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Craven Cottage

London, England

Home of the Fulham FC

3.4

N/A

Craven Cottage (map it)
Stevenage Rd
London, England SW6 6HH
United Kingdom


Fulham FC website

Craven Cottage website

Year Opened: 1896

Capacity: 25,700

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Craving the Cottage

Very few stadiums can boast a statue of Michael Jackson as part of their design, but Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage is one such place. His statue overlooking the Thames tells one small part of a team that has established themselves in the Premier League in the last 15 or so seasons, and made Craven Cottage one of the most popular destinations for football fans around the country.

The ground has been Fulham’s home on the banks of the Thames in leafy south-west London for their entire 115-year history, but it was only in 1997 that their recent ascent to Premiership respectability began. In May of that year, Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian-national and owner of Harrods, purchased the club and began a turnaround that took the Club from the foot of the fourth tier all the way to the Premier League. They have remained there since, firmly establishing themselves in the top flight, and the team even enjoyed a run to the Europa League final in 2010.

At first Craven Cottage still had the standing terraced areas, making it a popular destination for away and neutral fans, but they were given a two-year grace period to convert those areas to meet the all-seating requirement of Premier League membership, something that Al-Fayed’s millions helped achieve.

The "King of Pop" made his Fulham appearance prior to a match against Wigan Athletic in 1999, and while his statue divided opinion among the Fulham faithful, Al-Fayed defended it to the hilt and insisted that new owner Shahid Khan retain the statue.

The Jacksonville Jaguars' owner bought out Al-Fayed in July 2013 to become the Premier League’s sixth American proprietor, and it will be under his watch that the club take their capacity from just over 25,000 up to 30,000 with the development of the Riverside Stand over the next few years.

(Note: all exchange rates are as of the time of this posting, August 2013.)

3.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

There are a good range of eating and drinking places in and around the Cottage, with plenty of options on offer. More information about the pubs and restaurants around the stadium will be in the "Neighbourhood" section below.

At the stadium, there are the usual range of burgers £4.50 ($7), savoury pies £4 ($6.25), hot dogs £3.50 ($5.50), chocolate £1.50 ($2.35), beer £4 ($6.25), and soft drinks £2 ($3.15) on offer inside and out.

For something more special, head around behind the Riverside Stand, and shortly after you pass the Michael Jackson statue, you'll find a kiosk serving a tasty and filling chicken curry and rice at a pretty good price of £4 ($6.25).

Atmosphere    3

Maybe it's the location by the Thames, or maybe it's the leisurely stroll through a riverside park, but Craven Cottage lacks the fizz and crack atmosphere produced at other grounds. While the fans are no less passionate than their counterparts at other clubs, there isn't the hardcore rump of support that you find at other clubs around England's capital. The visit of local-rivals Chelsea, and other big guns Manchester United and Arsenal, fill the ground and give the atmosphere something approaching an edge, but in the main, things are usually a little subdued and restrained at the Cottage.

Neighborhood    5

Fulham is one of the most salubrious suburbs of London, with tree-line streets and seven-figure houses along the Thames. It provides a strong contrast to the likes of Tottenham Hotspur or West Ham United, which are teams based among the tightly-knit terrace houses. Fulham provides a calming atmosphere around matchday.

In and around the houses are some fine restaurants and bars, which provide a non-traditional take on post-match food and drink. River Cafe and Dr Espresso Cafeteria are two good cafes across the road from the nearest tube station - Putney Bridge - and they serve the usual range of sandwiches, cakes, light snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The Eight Bells is the first pub fans get to as they walk from the tube to the stadium. It has traditional decor and range of drinks, snacks, and food on offer. It gets busy in the hours before kickoff, but if you can squeeze to the bar, it is a friendly pub which house fans happy to discuss all things football with anyone.

Fans    4

While more reserved than other clubs' fans, what Fulham supporters lack in singing, they make up for in their comportment and conduct towards other fans, Chelsea aside.

Again, whether it is the calming surrounds or something else, most Fulham fans are friendly, welcoming, and happy to chat. This is given further credence by the introduction of a neutral area in the Hammersmith Stand, which along with their position close to the centre of London, means the crowds are often a mix of home fans, away fans, and people just wanting to sample the Premier League's atmosphere.

Access    3

The best way to get to Craven Cottage is to take the District Line on the tube, jump off at Putney Bridge, and walk the rest of the way. Putney Bridge overland railway station is just over a mile away and over the Thames from the Cottage, and is served from Paddington and Victoria stations in central London.

The 74, 85, C4, 220, or 424 buses run by the stadium, but one way not to go is by car. There is barely any parking space, with the roads nearby restricted to residents' parking. Then, of course, there is the nose-to-tail London traffic to contend with, too.

For a novel way of travelling to a match, there is a water taxi that travels down the Thames from Blackfriars or Embankment Pier and drops fans at Putney, a 20-30 minute walk to the stadium. There are also bike racks in the park adjacent to the Cottage for those of a healthy disposition, and if it is a sunny day, the Thames walk from nearby Hammersmith is a pleasant way to spend 30 minutes ahead of the game.

Return on Investment    2

Ticket prices are a little too high and reflect Fulham's location, rather than how much success they've enjoyed in recent years. For the A category matches against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal, adult tickets cost between £50 ($78.25) and £75 ($117.40). Prices drop for B and C category matches, and even though they run "Kids for a Quid" promotions, adults still don't get much change back from £50.

Extras    3

There is a club shop near the main entrance selling all the usual kit, jerseys, and paraphernalia that can be found in most club shops. Adult team shirts retail at £50 ($78.25), shorts at £25 ($39.15) and socks £12 ($18.75). Slightly more economic are vintage shirts at £30 ($47) or £20 ($31.30) for the previous year's edition. Of course, there are all manner of items available, down to £4 ($6.25) for the official toothbrush.

For those who can get there away from match day, there is a stadium tour which costs £12 ($18.75) for adults and £9 ($14.10) for six to twelve year-olds and free for under-fives.

Final Thoughts

At 25,000, Craven Cottage is currently the smallest stadium in the Premier League, hence the plan to extend the Riverside Stand, which will take the capacity up to 30,000. The plans are impressive and have already received planning permission. Though no time span has been given for when they will finish the project, the extra 5,000 fans that will flow through the turnstiles will help ensure that Craven Cottage will to continue hosting Premier League football for the foreseeable future, and possibly give the fans going there more to celebrate.

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