History of Craven Cottage
Fulham play their home matches at Craven Cottage, a ground with 30,600 capacity, situated in the Hammersmith and Fulham area of London. The club have played here since 1896 and have an unusually special relationship with the ground. The Scottish architect, Archibald Leitch, built the pavilion and the first stand at the stadium in 1905, in his distinctive red brick style. Craven Cottage quickly became recognised as one of the best grounds in the country, with an England international match played there in 1911.
The 1948 Summer Olympics also emphasised the growing importance of the ground as a footballing venue. The following year saw Fulham reach the top flight and, to mark their success, stadium improvements were carried out. Impressive floodlights were erected, a roof was placed over one of the stands, and an electronic scoreboard was purchased. Further renovations occurred over the following decades, including the construction of the famous Riverside Stand. The opening of this stand was marked by a friendly match against Portuguese side, Benfica, in 1972.
Fulham fans were given a scare in 2002 when it seemed that Craven Cottage would have to be closed. The Hillsborough disaster of 1989 led to the Taylor report, which stated that all First Division and Premier League sides had to play in all-seater stadiums. Craven Cottage, with its two sizeable standing terraces, did not meet the necessary requirements and Fulham started to come under intense scrutiny from the football licensing authorities.
Furthermore, the ground did not seem to be financially viable, since its relatively low capacity and lack of hospitality areas prevented important revenue from reaching the club. As a result, plans were drawn up for a new 30,000 capacity, all-seater stadium. However, these plans were eventually abandoned as a result of opposition from local residents. To the delight of the fans, it was decided that Craven Cottage would not be demolished. Rather, a series of renovations would occur over the following few seasons in order to meet the regulations imposed by the Taylor report.
The Hammersmith End
The northernmost stand at Craven Cottage is the Hammersmith End, so called because of its close proximity to Hammersmith. The stand is covered by a roof that was financed by the sale of Alan Mullery to Tottenham Hotspur. The Hammersmith End is where the hardcore Fulham fans choose to sit and is the noisiest area of the ground.
The Putney End
The Putney End stands opposite the Hammersmith End, at the southern area of the ground, so-called as a result of its close proximity to Putney. Visiting fans or neutral supporters sit in this area of Craven Cottage. This stand is fairly unusual in this respect. During the 2003/2004 season, Fulham applied for permission to have a neutral area at their ground. The FA gave them special permission to have such an area, largely as a result of their well-behaved fans and the family atmosphere that still prevails at the ground. No other ground in the country has a neutral area such as this one.
The Riverside Stand
The Eric Miller Stand, named after one of the club directors, was constructed in 1973. It took the place of the Riverside terracing that was located close to the banks of the River Thames. The stand became known as the Riverside Stand once again after Eric Miller committed suicide following allegations of fraud. This stand is now the most well-known of all the stands at Craven Cottage and is the first choice with rich or famous fans. Advertisements are placed above this stand, with sponsors such as Lee Cooper Jeans erecting hoardings. Towards the side of the Riverside Stand, closest to the Hammersmith Stand, can be found the end of the ‘Fulham Wall’. This point marks the mile post in the annual varsity boat race.
The Johnny Haynes Stand
This stand is located on Stevenage Road, hence it previously being called the Stevenage Road Stand. Many of the fans who sit here hold season tickets and the stand also houses the ticket office and the club shop. It is the oldest stand at Craven Cottage and is a Grade II listed building. It was renamed in 2005 after the death of Fulham legend, Johnny Haynes. The outside of the stand facing Stevenage Road is distinctive in its appearance, bearing the influence of famous architect, Archibald Leitch.
Archibald Leitch was also responsible for the Cottage Pavilion in 1905, built because Leitch forgot to include changing rooms in the Stevenage Road Stand! As well as being home to the changing rooms, the Cottage contained seats that could be used by family members and friends of the players. However, these seats, located on the balcony of the Cottage, are now sold for extremely high prices.
