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As it gets dark in the evening in London, when Big Ben and Tower Bridge light up, the people start heading to nearby pubs. If you note that 8 out of 10 British people visit the pub for drinks at least once a week, it’s not a surprise that you often pass by crowded, noisy pubs in the street. Pubs in British life have more meaning than just being places for people to hang out. People get to drink and share their lives, stories, and laughter in there.
You might wonder, then, what people like to talk about the most. It’s football, something the British have as much pride in as their national flag. It’s very common for London pubs to show live football games on their TVs. Many people go to pubs to watch the games, and often go to a pub before and after enjoying an actual game at a stadium. Football and pubs have been an essential part of many British people’s lives and culture for a long time.
Recent Champions League winning team Chelsea F.C. was even founded in a pub. Since the inception of association football, many team managers and coaches have gathered to hold meetings in pubs. These days, London is known as the city of football – with 13 clubs in the English Premier League, including Chelsea and Arsenal, there are also more than 80 amateur clubs based in London. With its amazing football history spanning over 100 years, London really does attract football lovers from all over the world to come and visit.
If you ever have a football game you want to watch in the stadium but can’t get a ticket, it would be best to watch the game in one of the pubs in London with local people around. With the added pleasure of enjoying a refreshing beer, you won’t be feeling that you’re the only person who craves for football in this city.
Knowing that history took place here, you will be thrilled to find yourself around and in the historic pubs near the best football clubs and their home stadiums.
PATH 1: Your hotel is in North area of London (Staying 2 days recommended)
1) Tottenham White Hart Lane -> 2) The Bill Nicholson Pub 3) Arsenal Emirates Stadium -> 4) The Gunners Pub 5) Wembley Stadium -> 6) Chelsea Stamford Bridge -> 7) The Butcher’s Hook 8) Crystal Palace Selhurst Park (or) QPR Loftus Road
PATH 2: If your hotel is in South London (2 days are recommended)
1) Crystal Palace Selhurst Park (or) QPR Loftus Road -> 2) Chelsea Stamford Bridge -> 3) The Butcher’s Hook -> 4) Arsenal Emirates Stadium -> 5) The Gunners Pub -> 6) Tottenham White Hart Lane -> 7) The Bill Nicholson Pub -> 8) Wembley Stadium
Name of club: Tottenham Hotspur
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Main players: Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris.
Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić, who are in Real Madrid, the best football team in Europe, Michael Carrick, an essential player for Manchester United, Dimitar Berbatov who once reached the highest goal count for Manchester United and now belongs to AS Monaco, these players with such distinguished talents were originally from Tottenham. Harry Kane, who is also currently regarded as one of the best strikers, belongs to this club. Lee Young-pyo, who was a significant member of the South Korean team in the 2002 World Cup, also played for Tottenham.
Although there are such outstanding football clubs as Arsenal and Chelsea, the most prestigious clubs in the EPL, Tottenham is also considered one of the strongest English clubs in terms of their high records and their long history throughout the league.
Since 1882, the year that Tottenham was founded, this team has been recognised as one the representatives of North London football clubs. In 1913, there was a confrontation between Tottenham and Arsenal as Arsenal moved to a stadium just 6 kilometres away from Tottenham’s. Arsenal was one of the first English teams in the Premier League. It became a very crucial issue that there was no way for Tottenham but to compete for being top of the North London football clubs.
Since then, the word derby has been used to describe the rivalry between two clubs, and the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham is known as the “North London Derby”. If you are a big fan of British football, you will be eager to watch the North London Derby, which is almost impossible to get a ticket for. Before visiting London, carefully prepare for this game as far in advance as possible.
Tottenham is now 3rd on the winner’s list of the FA Cup, behind Manchester United and Arsenal, as they won eight FA Cups (Arsenal have won eleven Cups). They were in 5th to 7th place in the England Premier League, following just behind “The Big 4” (Man.U., Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea) in 2005, when the Korean midfielder, Park, Ji-sung, joined Man. Utd. Since then, they have stayed as strong as any other club in the England 1st division. Recently, they rank as the 5th English Football Club, according to the Daily Mail. The ranking was from adding the number of wins and their average scores in the league (Arsenal was 2nd and Chelsea was 14th on the same list).
If you are a fan of Tottenham, you will be so excited to experience the pub named after Bill Nicholson, who was the best manager in Tottenham’s history. Bill Nicholson was the manager who guided Tottenham to win the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, League Championship and, three FA Cups in the 1960’s. This pub stands near White Hart Lane.
Nicholson was also known as the dedicated football manager who devoted his life to Tottenham as both player and manager; for this reason, the fans of this club much admire him. If you are one of Tottenham’s fans, just taking a picture in front of this pub will be very meaningful and make visiting London worthwhile.
Name of club: Arsenal
Manager: Arsène Wenger
Main players: Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez, Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny.
Out of all the teams in the EPL that have their base in London, Arsenal is the number one winner officially recognised as representing London’s football teams. They went through the seasons of 2003 and 2004 undefeated under Wenger’s management and are also appreciated for their unique play strategies by many fans over the world.
