(Author’s Note: This is the first of a four-part series highlighting the major football stadiums in London, as well as their surrounding environs. Today’s feature is on grounds in West London, with pieces on North, South, and East London still to come in the run-up to the Olympics).
Even though the 2011-12 Premier League season has ended, there is still an exciting summer ahead in the soccer world. Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine starts June 8, and the tournaments in the Summer Olympics in England kick off July 25 (women) and 26 (men).
Record numbers of tourists are expected to converge upon London for the Games, and though the football tournaments do not draw as much focus as some of the other events, they will still be a huge deal. On the men’s side, Argentina has won gold at the last two Olympiads, with such names as Tevez, Aguero, Mascherano, and Messi featuring for the victors. In 2008, Giuseppe Rossi led the tournament in goalscoring with 4, with Fulham’s Moussa Dembélé right behind him with 3. Rest assured that even though this is an under-23 tournament, you’ll see some of today’s (as well as tomorrow’s) stars in this event, probably including David Beckham leading out the England side as captain.
London, to me, is the best city in the world. There is so much to do that even a lifetime spent there wouldn’t be enough to see all it has to offer. For those of you who plan on visiting London, though, either for the Olympics or just for pleasure at another time, I’d like to give you a quick primer on what to see while you’re there, at least relating to soccer.
A couple notes to keep in mind: All “Directions” are based on the London Underground system, the “Tube”. Bus routes are available online, as are car directions, but the Tube is the best way to get around in London, by far. As a general rule, the further away from Central London you go, the more expensive it will be, but fares are very affordable. I would recommend, if you’re going to be there for at least a week, buy an Oyster Card, valid on all public transportation.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge (capacity: 41,837)
Directions: Take the District Line (green on the Tube map) to the Fulham Broadway tube station. 0.4 mile walk from there to the stadium. Can’t miss it. As convenient as it gets.