Getting to the ground
From the North: follow the A1/M1 to North Circular A406. Then, follow the signs for Harlesden A404. Take the A219 as far as Hammersmith. When you reach the Broadway, follow the signs for Fulham and turn right after one mile, into Harbord Street. Turn left at the end of the road to reach the ground.
From the South/East: follow the South Circular A205 and follow signs for Putney Bridge A219. Cross over the bridge and continue to follow signs for Hammersmith for half a mile. Turn left into Bishops Park Road and then turn right at the end of this road.
From the West: follow the M4 to the A4. After two miles, turn left into Hammersmith Broadway and then simply follow signs for Fulham. Turn right after one mile, into Harbord Street. Turn left at the end of the road to reach the ground.
Please note that the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has imposed parking restrictions near Craven Cottage. For full details of these restrictions, see the relevant advice on the Fulham website.
After arriving at any London terminal by mainline train, Craven Cottage can be reached by underground. Craven Cottage is a 10 minute walk from Putney Bridge Underground Station, which is on the District Line. The ground is clearly signposted from the station. Alternatively, the ground is a 20 minute walk from Hammersmith Underground Station, which is on the District Line, the Hammersmith and City Line and the Piccadilly Line.
Craven Cottage can be reached by bus from Kingston-upon-Thames bus station. You will need to take either the number 85 or the C4 bus to Putney Bridge. The ground is located approximately 10 minutes away from here. From Hammersmith you can catch the following buses, all of which go down Fulham Palace Road: 190, 211, 295, 220. The numbers 74 and the 220 from Putney also end up in Fulham Palace Road. If you require further details about travelling to the ground by bus or by train, please call the London Transport Line on 020 7222 1234.
Season Ticket holders are given first choice of purchasing tickets, followed by Match Package Members and Members in general. Cottage Stadium Card Holders are next in the pecking order and any remaining tickets go on general sale to the public. If you fit in to this final category, you will be unable to purchase tickets for matches involving Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal. Tickets for less popular matches go on sale to the public 3 weeks before the match date. Some seats at Craven Cottage have a restricted view. These seats are sold last and the club often have some of these available on match day. Do not be put off by restricted view statuses on seats, since they can actually offer a better view than many normal seats and are much cheaper. The following link has photographs of some of the restricted views in the stadium.
Away tickets can be purchased firstly by Away Season Ticket Holders, then by Season Ticket Holders, followed by Members and Cottage Stadium Card Holders and finally by members of the public. The dates that tickets go on sale are publicised through the Ticket Line, the club website and match day programmes. Away match tickets often require a postal application. You will need to send in a cover letter with your Client Reference Number, full payment and a stamped self-addressed envelope. You can also purchase coach tickets that will take you to the away matches. Chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed, has subsidised coach travel for Season Ticket Holders and Members. To buy tickets for travel, phone 0870 442 1234 and select option 3. Alternatively, send your booking to the Ticket Office. You can also purchase tickets in person by visiting the Ticket Office at the stadium.
If you are interested in the hospitality options offered by Fulham, see this link. Craven Cottage offers some great choices for hospitality and events are not solely limited to football match days.
You can purchase tickets online here. There is a booking fee of £1 per ticket for adult, senior and young person tickets and a 25p fee for junior tickets. Each transaction also incurs a handling fee of £1.
The Fulham Ticket Hotline can be reached on 0870 442 1234 at any time of the day, 7 days a week. You will need a credit or debit card handy in order to book the tickets. Adult, senior, and young person tickets come with a £1.50 booking fee. Junior tickets have a 50p booking fee and each transaction incurs a handling fee of £1.50
The Ticket Office at Craven Cottage is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. On Saturdays it is open from 10am to 12pm and from 9.30am every match day. Alternatively, you can visit the Ticket Kiosk at the Club Shop, located on Fulham Road. This Kiosk is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
You can send your request to the Ticket Office, making sure you quote your Client Reference number and payment details. Any bookings made by credit or debit card are subject to a £2 administration fee. The address for the Ticket Office is:
To buy tickets by fax, download a printable form from the club website. Fax the form to the Ticket Office on 020 7384 4810 within 3 working days of the match. There is a £2 booking charge to cover the administration charges.
