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Official Review by Peter Miles, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The London Broncos were formed in 1980 as Fulham Rugby League Club, initially playing at Craven Cottage. They spent the next few years playing at Crystal Palace National Athletics Stadium, Chiswick, and Barnes before becoming the London Crusaders in 1991. In 1994 the club was acquired by the company that owns the Brisbane Broncos and adopted its current name. Their nomadic existence continued as home games were played at Charlton Athletic and Brentford's football stadiums.
Then between 2005 and 2011 the Broncos played as Harlequins Rugby League, as their home venue of the Stoop in Twickenham meant a tie up with the famous rugby union club of the same name. Having reverted back to the Broncos name again 2012, the team relocated to north London playing at The Hive. The move to Ealing came in late 2015 and they presently have a three year tenancy at the Trailfinders Club.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food is available at a kiosk at the end of the clubhouse while a great range of alcohol and snacks are available in the bar. The kiosk serves excellent burgers and hot dogs where the quality of the meat makes them a very good value for the money. The bar is large and well stocked and alcohol is permitted into the seating areas from the clubhouse, although it must be in a plastic glass. There is a full range of non-alcoholic drinks available.
The Rugby League is sponsored by Kingstone Press which means its products are widely pushed at league venues. Their classic apple cider is exceptionally refreshing.
There is a very decent atmosphere and family-orientated clientele. It is clear, having only recently moved to Ealing, the Broncos are committed to building links with the local community.
The clubhouse is the centre piece of the venue and is a truly magnificent building. A small, cramped looking seating area is attached to the external wall. A large tarpaulin covered stand houses the majority of supporters while some will choose to sit in the sun on the uncovered bleachers at the opposite end. Music is played before the game and during half-time. The PA announcer reads the teams out and announces scorers and interchanges.
The seating attached to the clubhouse seems a little cramped, almost like it was an afterthought to the main construction. However, this is the only area where you can watch the action at both ends. At the far end there is a large temporary style stand which has the bulk of the seating available, while at the car park end there are small uncovered bleachers which are not all that easy to climb into for a seat.
London is one of the greatest cities in the world and Ealing's location at the end of the central line makes the mind-boggling choice of entertainment immediately accessible to all visitors.
The Ealing Park Tavern has been a brew house since 1728 and now has its own microbrewery called Long Arm producing keg, cask, and bottled beer. Something more unusual is the Pillars restaurant which offers a three course meal cooked by university students for only £12.45. It is superb value, but operates only Tuesday to Friday.
There are so many things to see in this great city but among the most popular are the giant Ferris wheel, The London Eye, and Renzo Piano's eye-poppingly tall Shard building in Southwark. Both attractions are situated on the south bank of the River Thames.
For the more unusual, Camden Lock Market is a superb example of multi-cultural London. Situated on the banks of Regent's Canal this myriad of shops, stalls, and eateries is a real 'must do' for visitors to London.
The Crowne Plaza hotel is directly opposite Hanger Lane tube station. This hotel has excellent access to Central London and Westfield Shopping Centre via the Central Line.
The club has a die hard core of supporters despite its nomadic history of venues. Now playing home games in west London, hard core supporters have followed them to Ealing, which speaks volumes for the interest in bringing this traditionally northern-based game to the capital city.
Since moving to Ealing, the Broncos attendance figures have ranged between 500 to 800 depending on opponents. The club has enthusiastic fans cheering the team on in game phases, but equally are respectfully silent for opposition kickers during penalty and conversion attempts.
It is very easy to locate the stadium by road or public transport. Once the fourth side is completed, you will be able to access all four sides of the ground. Parking at the venue is £5 or free on the surrounding streets. There is a table at the entry of the venue which sells tickets for the match day price of £20. A far better option is to order online at the "early bird" price of £15. To purchase match tickets visit London Broncos.
If travelling by rail, either take a train from Paddington to Ealing Broadway and then a bus, or take a train from Paddington to Castlebar Park, cross over the bridge and walk. Alternatively, buses 297, E1, E2, E7, E9 and E10 all stop in the vicinity of the venue.
For second level rugby league an impulse visit will cost £20 which is a little on the high side. It is easy to find by road and public transport; the cost of the overall day can be reduced by parking in the surrounding area or walking from Castlebar Park station.
The online earlybird price for adults is £15, whereas the on-the-door match day adult price is £20. Concessions (over 60, registered students, disabled, emergency services and serving military) and adult members pay £12, and under 16s go free of charge.
One star for the eight-page match program printed on high quality card on sale for £1.
Another star for the supporters getting a free glossy monthly club magazine.
The artificial surface means games are on for all weather conditions and with a fully professional squad, the entertainment value makes this venue well worth a visit.
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222 South Ealing Road
London, W5 4RL
(+44) 0208 7581879
University of West London
London, W5 5RF
0208 231 2200
32 London Bridge Street
London, SE1 9SG
+44 (0)84 4499 7111
London, W5 1HG
+44 0871 9429114
(+44) 0208 7581879
0208 231 2200