They have won 13 League Championships (behind Man. U., Liverpool), 12 FA Cups (tied with Man. U.) and ever since 1996, when Wenger became manager, they never dropped below 4th in the league, joining all League Championship seasons. They reached the final in the 2005/06 season and scored first, but the goalkeeper, Lehmann was sent off after receiving a red card, and they lost the final.
Arsenal is one of the most successful teams in the League Championship, competing with the top clubs from Europe. Many legendary players who are famous now have their origins in this club. A few legendary stars – Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira – can be picked as examples. Henry appeared on the famous Korean TV show, “Infinite Challenge” and gained a fandom for his performance as a strong forward; they consider him one of the best forward players in history. Bergkamp is known for his unique artistic movement, and Vieira led his team undefeated to win the World Cup in 1998. These star players who once had a run with Arsenal still are loved and appreciated by fans over the world.
Although Arsenal went through financial difficulties before and after their current home, the Emirates Stadium, was built, more recently they have returned to a good position to have Mesut Özil (previously of Real Madrid) and Alexis Sánchez (previously of Barcelona) join their roster. Now they are stepping up to the challenge of winning the EPL with Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, and other outstanding British players from England and Wales.
Statues of Henry and Bergkamp were erected near to the Emirates Stadium, and the cannon between two gates, Arsenal’s logo, stands at the main entrance of the stadium.
“The place where a true Arsenal fan drinks”
The Gunners, the name for Arsenal’s fans, is one of the most popular pubs for Arsenal lovers. It is considered a “must-visit” pub if you are an Arsenal fan. Travellers obviously like it, as you can easily find favourable visitor comments about the pub.
If you look at the Bill Nicholson Pub or the Butcher’s Hook in terms of their historic links to football, you can consider the Gunners Pub the key place for football fans in England. Head to the Gunners to enjoy watching the games on TV if you prefer to watch games rather than reading history books.
Wembley Stadium is the football stadium that hosts the FA Cup Final and the League Cup Final every year, and hosted the 1966 England Word Cup final that the England team won. They regard this stadium as “Football’s Holy Ground”, as their winning experience was one of the most graceful moments in football history.
The stadium re-opened in 2007 after reconstruction on the site of the original Wembley Stadium. It is the largest stadium in the United Kingdom, with 90,000 seats. At the end of the Wembley way that leads to the stadium, there’s a statue of Bobby Moore, who was the team captain who brought the World Cup victory to England. He became one of the most symbolic players in the history of football when he was honoured by receiving the World Cup from Queen Elizabeth ll herself.
The stadium also holds music concerts occasionally since they don’t host League games every week. Musicians like Coldplay, Take That and other British and internationally famous singers and bands have had concerts here. If you love music, it will be a nice idea for you to watch a concert and a stadium tour. time.
Name of club: Chelsea
Manager: José Mourinho
Main players: John Terry, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Didier Drogba.
After the Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, bought Chelsea in 2003, the club has become the highest achieving among clubs in London. They were also the first London club to win the Champions League in 2012. In addition to their long and deep tradition from before Abramovich, the club became the most powerful club, along with Arsenal, representing London football clubs as world top class players joined it. They are also one of the clubs that was considered to have a chance of winning the 2014/15 EPL season.
Somewhat later than Tottenham and Arsenal, the club was founded in 1905. From the beginning, under their millionaire owner, and by brining in high-cost-players of that time, Chelsea was one of the most beloved football clubs around. After José Mourinho took over the club, and again, with new billionaire owner Abramovich, they started to win trophies as the 2004/2005 season went by. Mourinho guided the club to win the League Cup right after he became the manager by bringing in stars, and by keeping core players, like John Terry and Frank Lampard. He became known as a great manager, with the title, “Special One”, noted by fans for his outstanding strategy and his biting remarks.
Since then, the club has confirmed its top position, performing well every season and continuing to aim to win the EPL or even the Champions League by scouting stars like Eden Hazard, Cesc Fàbregas, and Diego Costa.
If you are a Chelsea fan, taking a picture in front of the Peter Osgood statue, standing near the west gate to the Stamford Bridge, is a must-do. Osgood led the club to win the first FA Cup and Cup Winner’s Cup in the 1960s and 1970s. He was a legendary striker beloved by many fans. There is the plaque under his feet saying,
“Stamford Bridge has many heroes, but only one king.”
The Butcher’s Hook is one of the pubs that is deeply related to the history of football in London. Major members including Gus Mears, the first owner of Chelsea, founded Chelsea F.C. through a meeting held on the 1st floor of this pub. At that time the pub’s name was “Rising Sun”, run by Mears’s relative. The name was more than perfect for Mears to found such a highly remarkable football club.
For all of Chelsea’s fans, this pub is a must-visit, five minutes away from Stamford Bridge by foot, so you will be able to visit the stadium and the pub at the same time. If you couldn’t get tickets for Chelsea’s home game in the stadium, watch the game on the TV at the pub or have a beer at the Butcher’s after the game, which will also make a nice memory.
