Football stadiums can do bizarre things to people’s minds sometimes. For example, I don’t want Fulham to be relegated. It has nothing to do with the fact that they have several American players. Nor does it have anything to do with an admiration for the pleasing style of football that their players employ. The reason I want Fulham to continue playing Premier League football is for purely architectural and sentimental reasons. I love Craven Cottage.
Fulham’s Craven Cottage is a perfect example of everything that is wonderful about English football. So much attention is always given to the quaint pavilion that sits in the corner of the ground, but the ground has so many other fine attributes. The red brick facade that greets you along Stevenage Round is spectacular. So too is the walk to the ground through the beautiful Bishop’s Park alongside the River Thames.
Inside the ground are other treats including the Johnny Haynes Stand that runs along the touchline on the western side of the ground. Built in 1905, the Stand still features 3,571 of the original wooden Bennet seats as specified by the famous soccer architect Archibald Leitch.
Craven Cottage also features the only tree that still exists inside the grounds of a British football club. It’s situated in a corner of the Putney End.
The stadium in west London has plenty of other endearing features about it. To get a better idea of what those are, view the Craven Cottage photographs I put together during my 2006 trip to London. You can also listen to the EPL Talk Podcast where I describe my experience of visiting Fulham’s ground.
For so many reasons, let’s hope that Fulham doesn’t get relegated. Otherwise the Premier League will be missing one of England’s true classic stadiums.
Before I go, I came across a rare video showing what Craven Cottage looked like in 1931. The video features former Fulham player Fred Spiksley as he demonstrates some basic football skills. Even if you’re not a Fulham fan, this is required viewing to see how the game has changed so much in 77 years.