For a Premier League club, ticket prices for Fulham matches are fairly reasonable. The club offers a wide range of concessions. Children under the age of 4 are able to sit on an adult’s lap free of charge. Children under the age of 17, seniors of 65 and over, young persons aged between 17 and 20, and disabled fans, are all able to take advantage of concession tickets.
Grade A Matches
Ticket prices for the popular Grade A Matches are as follows:
Riverside (Block S): Adult £55, Concession £40, Junior £25
Riverside (Block Z): Adult £55, Concession £40, Junior £25
Hammersmith and Putney: Adult £48, Concession £35, Junior £20
Johnny Haynes (Blocks E, F, EL, FL): Adult £55, Concession £40, Junior £25
Johnny Haynes (Blocks B, C, D, G, H, J (and lower)): Adult £50, Concession £35, Junior £20
Johnny Haynes (Blocks A, K, AL, KL): Adult £40, Concession £30, Junior £20
Grade B Matches
Ticket prices for Grade B Matches are as follows:
Riverside (Block S): Adult £40, Concession £25, Junior £15
Riverside (Block Z): Adult £40, Concession £25, Junior £15
Hammersmith and Putney: Adult £35, Concession £25, Junior £15
Johnny Haynes (Blocks E, F, EL, FL): Adult £45, Concession £30, Junior £20
Johnny Haynes (Blocks B, C, D, G, H, J (and lower)): Adult £40, Concession £25, Junior £10
Johnny Haynes (Blocks A, K, AL, KL): Adult £30, Concession £20, Junior £10
Grade C Matches
Ticket prices for Grade C Matches are as follows:
Riverside (Block S): Adult £35, Concession £20, Junior £5
Riverside (Block Z): Adult £35, Concession £20, Junior £5
Hammersmith and Putney: Adult £30, Concession £20, Junior £10
Johnny Haynes (Blocks E, F, EL, FL): Adult £40, Concession £25, Junior £15
Johnny Haynes (Blocks B, C, D, G, H, J (and lower)): Adult £30, Concession £20, Junior £5
Johnny Haynes (Blocks A, K, AL, KL): Adult £25, Concession £15, Junior £5
First Team Players
Antti Niemi made his Fulham debut on the 14th of January, 2006. Despite only making 9 appearances during his first season at the club, Niemi quickly established himself as a talented shot-stopper. The 2006/2007 season saw the keeper make 31 appearances and he soon became a firm favourite with the fans.
Born in Washington, USA, in November 1969, Kasey Keller made a name for himself in English football with Millwall, Leicester City and, more recently, Tottenham Hotspur. Keller made his Fulham debut against Aston Villa at the start of the 2007/2008 campaign. He made 13 appearances for the first team last season.
Mark Schwarzer has only recently decided to join Fulham, following a long stint at Middlesbrough. He was instrumental in Middlesbrough’s successful qualification for the UEFA Cup campaign of 2005/2006 and helped the team reach the final of the competition.
Initially joining Fulham on loan from Arsenal in 2003, Moritz Volz moved permanently in early 2004. The young defender quickly became a favourite with the fans, as a result of his eccentric but intensely passionate personality. His defensive attributes are complemented by an attacking flair and an ability to deliver consistently threatening crosses from the wings.
Talented left-back, Paul Konchesky, joined Fulham last season from West Ham United after apparently falling out with manager, Alan Curbishley. He enjoyed an impressive debut season at the club, making 33 appearances in the Premier League. He also played a total of 4 times in the FA Cup and Carling Cup.
