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Loftus Road Stadium

London, England

Home of the Queens Park Rangers

3.4

3.9

Loftus Road Stadium (map it)
South Africa Road
London, England W12 7PJ
United Kingdom


Queens Park Rangers website

Loftus Road Stadium website

Year Opened: 1904

Capacity: 18,439

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Loftus Road - Heading Down the Bush

When Queens Park Rangers return to the Premier League in 2014-15, their 18,500-seat Loftus Road stadium will be by some measure the smallest in the top division, and the only one with a capacity of under 20,000.

However, what the west London venue lacks in size it certainly makes up for in other ways; the intimate nature of the venue creates a cracking atmosphere, there probably is no stadium with better access by public transport, nor one with a more eclectic mix in the streets and areas that surround it.

After a nomadic existence around west London after they were formed in 1886, QPR first played on Loftus Road in 1920 and after moving away to the nearby White City Stadium, they returned in 1933 and it has been their home since.

Floodlights were installed in 1953 and in 1967 the club won their first major trophy, the Football League Cup, with promotion to the top flight for the first time coming a year later.

At the start of the 1980’s Loftus Road became the first of four football league grounds to install a plastic pitch, but after seven seasons with the ‘drastic plastic’ as it was known, it was replaced with grass.

At the start of the millennium, Fulham shared Loftus Road while their Craven Cottage home was brought up to code for the Premier League. A short while before then, rugby club London Wasps ensured that the ground-staff were kept on their toes with matches taking place on alternate weekends to Rangers.

One of the stadium’s greatest nights came in 1985 when Northern Irish boxer Barry McGuigan challenged the Panamanian Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight championship. Over 27,000 packed the venue and roared on the Clones Cyclone, who won on points after 15 breathless rounds.

There are plans to open a new 40,000 stadium in nearby Old Oak, but until they are firmed up and dates announced for the opening, Loftus Road will continue to provide a cozy home, as it has for most of the last 100 years.

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    3

In the stadium itself the food is the usual option of pies, burgers, hot dogs and chips, washed down with a choice of beer, soda, cider, tea or coffee. Expect to pay around £5 ($8) for something to fill your belly and wet your whistle.

Atmosphere    4

The tight-packed nature of Loftus Road gives the impression that you could easily shout across the pitch and whatever you had to say would be heard by all. It also means that whenever there is a full house and the crowd find their voices, the atmosphere reverberates around the four interlocking stands.

The best atmosphere is usually reserved for when west London rivals Chelsea come to visit, though whenever the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur or West Ham United drop in, the atmosphere picks up pretty well too.

Neighborhood    4

Outside the ground the varied ethnic mix means there is a variety of eating options from the traditional London in the form of pie and mash, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Antipodean, Polish and the ubiquitous fried chicken shop.

Like many traditionally working class areas of London, White City and Shepherd's Bush are currently going through a gentrification process with modern buildings and house prices going up rapidly.

For those wanting something a bit more upmarket there are a wide variety of choices at the Westfield Shopping Centre, Europe's largest, only a mile from the ground. Westfield Shopping Centre is one of two in London and part of Australian Frank Lowy's Westfield empire. As well as being able to get some shopping in before and catch a movie after the match there are some highly regarded restaurant chains. Try Jamie's (Oliver) Italian, which provides the usual Italian fare, but with this reportedly QPR-supporting chef's twist on things. A main with starter or dessert plus wine should set you back about £25 ($42).

Further along the Uxbridge Road is an area of the aforementioned strong ethnic mix, where food and good prices are far more varied and far cheaper than in Westfield.

There is some disquiet from the locals at how the area is changing, not least with the cost of houses and rent and while parts aren't exactly the most salubrious, overall it is a fairly harmless part of west London that is going through fairly large change.

Fans    4

Queens Park Rangers fans may be called all manner of names, but glory hunting isn't one of them after a roller coaster existence in recent years.

They were one of the original clubs in the Premier League's first season, 1992-93, but after a short period of progress under Ray Wilkins in the mid-90s, life has since been one of joy followed shortly by despair. As such, those who attend matches are among the most loyal and vocal of supporters around, who enjoy the good times and don't get too hysterical when things go wrong, knowing full well the next swing of fate is just around the corner.

With a period of relative stability under manager Harry Redknapp and owner Tony Fernandes in the cards, the hope among the Loftus Road regulars is that the upswing will continue for a little while longer.

Access    3

Part of the boon of the Westfield Centre being built was the improvement in transport options. Underground stations Shepherd's Bush and White City on the Central Line, and Wood Lane and Shepherd's Bush Market on the Hammersmith and City Line, as well as Shepherd's Bush overground station are all short walks of no more than 10 minutes to the Loftus Road.

There are also a number of buses that run through Shepherd's Bush green taking folks north and south, east and west; the 283 to Bloemfontein Road or the 72, 95, or 220 to White City Station go nearest the stadium.

It means that travelling by car is rendered almost pointless, which is no bad thing as parking is limited and what there is, is costly. Also most roads are residents' parking only, which means an army of traffic wardens flood the area on match day, leaving a few fans in less than amused mood once they return to their cars.

Return on Investment    3

With a mix of London, top division and small venue, ticket prices are likely to be edging towards the mid to upper price range for the Premier League.

That said, owner Tony Fernandes is a canny businessman who owns Air Asia and he won't be in any hurry to alienate their loyal fan base by jacking up the prices massively.

In the Championship adult prices varied from £20 ($33) - £35 ($60) and from £9 ($15) to £19 ($32), so they actually provided a good afternoon's value for families and stand in stark contrast to the eye-watering prices the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal charge in other parts of the capital.

Extras    3

The Loftus Road shop serves all manner of paraphernalia in blue and white hoops at a wide range of prices, while there are stadium tours laid on throughout the year normally during school holidays; check the website for information.

Then of course is the aforementioned Westfield Shopping Centre; Europe's largest where you can shop, eat and drink to your heart's content till 10pm and of course the delights of London's west end are only a short tube ride away.

Final Thoughts

While the date of the move to the new stadium has yet to be given a time frame, it does mean that fans have the chance to attend one of the Premier League's last standing traditional venues.

Walking to the ground through the narrow streets and sitting in close proximity to other fans is what gives the ground such character and will be hard to create once they move.

That said, those characteristics are what has stopped the ground from being developed, which in turn has condemned fans to watching a yo-yo existence over the past few years, so the chance to build a bigger venue with a greater revenue stream is imperative for the club's future success.

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Crowd Reviews

Loftus Ambitions

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 2

My score is going to be quite high because I saw a great game here from the second row, a bargain at 50 pounds ($80). I had a chicken balti and some wine gums for less than a beer at a US game, and was enthralled by the action as the team fought defending champs Man City to a 2-2 draw. Fans were knowledgeable and passionate, getting there is easy on the tube but getting in can be a pain if you don't know where you are going. Not much in the way of extras, but they aren't needed here, it is hard to sit so close to EPL action for so little money. Do check out single game tickets on line as soon as they go on sale and you might be able to enjoy the same experience.

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Local Food & Drink

Jamie's Italian  (map it!)

11 Upper St Martin's Ln

London, England WC2H 9FB

+44 20 3326 6390

http://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/restaurants/covent-garden

Local Entertainment

Westfield London Shopping Centre  (map it!)

Ariel Way

London, England W12 7GF

+44 20 3371 2300

http://uk.westfield.com/london/

Lodging

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