Football in London

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As of the 2014–15 season, there are thirteen teams playing in professional leagues in London, six play in the Premier League and seven in the Football League. Wembley Stadium is also shown.

Football is the most popular sport, both in terms of participants and spectators, in London.[1] London has several of England's leading football clubs, and the city is home to thirteen professional teams and more than 80 amateur leagues regulated by the London Football Association.[2] Most London clubs are named after the district in which they play or used to play.

Fulham is London's oldest club still playing professionally, having been founded in 1879. Royal Arsenal were London's first team to turn professional in 1891.

Arsenal is London's most successful team with 41 honours. Arsenal were the first and only club to go an entire season unbeaten in the 2003-2004 Premier League season

Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are London's most successful teams in domestic and European competitions. Between them, they've won a total of 87 titles and trophies. Tottenham Hotspur were the first club in Britain to win a European trophy, winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1963.

Wembley Stadium, England's national stadium is in London. It is the home venue of the England national football team and has traditionally hosted the FA Cup Final since 1923. On 19 May 2012, Chelsea became the first London club to become European champions in the modern era after winning the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League.

History[edit]

The playing of team ball games (almost certainly including football) was first recorded in London by William FitzStephen around 1174-1183. He described the activities of London youths during the annual festival of Shrove Tuesday.

After lunch all of the city's youth would go out into the fields to take part in a ball game. The students of each school have their own ball; the workers from each city craft are also carrying their balls. Older citizens, fathers, and the wealthy would come on horseback to watch their juniors competing, and to relive their own youth vicariously: you can see their inner passions aroused as they watch the action and get caught up in the fun being had by the carefree adolescents.[3]

The playing of some form of football in London has been well documented since its creation in 1314. Regular references to the game occurred throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including the first reference to word "football" in English when it was outlawed by King Henry IV of England in 1409. Early games were probably disorganised and violent. In the sixteenth century, the headmaster of St Paul's School Richard Mulcaster is credited with taking mob football and transforming it into organised and refereed team football. In 1581 he described in English his game of football, which included smaller teams, referees, set positions and even a coach.

The modern game of football was first codified in 1863 in London and subsequently spread worldwide. Key to the establishment of the modern game was Londoner Ebenezer Cobb Morley who was a founding member of the Football Association, the oldest football organisation in the world. Morley wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for football which led directly to the first meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern in central London of the FA. He wrote the first set of rules of true modern football at his house in Barnes. The modern passing game was invented in London in the early 1870s by the Royal Engineers A.F.C..[4][5]

Prior to the first meeting of the Football Association in the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London on 26 October 1863, there were no universally accepted rules for the playing of the game of football. The founder members present at the first meeting were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone (later to become Wanderers), N.N. (No Names) Club (Kilburn), the original Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington School, Percival House (Blackheath), Surbiton and Blackheath Proprietary School; Charterhouse sent its captain, B.F. Hartshorne, but declined the offer to join. All of the 12 founding clubs were from London though many are since defunct or now play rugby union.

There was a rise in the popularity of football in London dates from the end of the 19th Century, when a fall in church attendance[specify] left many people searching for a way to spend their weekend leisure time.[6] In 1882 the London Football Association was set up. Over the next 25 years clubs sprang up all over the capital, and the majority of these teams are still thriving in the 21st century. Of those clubs currently playing in the Football League, Fulham is generally considered to be London's oldest club still in existence, having been founded in 1879.[7] However, Isthmian League side Cray Wanderers is the oldest extant club in all of the Greater London area, having been founded in 1860 in St Mary Cray[8] | (then part of Kent but now in the London Borough of Bromley).

Bitter rivals Millwall and West Ham United playing in the 1930 FA Cup at Upton Park.[9]

Initially, football in London was dominated by amateur teams, drawing their membership from former public schoolboys but gradually working-class sides came to the forefront. Woolwich Arsenal was London's first professional team, becoming so in 1891,[10] a move which saw them boycotted by the amateur London Football Association. Other London clubs soon followed Arsenal's footsteps in turning professional, including Millwall (1893), Tottenham Hotspur (1895), Fulham (1898) and West Ham (1898).

