The attitude of Londoners towards football can be compared with religion. Britain, and London as its capital, has always respected the beauty and significance of the game, since the 14th century. The football game has changed through the years. It has become more aggressive, fast and intense, but its main purpose to gather people and bring entertainment remained the same.
The first football clubs appeared in London around 1421, as the record of the Brewer’s Company of London states that football players hired their hall. This is probably the start of the official clubbing principle in British football.
We will take your thought the history and interesting facts for 7 of the most famous football clubs in London. You will learn about their memorable players and managers and feel part of their glory as well learn more about several stadiums which are famous London attractions.
Foundation: Chelsea was founded 10 March 1905 in the Rising Sun Pub by the businessman and football enthusiast Henry Augustus “Gus” Mears together with his brother Joseph Mears.
Colours and Nickname: Chelsea’s traditional colour is blue. They started with the blue colour from the beginning. Other colours used by the team are black or white shirts and shorts. Chelsea are also called The Blues or The Pensioners.
Stadium: Chelsea’s stadium is Stamford Bridge in Fulham. It was built in 1877 to host London Athletic Club until in 1905 Mears occupied the area for his team. The stadium’s capacity today is more than 41 000 seats. Stamford Bridge, the home stadium of Chelsea was a playground for FA Club finals and FA Club semi-finals.
Titles: Chelsea, as one of the latest founded London teams has many titles. The first of which they won in 1955. Chelsea won the First Division Cup, unfortunately followed by several defeats. The next big rise came in 1965 and 1970 with the win of the League Cup and FA Cup. Their next big successes after problematic years came in the 80`s – Second Division Cup, with their revival under John Neal’s management.
In the next decades, Chelsea took the FA Cup prize twice – in 1997 and 2000 and the League Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998. The manager José Mourinho led Chelsea to the FA Cup and League Cup titles. So far Chelsea has won seven FA Cups, five League Cups and four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League, two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, one UEFA Europa League, and one UEFA Super Cup.
Records: Chelsea is the only club in London, which have won the Champions League and the only British team, winning all three major UEFA games.
Frank Lampard – their goalscorer, keeps the record for 211 goals in 648 games.
Chelsea is the team with highest points in total for one League season. Also, they were the first club, which played with shirt numbers.
Famous Players: Some of the many famous players are Charlie Cooke, Peter Osgood, Jimmy Graves, Petr Cech, John Terry, Gianfranco Zola, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
Notable Managers: Chelsea entered the First Division with Ted Drake, who was in charge between 1951 and 1961.
Ruud Gullit stepped into the position of manager in 1996 and led the team to the FA Cup finals when they won the title in 1997. He brought fresh players into the team and Chelsea came back in the top chart again.
Gianluca Vialli followed Gullit in 1998 and brought three cups to the club for just three years. He stayed as Chelsea manager until 2000.
José Mourinho led the team in the years 2004-2007 and again in 2013-2015. Chelsea won 3 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups and one FA Cup under his management. Mourinho spent large investments into players like Thiago, Didier Drogba, and Paulo Ferreira
Carlo Ancelotti a former trainer of Milan, managed the team between 2009 and 2011. Chelsea under Ancelotti’s leadership played in the Premier League, FA Cup, and Community Shield.
Foundation: Arsenal is a southeast club from Woolwich. It was found in 1886 by workers under the name Dial Square. In a short time it was renamed into Royal Arsenal.
Colours and Nickname: Arsenal started with the red colour since the beginning. Their first kit was dark red and white shorts. They updated the red colour into more vibrant- bright red and added white sleeves. Arsenal’s away colours changed between white/black, yellow/blue kit or two-tone blue. Arsenal’s nickname is The Gunners.
Stadium: The club spent its first years in Manor Ground in southeast London. They moved to Arsenal Stadium and stayed there from 1913 until 2006. Emirates Stadium is the current home ground of Arsenal. The stadium’s capacity is over 60 000 seats and it’s the third largest stadium in Britain.
Titles: Arsenal started in Second Division, but because of their geographic isolation, which led to financial problems, Arsenal bankrupted in 1910. Their new manager Herbert Chapman, however, led the club to success and they won the FA Cup in 1930.
In the next 20 years, Arsenal kept winning the league’s prizes for five times and twice they took the FA Cup. For some time after 1950, Arsenal were in difficult situation, with no trophies and no qualified new players.
