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The Top 10 Football Teams in London
There is plenty to see for those interested in football in London. Just to clarify for all readers of this article outside of the UK, football means the ‘beautiful game’, which is commonly referred to as football around the world.
London has a proud tradition of famous football teams with plenty of competition between them to be the top club. There are usually four or five London teams in the Premier League and many commentators believe this is one of the biggest obstacles to any of them winning. A “local derby” between two London football teams could produce an electric atmosphere and reverse the current form as they are disputed.
Premier League tickets are sometimes hard to come by, but a little perseverance often pays off. There are a number of ticket agencies that can get them for a fee.
Over the past decade, Arsenal and Chelsea have each won the illustrious Premier League title twice and reached the European Cup final.
Here are some details of the top 10 football clubs in London and to avoid any accusations of partisanship they are listed in alphabetical order:-
Arsenal Gunners have played in the top division of English football in consecutive seasons since the 1919-20 season. They were champions 13 times and achieved a unique record for modern times in the 2003-04 season where they went all season unbeaten.
Arsenal have won the coveted ‘double’ (league and cup winners in the same season) three times, in 1971, 1998 and 2002
In recent years they have moved to a new venue, the 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium. The Arsenal Museum is well worth a visit and is open daily.
The Bees, Brentford Football Club currently play in Football League I. They were founded in 1889 and have played their home games at Griffin Park, their home stadium since 1904. Brentford’s most successful spell came in the 1930s, when they obtained first six consecutive places in the first division.
Since the war they have spent most of their time in the third and fourth tier of English football. Brentford have been four-time FA Cup quarter-finalists and twice Football League Trophy runners-up.
The Addicks, Charlton Athletic have seen better days. There were good days in the 1930s and 1940s. In recent years they have struggled after being relegated from the Premier League in 2005 and then the Championship in 2008.
They play at The Valley just south of the Thames in Greenwich. The club was founded in 1905.
Historically, Charlton’s most successful period was the 1930s, when the club’s highest league finishes were recorded, including league runners-up in 1937, and after World War II, when the club reached the twice FA Cup final, winning in 1947.
The Pensioners or the Blues, the Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905 and plays in the Premier League. Chelsea have been champions three times (1955, 2005, 2006) and won the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup twice. They reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2008
Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge in west London and have a ground capacity of 42,000. The Chelsea Museum is open most days and is well worth a visit for those interested in museums and football history.
The Eagles, Crystal Palace Football Club were formed in 1905. The team plays its home matches at Selhurst Park, where it has been based since 1924. The club currently competes in the second tier, The Championship.
Crystal Palace’s last successful spell began in 1988-89, when the club finished third in the Second Division and were promoted to the First Division. Reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final only to lose the replay to Manchester United and finishing 3rd in the First Division in 1990-91.
Since then Palace have been relegated and promoted to the FA Premier League on several occasions, their last relegation from the top flight being in the 2004-05 season. All this while the club almost went bankrupt in July 2000.
The Cottagers, Fulham Football Club were founded in 1879, they celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2004 and are part of English football’s top division, the Premier League. Fulham is London’s oldest professional football team.
In 2009, Fulham achieved their best ever Premier League finish, finishing 7th to qualify for Europe.
The club has produced many great British footballers including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and Alan Mullery and Jim Langley. They play at the historic Craven Cottage, their home since 1896, a riverside ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham.
Queens Park Rangers
The Hoops or simply QPR, Queens Park Rangers Football Club based in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. They currently play in the Football League Championship and their honors include winning the League Cup in 1967 and runners-up in the old Premier League in 1975-76 and the FA Cup in 1982.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club was founded in 1882 and its traditional colors are blue and white. Due to its proximity to other west London clubs, QPR have long-standing rivalries with several other clubs in the area, the most notable being Chelsea, Brentford and Fulham with whom they dispute what we call it west london derbies.
In 2007, QPR was taken over by Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore and ranks among the top 10 wealthiest sports clubs in the world. Other major shareholders include Lakshmi Mittal and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. So watch this space!
The famous ‘Spurs’ team from 1961 is still considered by many football enthusiasts to be one of the best football teams in the history of English football. They achieved the ‘double’ which had not been achieved at the time since Aston Villa won it in 1897.
This has given recent Spurs teams a lot to live up to. But Spurs have a long tradition of good football, so there are plenty of exciting matches at White Hart Lane, especially with their near north London rivals Arsenal.
In 1963, Spurs became the first British club to win a major European trophy – the European Cup Winners’ Cup. In the 1970s they won the Football League Cup twice and were the first UEFA Cup winners in 1972. In the 1980s Spurs won several trophies: the FA Cup twice, the FA Community Shield and the 1983-84 UEFA Cup. In the 1990s they won the FA Cup and the Football League Cup and in 2008 they beat Chelsea in the Football League Cup final. The win means Tottenham have won a trophy in each of the last six decades – a feat matched only by Manchester United.
Spurs have planned a new stadium to be completed by 2012 and it is expected to be one of the best stadiums in the UK.
The Hornets, Watford Football Club based in Watford, Hertfordshire. They play in the Championship. The club was founded in 1881 and played at several grounds before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where they remain to this day. Since 1997, they have shared the stadium with Saracens Rugby Club. Watford have a long-standing rivalry with Luton Town.
The club is best known for two spells under former England manager Graham Taylor. The first lasted from 1977 to 1987, when the club moved to the old First Division from the Fourth Division. Once in English football’s top division, Watford finished second in the league in 1983, reached the FA Cup final in 1984 and took part in the UEFA Cup in the 1984-85 season.
The second period spanned from 1997 to 2001, when Taylor took the club from the renamed Second Division to the Premier League in successive seasons. Taylor is currently the club’s non-executive director and honorary lifetime chairman alongside Sir Elton John, owner of the club at both times and who continued a long association with the club.
West Ham United
The Hammers, West Ham United Football Club have played at Upton Park (Boleyn Ground), east London since 1904 having been formed in 1895.
They appeared in the first FA Cup final at Wembley in 1923 against Bolton Wanderers. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. They have also been runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006.
In 1965 they won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and in 1999 they won the InterToto Cup.
Their players are seen as an important factor in England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, as England’s captain at the time was West Ham’s Bobby Moore, and the two goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were West Ham players.
West Ham currently compete in the Premier League, their best Premier League finish was 5th in 1998-99.
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