Possibly one of the most versatile defenders in the Fulham side, Dejan Stefanovic joined the club in 2007, following several successful seasons at Portsmouth. He made 13 appearances for the first team during the 2007/2008 campaign.
Aaron Hughes is another relatively new face at Craven Cottage. He joined Fulham from Aston Villa in 2007 and made 30 appearances in the Premier League during the 2007/2008 campaign. Hughes made a total of 205 appearances for Newcastle United, scoring 4 goals, prior to his 2005 move to Aston Villa and is also a regular for Northern Ireland.
Born in December 1988, Elliot Omozusi is still a young footballer trying to find his feet in the Premiership. Despite his relative lack of experience, he has shown impressive form and ability during his brief Fulham first team career. After excelling in the Fulham Academy and performing consistently for the Reserve team, Omozusi was called upon 8 times during the 2007/2008 Premier League campaign.
Norwegian defender, Brede Hangeland, signed for Fulham earlier this year from Danish side F.C. Copenhagen. His first appearance for the club came in the match against Bolton in late January. Sky Sports were so impressed by his performance at the Reebok Stadium that they awarded him the Man of the Match award. Hangeland continued to impress during his first few months at Fulham and made a total of 15 appearances.
After excelling at Southampton, Walsall, and Watford, and performing consistently for Northern Ireland, Chris Baird caught the eye of several Premiership clubs. Fulham won the race to sign him and he made his first team debut at the start of the 2007/2008 campaign, against Arsenal. He made a total of 18 appearances last season in the Premier League.
Seol Ki-Hyeon made a name for himself at Wolverhampton Wanderers between 2004 and 2006. Reading tempted him away from the Black Country team in mid-2006. He made a total of 27 appearances for Reading during the 2006/2007 campaign and signed for Fulham in 2007, making his debut against Wigan on the 15th of September.
Born in Barnaul, Russia, in May 1975, Alexey Smertin has played for numerous clubs during a successful career. He has made over 40 international appearances with Russia and was made captain in 2004. Following an extended stint at Chelsea and several loan spells, Smertin moved to Dynamo Moscow in early 2006. However, Fulham soon tempted him back to the Premiership. Last season, the Russian midfielder made 15 appearances and scored 2 goals.
Despite only having made 21 appearances for Fulham since his arrival from Wigan in 2006, Jimmy Bullard has become a firm favourite with the fans. He suffered a horrific knee injury against Newcastle United in September 2006 and did not make another appearance for the first team until early 2008. His timely return to first team action inspired the team to an impressive run of results that saw them narrowly escape relegation.
American midfielder, Clint Dempsey, is famous with the Fulham fans for his attacking flair. He established himself as a rising star whilst playing for New England Revolution and signed for Fulham in 2006. He made 10 appearances during his first season in English football and played 36 times last season, scoring 6 important goals.
Usually employed on the left-wing, Hameur Bouazza has performed impressively for Fulham since his arrival in August 2007. Bouazza made a name for himself at Watford, where he played 83 times, scoring a total of 8 goals. Algeria have also benefited from his impressive work rate and undoubted talent, since he has already scored 1 international goal despite only winning 5 caps to date.
Welsh midfielder, Simon Davies, has established himself in the Fulham side since his arrival from Everton in early 2007. He has scored some amazing goals and has been an important provider of telling crosses and instinctive passes from central positions.
Leon Andreasen made over 100 appearances for Aarhus GF before being lured to Germany by Werder Bremen in 2005. Some impressive goal-scoring performances, whilst on loan at FSV Mainz 05, caught the attention of Fulham and the midfielder made his Premiership debut against Bolton earlier this year.
Danny Murphy joined Fulham in August 2007 following successful spells at Liverpool, Charlton Athletic, and Tottenham Hotspur. The combative midfielder made 33 appearances for the team last season, scoring a total of 5 goals. Perhaps the most important of these goals came in the away match at Portsmouth in May. Murphy’s headed goal gave Fulham a vital 1-0 win to ensure their survival in the Premier League.
