During its course, the Fulham football team, originally known as the 'Church team', have been herded around most of South West London. They started in the location which is now the widely known as the ‘Hurlingham Club’ and during the coming years called Barn Elms, Parsons Green, Eel Brook common and Captain James Field their home. Finally in 1894, the club, looking for a more permanent fixture, purchased craven cottage, which is where they are found today. The site originally boasted of a derelict house which was soon cleared to welcome a wooden stand that could accommodate around 1,2000 spectators. Although, this quick build soon challenged some health and safety rules and was torn down. In response to this upheaval the Stevenage road stand was built in 1905 costing around £15,000 and could hold over 45,000 fans. A second, more expensive, stand was pridefully opened in 1972 and due to Fulham’s promotion to the premier league, it was granted some redevelopment to honour the League’s certain requirements.

            As a less active football fan, the most recognisable features of the stadium are the two statues that glow with importance outside of the gates. They are of Johnny Haynes who is coined as ‘Fulham’s greatest ever footballer’ and George Cohen MBE who lead to Fulham to victory in the 1966 England World Cup.

            More recently, this landmark of Fulham has gone under some dramatic transformations. On the 22nd of May 201 it was announced by the chairman of Fulham (Sahid Khan) that an agreement had been signed for the destruction and renovation of the Riverside stand. This redevelopment would lead to an increase in capacity from 4,689 to 8,650 and allow for the creation of a public riverside path and the introduction of new hospitality locations, such as cafes and restaurants. This magnificent infrastructure was designed by the architect Populous who wished to not only create an unbroken walkway along the river, but also a more modern and innovative stadium for its fans. He utilised Fulham’s beautiful surroundings to his advantage when designing the stand, showing off the picturesque view of the Thames. Although it’s required scaffolding is seen by some locals as an eye sore, I think the final result will be immensely rewarding. Even though I don’t take an avid interest in Football, much to my Dad’s side of the family’s disgust, having been to a few games, the atmosphere is unbeatable. Especially after Covid-19, football is a way to unite people from all across England and is an outlet from their stressful days. It can also give structure to many and help form bonds between different generations.

            From being called  ‘The Rabbit Hutch’ to ‘Craven’s Cottage’ , this stadium has encaptured fans for decades and for many is a place that holds many happy memories and is perhaps even somewhere that sparks hope as they can look on with pride at something they are a part of, something they belong to.


Evie Jouning