Ham United Football Club has played at Upton Park (Boleyn Ground), having been established in East London since 1895.
They played against Bolton Wanderers in the first FA Cup Final, which was held at Wembley in 1923. The club has three times won the FA Cup: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. We were runners-up twice as well, in both 1923 and 2006.
They won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965, before claimed the InterToto Cup in 1999.
Their players are considered a major factor behind England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, as the captain of England at the time was the Bobby Moore of West Ham, and both goal scorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were West Ham players.
West Ham currently play in the Premier League, having finished 5th in the Premier League in 1998-99.