In the meantime, Woolwich Arsenal went on to be the first London club to join the Football League, in 1893. The following year, the Southern League was founded and many of its members would go on to join the Football League. In 1901 Tottenham Hotspur became the first club from London to win the FA Cup in the professional era, although it would not be until 1931 that a London side would win the Football League, the team in question being Arsenal (having moved to Highbury in 1913 and dropped the "Woolwich" from their name).

Historically, the London clubs have not accumulated as many trophies as those from North West England, such as Liverpool and Manchester United; however, today Arsenal and Chelsea are regarded as two of the Premier League's "big four" alongside them. In 2003-04 they became the first pair of London clubs to finish first and second in the top flight, with Arsenal winning. In 2004-05 they did so again, this time with Chelsea winning. The 2009–10 Premier League saw Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham finish in the top 4 places, the first time ever that three London clubs had done so, and it meant that that all three qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

Before Chelsea's recent rise in fortunes the two highest profile London clubs were Arsenal and their long-standing North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, both of whom were considered to be members of English football's "big five" for most of the post-war period. All three clubs occupy the top ten in the all-time top-flight table for England – Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea being third, eighth and ninth respectively.[11]

Clubs[edit]

The table below lists all London clubs in the top eight tiers of the English football league system: from the top division (the Premier League), down to Step 4 of the National League System. League status is correct for the 2014–15 season. Stadiums and capacity are of 1 May 2013.

Club Stadium Capacity Founded Notes
Premier League (1)
Arsenal Emirates Stadium 60,338 1886 London's first professional club, originally based in Woolwich. First London team to become English League Champions, in 1931. Joint record FA Cup winners with 11 titles.
Chelsea Stamford Bridge 42,449 1905 Won the last ever FA Cup final at the old Wembley in 2000 and first at the new stadium in 2007. First London club to win the UEFA Champions League in 2012.
Crystal Palace Selhurst Park 26,309 1905 A Crystal Palace team established in 1861 were FA founder members.
Queens Park Rangers Loftus Road 18,360 1882 Have had nearly 20 different home stadia.
Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane 36,230 1882 The first English club to win a European trophy.
West Ham United Boleyn Ground 35,303 1895 Founded as Thames Ironworks.
Football League Championship (2)
Brentford Griffin Park 12,763 1889 Founded in 1889 to serve as a winter pursuit for the Brentford Rowing Club.
Charlton Athletic The Valley 27,111 1905 The club's first ground was Siemens Meadow (1905–1907).
Fulham Craven Cottage 25,700 1879 Oldest London club in the Football League.
Millwall The Den 20,146 1885 Founded in East London on the Isle of Dogs, moved to Bermondsey in 1910.
Football League One (3)
Leyton Orient Brisbane Road 9,271 1881 Leyton Orient was originally formed by members of the Glyn Cricket Club in 1881.
Football League Two (4)
AFC Wimbledon Kingsmeadow 4,850 2002 Formed by fans of Wimbledon when club announced move to Milton Keynes.
Dagenham & Redbridge Victoria Road 6,078 1992 Formed from Ilford (formed in 1881), Leytonstone (1886), Walthamstow Avenue (1900), Dagenham (1949) and Redbridge Forest (1979). Have not played in the top flight.
Conference Premier (5)
Barnet The Hive Stadium 5,100 1888 Have not played in the top flight. First London team to be promoted from the Conference into the League (in 1991).
Welling United Park View Road 3,500 1963
Conference South (6)
Bromley Courage Stadium 5,000 1892
Hayes & Yeading United Kingfield Stadium 6,036 2007 Formed by a merger of Hayes F.C. and Yeading F.C. in 2007. Currently tenants of Woking, former Hayes' ground (Church Road) demolished in 2011, waiting to move to the new Sharda Glass Community Stadium, which is due to be opened in the end of 2013.
Sutton United Borough Sports Ground 7,032 1898
Wealdstone St. George's Stadium 2,640 1899
Isthmian League Premier Division (7)
A.F.C. Hornchurch Hornchurch Stadium 3,500 1923 Formerly Hornchurch
Dulwich Hamlet Champion Hill 3,000 1893
Enfield Town Queen Elizabeth II Stadium 2,500 2001 Set up by supporters of Enfield (now based outside Greater London boundaries) in protest at owners' actions.
Hampton & Richmond Borough Beveree Stadium 3,000 1921
Harrow Borough Earlsmead Stadium 3,070 1933
Hendon Vale Farm 3,000 1908
Kingstonian Kingsmeadow 4,850 1885 Currently tenants of AFC Wimbledon
Metropolitan Police Imber Court 3,000 1919
VCD Athletic Oakwood 1,180 1916 VCD Athletic's name was originally short for Vickers, Crayford & Dartford Athletic
Isthmian League Division One North (8)
Cray Wanderers Courage Stadium 6,000 1860[8] Currently tenants of Bromley. Oldest club in Greater London.
Redbridge Oakside 3,000 1958 Formerly Ford United
Romford Mill Field 1,100 1876
Thamesmead Town Bayliss Avenue 6,000 1969 Formerly Thamesmead
Wingate & Finchley Franklyn Road Sports Ground 1,500 1946
Isthmian League Division One South (8)
Carshalton Athletic War Memorial Sports Ground 5,000 1905
Corinthian-Casuals King George's Fields 2,700 1878 Formed by a merger of Corinthian F.C. and Casuals F.C. in 1939.
Tooting & Mitcham United Imperial Fields 3,500 1932
Southern Football League Division One Central (8)
A.F.C. Hayes Farm Park 1,500 1974
Hanwell Town Reynolds Field 3,000 1920
North Greenford United Berkeley Fields 2,000 1944
Northwood Northwood Park 3,075 1899
Uxbridge Honeycroft 3,770 1871

