Fulham Football Part 2 (Jan 22)

There it is, my ticket to bliss, otherwise known as professional soccer. You know that’s a keeper right there, it even has my name at the bottom left hand corner. So where did we leave off. (If you are just beginning to read this I highly suggest you read part 1 first, everything will flow smoother and the jokes wont be nearly as dumb. Well they will be pretty dumb, but go ahead and read part 1 anyways.)

I had done a lot of research on how to get to Craven Cottage (Fulham’s Stadium) the previous night because I did not want to be lost in a part of London I did not know. Strike that, I did not want to be lost when there was a match to be seen. Lucky for me, I was not the only person who had to make the mile long trek from Putney Bridge (the tube stop) to the stadium. The train was packed with people with Fulham scarves and all of them went the same way, so I followed. There is a wooded path (seen above) and parks that lead all the way to the stadium, so finding Craven Cottage was actually quite simple.

Along the way I encountered my first “I NEED to have it” item and bought a Fulham scarf. The best part? It was only 5 pounds. Take a look for yourself (to the right). Tell me that isn’t a dashing scarf? It also helped me fit in with the locals.

Anyways, on I went. It took about 15 minutes to finally reach the stadium. I had given myself 90 minutes of time in case I got lost and to have plenty of time to explore, so I got to the stadium an hour before kickoff.

That right there is a statue of Johnny Haynes, a legend at Fulham. (Here’s a link to his bio if you want to know more about him) It sits right outside the stadium and is the only monument in the area, that’s how much he meant to the club.

The craziest part about this stadium is that you would never know that it’s a professional football stadium if you walked by it. It just looks like a long brick warehouse from the outside. It’s in the middle of a residential area and right next to the bank of the Thames River. That’s what makes it such a fabulous sports venue.

Enough of the buildup though, this is what you wanted to see. Above is the first thing I saw when I stepped into the stadium. Pretty neat eh? The weather was chilly, but not cold. There was a steady breeze blowing into my face most of the match but I had dressed appropriately. I had a t shirt, under a jersey, under a hoodie, under a thick coat, complimented by not one but two jerseys. Plus, the rush of the crowd kept my blood flowing throughout. That’s how you can truly tell I love soccer, the cold doesn’t phase me.

That was my view from my front row seats. Pretty incredible. I watched warmups for about 20 minutes then decided to explore a bit more. Their concession stand sold the normal stuff you would expect at a sporting event. Hot dogs, hamburgers, candy, soda and beer. Which brings up a very curious thing. You were not allowed to drink beer from anywhere you had a view of the field. That meant you couldn’t take it back to your seat with you. They made you drink the beer in the concession areas. Isn’t that crazy? I had gotten so used to the vendors screaming “cold beer” up and down the aisles in the U.S. that I had taken it for granted. Imagine how teams would revolt if they imposed a similar rule back in the states. I found it very intriguing (but logical seeing as the stigma of hooliganism still stains the Brits to this day). One other point, a pint Guiness was 3.80. Thats about 6 bucks. Pretty cheap if you ask me. I didn’t get any though because the lines were monstrous and I’m cheap like that.

Back in my seat, this was how close I was to the players. That right there is Clint Dempsey, the hero of today’s game, but more on that later. He’s also American so I felt that much cooler being that close to him.

By the time the game started, every single seat was filled, as you can tell from this picture. Everyone was singing and clapping. It was just a tremendous atmosphere.

I snapped this pic with the sun setting just before half time. I know you can’t really see the field very well, but for some reason, I really really like it. Anyways, I won’t give you a game recap, for that you can watch this video. I will just say that Dempsey (shown above) scored both goals in the 2-0 victory that left everyone, me included, very happy.  I leave you with a few more pictures that might interest you. Click on them to make them bigger.

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