Boleyn Ground/Upton Park–(West Ham United FC): West Ham United FC-Queen’s Park Rangers (2-0) Matchday

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More pictures of the Boleyn Ground taken during the East London-West London derby between West Ham United and Queen’s Park Rangers in the Premier League. The Boleyn Ground has been home to the “Hammers” since 1904 and, after a series of redevelopments in the 1990s, has reached a seating capacity of 35,016. The club rented the grounds from the Roman Catholic Church in 1912, and a church still stands outside the stadium–grounds for religious and lay worship side by side. The name Boleyn Park comes from the relationship between Green Street house and Anne Boleyn who supposedly stayed there. Now many refer to the stadium as Upton Park after the neighborhood it is in. One can reach the stadium from central London by taking either the District Line or Hammersmith & City Line to the Upton Park station. My one suggestion would be grab a bite to eat–or a pint–around the stadium post match and wait for the crowds to thin out if you’re not in a rush as the queue for the Upton Park tube station is chaotic immediately after the match–it took us about thirty minutes and involved a long walk.

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Roots Hall, Southend-on-Sea, England–(Southend United FC): Southend United-Morecambe (0-1) Matchday

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Some more pictures of Roots Hall taken during the Division Two match between Southend United FC and Morecambe FC. Roots Hall was built in 1952 and opened in 1955. With a capacity of 12,392 it is the largest in Essex. Like White Hart Lane there are plans for a new stadium but work has yet to start. Interestingly the stadium–which was built on what was a storage area during the first World War–was the youngest in the football league until 1988. To get to Roots Hall one can take a one hour journey via National Rail from Liverpool Street station and disembark at Prittlewell.

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White Hart Lane, London, England–(Tottenham Hotspur FC): Tottenham Hotspur-Besiktas JK (1-1) Matchday

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Some more pictures of White Hart Lane taken from the away supporters section during the UEFA Europa League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Besiktas JK. White Hart lane opened more than a century ago in 1899 when the first match saw a modest crowd of just 5,000. While the record attendance is an astounding 75,038, from a match in 1938, the new seating regulations mean that the current capacity is 36,284. Since this is smaller than the capacity of many Premier League stadia there are plans for reconstruction afoot. Luckily, I was able to make it out before another classic British ground fades into the past. The stadium has a cosy feeling, there is no denying that, and as a fan it feels as if you are almost on the pitch. To get there, take the Victoria line to Seven Sisters station and change for a National Rail service to White Hart Lane station.

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Emirates Stadium, London, England — (Arsenal FC): Arsenal FC-Galatasaray SK (4-1) Matchday

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Some pictures of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium taken during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Arsenal FC and Galatasaray SK. England’s third largest stadium with a capacity of 60,272, Emirates was opened in 2006 after Arsenal left their iconic ground, Highbury. I wish I could have made it out to Highbury before its demolition and transformation into lofts but all good things must end. Emirates stadium is easy to reach from central London as it is accessed by the Arsenal and Holloway Road Underground stations on the Picadilly Line. As a note, Arsenal station is usually closed on match days and Holloway Road is the station used for entrance and exit.




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Craven Cottage, London, England – Fulham FC


Craven Cottage is one of those epic grounds. Its location is amazing, its age makes you feel the years. In it, you are truly living the evolution of football, from local XIs to the cash-splashed Premier League. As of now the capacity is 25,700, but it is slated to be increased. After all, it has been in use since 1896! In many ways, Craven Cottage took me home and gave me the feel of Fenway Park, the first stadium I ever attended a game at. The small doors–built in an age when people were of smaller proportions– reminded me of the small seats at old Fenway, where fans can’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable.

I was able to get a Fulham shirt, a picture of which can be seen here, and with it sitting on the banks of the Thames next to the stadium I was in a state of near-perfect contentment, a day in London well spent. For those interested, the Wikipedia article on Craven Cottage has a nice aerial photo, which puts the stadium’s unique location in perspective for the unfamiliar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craven_Cottage_).


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Selhurst Park, London, England – Crystal Palace FC

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In a bid to see some of the smaller parks near London, I decided to trek from South Norwood to the banks of the Thames. Along the way, I checked out Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park (capacity 26, 309), which was at that point a League One stadium–at the end of the season they gained promotion to the Premier League. Again, I was not able to get in, but I got some good pictures of the Stadium’s brick wall, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. It looked alot like the industrial areas of New England (unsurprisingly), where I am from, which made me wonder–for a moment–why I was spending British Pounds and getting poorer by the day for it. After that split second I resumed my walk, content with a grey afternoon in the old world. As a note, I’d like to draw attention to the second to last photo–I regularly go to matches with tools, so I’m glad they warned me ahead of time. The last photo is of the author getting in the spirit of Crystal Palace FC.


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Broadfield Stadium, Crawley, England – Crawley Town FC

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On a trip to London in February I stayed in Crawley, where I could not resist getting a taste of lower league football. It was stereotypical weather, a little wet and a little dreary, but it did little to dampen my spirits as I searched for a Crawley Town shirt at the Broadfield Stadium (capacity 5,996). The pedestrian underpass is decorated in team colors, and the stadium walls still celebrate the team’s recent promotions to the third tier of English soccer. The final picture was taken at a Crawley fan hangout, where the locals lamented Britain’s choice to join the EU in the face of the economic downturn and mass-immigration from Eastern Europe.

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