Defunct clubs[edit]

Club League Stadium Founded Dissolved/
Merged
Notes
Casuals Defunct ? 1878 1939 Founder members of the Isthmian League in 1905 and won the FA Amateur Cup in 1936. Merged with Casuals F.C to form Corinthian-Casuals.
Clapham Rovers Defunct Clapham Common 1869 Former FA Cup Winners, and scorers of the first ever FA Cup goal
Corinthian Defunct Queen's Club,
Crystal Palace,
Leyton
1882 1939 Rarely partook in competitive matches yet defeated many strong teams, often by a wide margin - e.g. FA Cup holders Blackburn Rovers 8–1 (1884) and Bury FC 10-3 (1903). Merged with Casuals FC to form Corinthian-Casuals.
Croydon Athletic Defunct KT Stadium 1986 2011/2012 Supporters of the defunct club and some of the old club management and officials formed a new member owned, fan owned, club - AFC Croydon Athletic.
Croydon Common Defunct Croydon Common Athletic Ground 1897
Edgware Town Defunct White Lion Ground 1939 2008 At the end of the 2007-08 season, Edgware Town were forced to resign from the Isthmain League Division One North when lack of funds meant that the club were unable to confirm a new ground for the following season after their lease at the White Lion ground had expired.
Fisher Athletic Defunct Champion Hill 1908 A new fan-owned club was formed - Fisher F.C. Once tenants of Dulwich Hamlet
Hayes Defunct Church Road 1909 Merged with Yeading to form Hayes & Yeading United
Leyton Defunct Leyton Stadium 1868 In January 2011, after a short suspension from the league for not paying its subscription, the club was forced to withdraw from the Isthmian League Division One North division due to debt.
London XI Defunct Multiple 1955 1958 Created specifically to take part in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup between 1955 and 1958, reaching the final
Nunhead F.C. Defunct Brown's Ground (also known as 'Nunhead Sports Ground')[12] 1888 1949, with day-to-day operations ceasing at the end of the 1940-41 season[12] Originally founded as Wingfield House Football Club in 1888, the name was changed to Nunhead F.C. in 1904[12]
Thames Defunct West Ham Stadium 1928 Members of the Football League between 1930 and 1932
Upton Park Defunct West Ham Park 1866 Represented Great Britain at the 1900 Summer Olympics football tournament, winning the gold medal
Wanderers Defunct The Oval and others 1859 c.1887 Winners of the first ever FA Cup
Wimbledon Defunct Plough Lane, Selhurst Park 1889 2004 Moved to Milton Keynes in 2003, renamed Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. AFC Wimbledon formed in 2002 by some of its former fans in protest.
Yeading Defunct The Warren 1960 Merged with Hayes to form Hayes & Yeading United