You may consider Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea the clubs for the majority of football fans, but QPR and Crystal Palace are also popular among Korean football fans as the clubs have South Korean players. If you are big fan of Korean stars like Park, Ji-Sung who once was the hero of Korean football, Yun Suk-young (QPR) or Lee Chung-yong (Crystal Palace), you will love to visit these clubs.
Name of club: QPR (Queens Park Rangers)
Manager: Chris Ramsey
Main players: Charlie Austin, Yun Suk-young.
QPR has their home ground near to Stamford Bridge and was founded in 1882. The club has mainly played in the English 1st and 2nd divisions. Recently, they went back to the 1st from the 2nd division in just one season.
Most Korean fans remember QPR as the club that had Park, Ji-Sung as captain before his retirement from international football, and Yun, Suk-young currently on the club’s roster. Other than these two, Charlie Austin is also beloved by Korean fans. He scored the most goals for the club this season. Austin worked as a bricklayer back when he was playing football in the 13th division. He never gave up until he finally got to the 1st division and many fans in Korea appreciate his deep work ethic.
Name: Crystal Palace
Manager: Alan Pardew
Main players: Mile Jedinak, Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Lee Chung-yong (joined in this season).
Crystal Palace is noted for its recent signing of South Korean footballer, Lee Chung-yong this season, and for its cheerleaders. The club has obtained remarkable scores during the 2014/15 season since Pardew took over the club as manager; he also once played for this club. Korean fans are looking forward to Lee Chung-yong showing his performance after his recovery from an injury, since he has not participated in a game yet.
With the nickname “Su-jeong-kung” (수정궁) in Korean (meaning “crystal palace”), Crystal Palace is one of the teams that are supported by passionate fans and cheerleaders. Because their home ground, Selhurst Park stands in South London, quite away from other stadiums, it will be better to get tickets to watch their games before visiting, so you can enjoy their cheerleading performances and the eagles flying shown as their symbol.
1. QPR Pub – “The Crown & Sceptre”
The Crown & Sceptre has its big crown and sceptre image hung on the white wall outside, which definitely draws people’s attention. The pub is a favourite among QPR fans, and the charming thing about this place is that they’re open to any club’s fans to enjoy watching games and have a drink. They serve fine Thai cuisine, unlike other ordinary pubs, and receive many favourable comments from visitors for the range and quality of their food.
2. Crystal Palace Pubs – The Clifton Arms and The Pawsons
Selhurst Park, the home ground of Crystal Palace, is located in a residential area, so they don’t have as many lively pubs or entertaining places nearby like other stadiums. Yet you can still find “The Clifton Arms”, the pub for Crystal Palace fans. Mainly home fans come to the pub. On match day, the pub gets very crowded, and you’re not allowed inside without a Crystal Palace season ticket. When it’s off-season, you can enjoy the pub for some food and drinks, but when the season starts, going to The Pawsons, though it’s not very close by, is not a bad idea.
These five clubs and their grounds, and the three pubs introduced above, are just a little portion of all the football stadiums and pubs that exist the London area.
If you have more time to hang around Stamford Bridge or Loftus Road, also drop by the home ground of Fulham – Craven Cottage. Fulham F.C. is currently playing in the 2nd division, and has the longest history since it was founded earlier than any other club in London. If you have chance to visit East London, go to Upton Park, the home of West Ham United, a club known for their vigorous playing style.
They have many shops lining the street around the stadium, selling football goods related to each club. You might think London is absolutely all about football when you see them. If you love football, you won’t be able to just pass by the shops without looking through their items. Because, as you might already know, a piece of uniform or a small pen you get from the store will be more than a souvenir when you recollect sweet memories of your travel.
Written by Lee, Sung-Mo
1. Tottenham Home Ground – White Hart Lane
Address: Bill Nicholson Way, 748 High Road, Tottenham, London
Telephone: +44 844 499 5000
Stadium tour info: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/stadium-tours/classic-tours/
(Adults: GBP 20 – tour schedules can vary; make sure that you check the website before visiting)
2. The Bill Nicholson Pub
Address: 102 Northumberland Park, N17 0TS, London, United Kingdom
Opening times: 12pm – 11pm
3. Arsenal Home Ground – Emirates Stadium
Address: Hornsey Road, London N7
Telephone: +44 20 7619 5003
Stadium tour info: http://www.arsenal.com/emirates/emirates-stadium-tours
(Adults: GBP 20 – tour schedules can vary; make sure that you check the website before visiting)
4. The Gunners Pub
Address: 204 Blackstock Road, N5 1EN, London, United Kingdom
Opening times: 12 pm – 12 am
5. Wembley Stadium
Address: Wembley, London HA9 0WS
Telephone: +44 844 980 8001
Stadium tour info: http://www.wembleystadium.com/Wembley-Tours.aspx
(Adults: 19 GBP – tour schedules can vary; make sure that you check the website before visiting)