Football and Rugby, a story of London


Hello everybody.

Today, I’m making a challenge with myself : writting a thread in English. So, there will have a lot of mistakes and I’m very sorry about that. If you’ll see one, leave me a comment ! It’s a challenge, to help me for my journalism contest.

However, I wanted to write my article about Chambord castle. And I’ve watched the Champions League match, between Barcelona and Chelsea, in Stamford Bridge, the stadium of Chelsea FC. I’m not a big fan of football, I’m supporting Bordeaux and Hamburg, but I’m not a « fanatic ». And during a Trivial Pursuit game, I had a question about the stadium of Manchester United (Old Trafford or Anfield Road ?).

So, I spoke a lot with my sweetheart, my girlfriend Myrina about London, and I have seen the fact that the History of stadiums in London was a part of London’s History. So, I will be talking about six stadiums of London : Stamford Bridge, the Emirates Stadium, Highbury, Boylen Ground, Wembley and Twickenham.

Stamford Bridge is the stadium of Chelsea FC, a big football team of London, who plays in Premier League (Elite of English Football). It’s called « Stamford Brigde » because there is a bridge next to the stadium called Stamford Bridge. But Stamford Brige is also a battle, a victory of King Harold Godwinson against the Vikings in 1066. He is located at Fulham Broadway, in London, near Kings Road.  Stamford was opened in 1877, but the actual stadium was built in the 90’s. Primary with a capacity of 100,000 sits , Stamford only have today a capacity of 42,000 sits.

Stamford is the historical stadium of Chelsea, but Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea’s owner, will move to the Olympic Stadium, because he can’t extand Stamford. Yet, a majority of fans would stay at Stamford. To finish, Stamford Bridge is near of the Underground station Fulham Broadway.

Highbury, also known as Arsenal Stadium, was a mythic football stadium, built in 1913 and demolished in 2006. It was the historical stadium of an other big team of Premier League,  Arsenal FC. Arsenal played in Highbury during 93 years, and the stadium was certainly the most renommed in London. The symbol of Highbury was the big clock, « The Clock End » . First built  to welcome 73,000 supporters in its walls, Highbury had only 38,000 sits in 2006 (due to the Hillsborough disaster)

At the date of  the year 2006 , may, the seventh, Arsenal played his last game in Highbury. The « Home of Football », for Arsenal’s fans, was demolished. But today, flats are being built in Highbury’s place, using the very shape and plans of  Arsenal Stadium. The former adress of Highbury was Awenell Road, just next to the new stadium of Arsenal FC, the Emirates Stadium.

So, the Emirates Stadium is the new high tech stadium of Arsenal FC. He was openend in 2006 and the cost of building was  £ 430,000,000. He’s located between the old Highbury and Saint Pancras, the International station.( Eurostar station).Emirates’ first name was Ashburton Grove, the road where the Stadium is located. But the airlines company Emirates Airlines (National company of United Arab Emirates) made a deal with Arsenal : The new stadium have the name of Emirates since 15 years, and Emirates pays a part of Ashburton Grove Stadium and £ 100,000,000 every year.

I don’t like the bigs news stadiums, too much impersonal and modern. But the Emirates Stadium pays a lot of tributes of the old Highbury : Names of tribunes, club office called Highbury House and, the most important, the Clock End of Highbury was encastred in front of Emirates. So the old Highbury isn’t forgetten in this new stadium and I think it’s a very good idea.

Three underground stations locate next to Emirates : Arsenal, Holloway Road and Drayton Park. Finally, the capacity of the Emirates Stadium is of 60,432 sits, the third largest stadium in London, after Wembley and Twickenham.

Boleyn Ground, also known as Upton Park, is the resident stadium of West Ham United FC, the most popular London’s  team. West Ham was renammed as « The Academy of Football », because of a lot of good players who played in West Ham and then joined bigs clubs like Chelsea or Arsenal (Joe Cole, Frank Lampard). So Upton Park was built in 1904, and his original capacity was of 42,000 sits.

Today, Upton Park have a capacity of 35,600 sits, and a new stand was built in 2001. This stand calls « Dr Martens Stand » (like the shoes Dr Martens) and was inaugurated by Her Majesty Elisabeth II. But the major of London, Ken Livingstone annonced that a new stadium will be built for West Ham.

Twickenham is located in the South-West of London. For all rugby fans (and I’m a rugby fan^^), Twickenham is a mythic stadium of Rugby, like the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. It’s the « Home of Rugby », and the England National team plays his matchs (for exemple during the Six Nations) at Twickenham.

Twickenham Stadium was built in 1907 and his actual capacity is of 82,000 sits : It’s the second largest stadium in United Kingtom (after Wembley) and the fifth stadium in Europe. But Twickenham isn’t only a Rugby Stadium (even if Twickenham is the property of English Rugby Union). Due of Wembley’s rehabilitation, a lot of music concerts were moved and played in Twickenham. The Rolling Stones, REM, The Police, Genesis, U2, Within Temptation or Iron Maiden have played in the stadium. At last, there is the World Rugby Museum into Twickenham.

Wembley Stadium is THE most famous stadium of London. It’s not only a stadium, it’s a myth. But there are two Wembley : the old Wembley and the new Wembley.

The old Wembley was also named British Empire Exhibition Stadium. It’s was built for the British Empire Exhibition of 1923. Primary with a capacity of 127,000 sits, Wembley had, when he had demolished, a capacity of 82,000 sits. English had a hate/love relationship with the old Wembley, because this stadium was not perfect for football matchs. However, Pelé, the famous brazilian football player, had called Wembley « The Temple of Football ». The English Football National Team has played its matchs in old Wembley. Old Wembley was called « The Twin Towers » because of the two towers in the entrance (the symbol of old Wembley). The stadium was also a big place of concerts : Michael Jackson (15 times), The Rolling Stones (12 times), Madonna (9 times), U2 (8 times), Genesis, Tina Turner, Oasis, The Cure, Guns N’ Roses, Queen, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, KISS,  Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Celine Dion, ABBA, Bee Gees, Status Quo, Elton John, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Van Halen, INXS, Pink Floyd, Metallica and the Spice Girls ! The famous Queen’s « Live at Wembley », recorded in the stadium, is the most important live of the band.

But in 2003, Wembley was demolished and in 2007  was opened the new Wembley. With a capacity of 90,000 sits, Wembley is the largest stadium of London and the second stadium in Europe (after Camp Nou, in Barcelona). Immediately, the new Wembley have been critized by London. First, because it was very expensive (£ 800,000,000), and also because the new Wembley makes no tributes to the old Wembley. Even the Twin Towers, the symbol of old Wembley, were demolished. London regrets the old Wembley, and the new Wembley is only an enormous high tech stadium, so impersonal.

So, this is the end of this article. I hope this article has interessed you ! If you want, leave me a comment. To finish with music, introducing « Dance Commander » by Electric Six.

See you soon,



2 commentaires

  1. Hey love!

    I’m very proud of you for writing this thread all in English, and you don’t make a lot of mistakes like you believe, your english is better than you think.
    And I can tell that what David said about you writing in english was true!
    You must continue and improve your english!
    Congrats Love

    I love you so much!

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