There are also a huge number of minor London clubs playing outside the top eight levels of English football. Hackney Marshes in east London, home to many amateur sides, is reportedly the single largest collection of football pitches in the world, with 100 separate pitches.[1]

Most successful clubs overall (1871 – present)[edit]

Team English Football Champions FA Cup League Cup FA Community Shield Domestic Total UEFA Champions League UEFA Cup Winners' Cup UEFA Europa League UEFA Super Cup UEFA Intertoto Cup Fairs
Cup
Intercontinental Cup / FIFA Club World Cup Total
Arsenal 13 11 2 13 39 1 (1)* 41
Chelsea 4 7 4 4 19 1 2 1 1 - 24
Tottenham Hotspur 2 8 4 7 21 1 2 24
West Ham United 3 1 4 1 1 6
Wanderers 5 5 5
Charlton Athletic 1 1 1
Clapham Rovers 1 1 1
Wimbledon 1 1 1
Queens Park Rangers 1 1 1
Fulham 1 1

The figures in bold represent the most times this competition has been won by an English team.
Shared Community Shield results listed as wins.
 * The Fairs Cup is not considered a UEFA competition, and hence Arsenal's record in the Fairs Cup is not considered part of its European record (although it won it in 1970, at a time when participation was based on league position).

English football champions[edit]

  • Titles (clubs) : 19 (3)
  • Runners-up (clubs) : 18 (5)
Club Winners Runners-up Winning Years
Arsenal
13
8
1930–31, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1937–38, 1947–48, 1952–53, 1970–71, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04
Chelsea
4
4
1954–55, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
Tottenham Hotspur
2
4
1950–51, 1960–61
Queens Park Rangers
-
1
(1975–76)
Charlton Athletic
-
1
(1936–37)

FA Cup winners[edit]

Arsenal playing Chelsea - two of London's most successful FA Cup teams.
  • Titles (clubs) : 37 (8)
  • Runners-up (clubs) : 20 (10)
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Arsenal 11 7 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014 1927, 1932, 1952, 1972, 1978, 1980, 2001
Tottenham Hotspur 8 1 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991 1987
Chelsea 7 4 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 1915, 1967, 1994, 2002
Wanderers 5 0 1872, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1878
West Ham United 3 2 1964, 1975, 1980 1923, 2006
Charlton Athletic 1 1 1947 1946
Clapham Rovers 1 1 1880 1879
Wimbledon 1 0 1988
Fulham 0 1 1975
Queens Park Rangers 0 1 1982
Crystal Palace 0 1 1990
Millwall 0 1 2004

Football League Cup winners[edit]

  • Titles (clubs) : 11 (4)
  • Runners-up (clubs) : 13 (5)
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Tottenham Hotspur 4 3 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008 1982, 2002, 2009
Chelsea 4 2 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007 1972, 2008
Arsenal 2 5 1987, 1993 1968, 1969, 1988, 2007, 2011
Queens Park Rangers 1 1 1967 1986
West Ham United 0 2 1966, 1981

Football League Championship winners[edit]

Town or city Number of titles (clubs) Clubs
London
15 (9)
Chelsea (2), Crystal Palace (2), Fulham (2), Queens Park Rangers (2), Tottenham Hotspur (2), West Ham United (2), Brentford (1), Charlton Athletic (1), Millwall (1).

