Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Craven Cottage

On Saturday I spent a few hours at Craven Cottage in London watching Fulham FC against Stoke City. I'm not a huge soccer fan and I heard the game described as "terrible" and "dour," but I enjoyed it. There are things that I really liked about how soccer fans are treated that I wish baseball would incorporate.

First, no loud music. A few tunes before kick-off, but nothing else and even that music was far from the ear-shattering volume favored by the Mets (at Shea, not sure about the new place).

Second, it was warm(ish) on Saturday and I was sitting directly in the sun (in the Johnny Haynes Stand). I had to buy some water. Went to the counter expecting to be fleeced and was pleasantly surprised to learn that my 2 bottles of water only set me back £3 (about $4.40). The same two bottles of water will set you back $7.50 at Citi Field (and $10!! at the new Yankee Stadium). Later I bought a hot dog, fries and soda (No, not for me!) for £5.50 ($8). Don't know what that might cost at Citi Field, but I doubt I'd have much change left from my twenty.

Next, the Mets tore down Shea Stadium (and the Yankees Yankee Stadium) because the facilities were old, etc. I don't know how the regulars at Craven Cottage feel, but I loved the old feel to the place. The wooden benches, the brick walls and narrow passageways under the stand. My only complaint is the bathrooms were a little too basic for my delicate American sensibilities.

I would recommend that any American who wants to see an EPL game and has time in London find their way to Craven Cottage. It's not hard to get to and tickets aren't as difficult to get as those to see any of the big name clubs. (And, I have to say, I was far from the only American at the game. I couldn't get over how many Yanks were there. There were a number sitting in the area around where I was.)

And, also good was the final score: Fulham 1 Stoke City 0. My new favorite club (I've been clubless since Wimbledon abandoned South London).