Former West Bromwich Albion star, Zoltan Gera, has only recently joined Fulham but is expected to become an important part of the first team during the 2008/2009 season. The Hungarian has won 53 caps for his country and has scored an impressive 16 international goals.
Lee Cook is another player yet to make a debut appearance in Fulham’s first team. Following some impressive performances at Watford, Queens Park Rangers signed the midfielder in 2004. He has already won numerous accolades and awards and was instrumental in helping QPR escape relegation to League One last season.
Andranik Teymourian has recently signed a 2 year contract with Fulham. The club were attracted to the midfielder after witnessing his impressive performances for Bolton Wanderers between 2006 and 2008. The Iranian player has played 29 times for his country, scoring 2 international goals.
David Healy joined Fulham in July 2007 from Leeds United. At one point during his time at Elland Road, Healy boasted an impressive strike rate of just under one goal every other game. More impressive still is the striker’s international record. During 59 matches for Northern Ireland, Healy has scored 29 goals. The 2007/2008 season saw Healey score a modest 4 goals but he is widely expected to add to this tally throughout the next Premier League campaign.
Last season saw the arrival of Diomansy Kamara from West Bromwich Albion. An impressive goal-scoring record with the Black Country side attracted the attention of several Premier League clubs and Kamara managed to score 5 goals during his first season at Fulham.
Born in Florida in 1984, Eddie Johnson made a name for himself as the rising star of American soccer at FC Dallas and Kansas City Wizards. He has already won 32 caps for the United States and has scored 11 international goals. The exciting young player made 6 appearances for Fulham last season and has been widely tipped to shine in the Premier League during the next campaign.
Some football fans may remember Erik Nevland for his extremely brief spell at Manchester United during the late 1990s. However, Nevland really made a name for himself at Viking FK and Groningen, scoring consistently at both clubs. He made his Fulham debut against Aston Villa on the 3rd of February 2008 and appeared 8 times for the club overall, scoring 2 goals.
The Chairman and Manager
Mohamed Al Fayed
Fulham have one of the most easily recognisable faces in Britain as their chairman: Mohamed Al Fayed. The Egyptian billionaire and owner of Harrods, bought Fulham FC in 1997 from Jimmy Hill. He has never been shy about his lofty ambitions for the side and he still believes that the team can become a major Premier League force. Such ambitions have, at least partially, been realised. When Al Fayed purchased the club, they were an average Second Division team. Following some astute managerial appointments, Fulham worked their way up to the Premier League within just 5 years.
Roy Hodgson was appointed as manager of Fulham in late December 2007, with the club sitting in the relegation zone. His management credentials proved incredibly attractive to Mohamed Al Fayed. Hodgson led the Swiss national side to the 1994 World Cup and Euro 1996 and he has also had great success at club level, particularly with Internazionale, Malmo FF, FC Copenhagen, and Viking FK. His technical knowledge of football has been evident during his time as a member of UEFA’s technical study group at the European Championships.
The FIFA Technical Study Group called upon his services at the 2006 World Cup and he has also worked as a television pundit at numerous points in his career. He endured a mixed start at Fulham, though, with a loss, a draw, and a win in his first 3 games in charge. Hodgson had to wait until March before his side won another match in the Premier League and this victory was followed by another run of poor results. The manager came under criticism from both fans and pundits for his rotation policy that did not allow the team to settle or maintain any kind of rhythm. However, despite the increasing pressure, Hodgson led Fulham to 4 extraordinary wins out of 5 at the end of the 2007/2008 season, ensuring Premiership survival.
The manager has since made public his desire to ensure that the team never have to rely upon such an amazing run of results at the end of the season again and has strengthened the squad with new signings, including Mark Schwarzer and Andranik Teymourian.