London football in Europe[edit]

  • Titles (clubs): 13 (5)
  • Runners-up (clubs): 8 (6)

UEFA Champions League[edit]

  • Titles : 1
  • Runners-up : 2
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Chelsea 1 1 2012 2008
Arsenal 0 1 2006

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup[edit]

  • Titles : 5
  • Runners-up : 3
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Chelsea 2 0 1971, 1998
Arsenal 1 2 1994 1980, 1995
West Ham United 1 1 1965 1976
Tottenham Hotspur 1 0 1963

UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League[edit]

  • Titles : 3
  • Runners-up : 3
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Tottenham Hotspur 2 1 1972, 1984 1974
Chelsea 1 0 2013
Arsenal 0 1 2000
Fulham 0 1 2010

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[edit]

  • Titles : 1
  • Runners-up : 1
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Arsenal 1 0 1970
London XI 0 1 1958

UEFA Super Cup[edit]

  • Titles : 1
  • Runners-up : 3
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Chelsea 1 2 1998 2012, 2013
Arsenal 0 1 1994

UEFA Intertoto Cup[edit]

  • Titles : 2
  • Runners-up : 0
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
West Ham United 1 0 1999
Fulham 1 0 2003

London football in FIFA Club World Cup[edit]

  • Titles : 0
  • Runners-up : 1
Team Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Chelsea 0 1 2012

Stadia[edit]

Wembley Stadium[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Wembley Stadium.
Wembley Stadium, London England

Wembley Stadium, in north-west London, is the national football stadium, and is traditionally the home of the FA Cup Final as well as England's home internationals. The old stadium was closed in 2000 in order to be demolished and completely rebuilt, and reopened in 2007; during the closure Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was the venue for cup finals, while England played at various venues around the country. Wembley was one of the venues for the 1966 FIFA World Cup and the 1996 European Football Championship, and hosted the final of both tournaments. It also was the venue for the European Cup final in 1968, 1978, 1992, 2011 and 2013. With a 90,000-capacity, it's the second largest stadium in Europe.

Other stadia[edit]

Most clubs in London have their own stadium, although some clubs share between them, and some clubs may temporarily take up a tenancy at another's ground due to their own ground being redeveloped. The largest operational football stadium in London apart from Wembley is Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, with a capacity of 60,355. Other large stadiums include Chelsea's Stamford Bridge (42,055), Tottenham's White Hart Lane (36,240) and West Ham United's Boleyn Ground (35,647). There are 10 stadiums in London with capacities over 10,000.

Administration[edit]

London is the location of the headquarters of the Football Association, at Wembley Stadium (formerly Soho Square and Lancaster Gate), while the Premier League's offices are located in Gloucester Place near Marble Arch. The Football League maintains its headquarters in Preston, although its commercial offices are based in Gloucester Place as well.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "London :: Football". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Football Clubs in London - Professional & amateur London football". www.first4london.com. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Stephen Alsford, FitzStephen's Description of London, Florilegium Urbanum, 5 April 2006
  4. ^ Wall, Sir Frederick (2005). 50 Years of Football, 1884-1934. Soccer Books Limited. ISBN 1-86223-116-8. 
  5. ^ "Early History of Football". The Encyclopedia of British Football. 
  6. ^ "Football in London". Life in London Magazine. 
  7. ^ "History Overview". Fulhamfc.com. 
  8. ^ a b History of Cray Wanderers
  9. ^ Lindsay, Richard (1991). Millwall: A Complete Record, 1885–1991. Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85983-833-2. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "125 years of Arsenal history - 1891-1896". arsenal.com. 
  11. ^ "England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2005/06". RSSSF. 
  12. ^ a b c Blakeman, Mick (2000). Nunhead Football Club 1888-1949. The Book Factory, London. ISBN 1874427534.