In the 70’s under Terry Neill’s management Arsenal reached again the FA Cup finals. In 1986 Arsenal had again new manager and they won the League Cup in 1987-89 . More trophies from the League and FA Cup, as well as European Cup Winners’ Cup, in 1994 were added to the team’s history.
After the millennium Arsenal reached their glorious period, they won second League and Cup double in 1997–98, then in the 2003 and 2005 FA Cups and Premier League in 2003–04. Finally, Arsenal was victorious in the 2014 FA Cup Final.
Arsenal has 12 FA Cups, 13 League titles, two League Cups, 14 FA Community Shields, and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
Arsenal takes the first place for highest number of won FA Cup finals
They also are the team with the longest period of unbeaten games in the League.
Their legend Thierry Henry scored 228 goals for 3 years.
Famous Players: Lee Dixon, Frank McLintock, Ashley Cole, Dennis Bergkamp, Liam Brady, and of course Thierry Henry.
Herbert Chapman was the first manager who brought the club to wider success. He stayed at the position until 1934.
George Graham a former player took the management in 1986. Under his leadership, the club took FA Cup, League Cup, and European Cup Winners’ Cup titles.
Arsène Wenger is considered as one of their most successful leaders. Under Wenger Arsenal reached the final of UEFA 2000. Wenger made changes to the team, bringing foreign players and replaced the tactics.
West Ham United
Foundation: The club was founded in 1895 under the name Thames Ironworks in Stratford. They reformed and changed the name of the club to West Ham in 1900.
Colours and Nickname: West Ham’s most popular nickname is The Academy of Football, but they’re also called The Hammers, due to their official crest or the Irons. West Ham’s kit colour combination is light blue sleeves with a dark red shirt and white shorts. Their first original kit was dark blue.
Stadium: West Ham played on the ground of Boleyn Ground Stadium in Upton Park for 115 years, until 2015, when the club moved to Olympic Stadium, because of the development plans for their old ground. Boleyn Ground had the capacity of 35 000 and was the host of their Premier League games.
Titles: West Ham have won the FA Cup 3 times, the European Cup Winners’ Cup & Intertoto Cup.
West Ham entered the club football in 1901 winning the Western League and less than 20 years later, they got in the Second Division. Shortly after West Ham continued to Division One and reached to their first FA Cup final at Wembley. West Ham kept their position in the Division for the next 10 years. At the beginning of the 30’s the club had manager problems and were relocated to Second Division, where they stayed for the next 30 years.
In 1964 their new manager Ron Greenwood led them to the FA Cup trophy and to the European Cup Winners’ Cup next year.
In the 70’s West Ham experienced ups and downs, winning the FA Cup twice and going back to the Second Division again. The 80’s marked their success of becoming third in the Football League in the 1985-86 season. With the beginning of the 90’s West Ham entered Premiere League and had ten years of transfers and signing of fresh players. They won the Intertoto Cup in 1999.
In 2007 the club had to pay 5.5 million penalty, due to suspicious signings of Mascherano and Tevez. In the next after 2010, they played in Football League Cup until they returned to the Premier League in 2012 where they are in present days. West Ham will play in UEFA Europa League 2016-17, thanks to their win of the FA Cup this year.
Records: West Ham is one of the eight teams, never been lower than the second tier in the English football.
Their highest number of wins on home ground is total 19 in the 1980-81 season, and 13 wins on away ground in total in the 2011-12 season.
Their strongest period with most goals 101 in total is during their Division Two period in 1987-88.
Famous Players: Ron Greenwood is one their first best players, followed by the legendary Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking with his 103 overall goals, Paolo di Canio – one of West Ham’s modern legends and finally Billy Bonds, who was also a manager for a while.
Notable Managers: After their boom in the Old Division under Fenton’s management, another West Ham’s notable managers are Ron Greenwood, followed by John Lyall, who both led the team to FA Cup finals as winners.
Harry Redknapp who came in 1994 and stayed until 2001, brought West Ham to their highest position – 5th in the Premiere League in 1998-99 and also the win of UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Gianfranco Zola, except being one of the most popular football names, didn’t do much for the team. Under his management they had their worst performance.
West Ham’s current manager is Slaven Bilić, not the first foreign manager, but one of the best – he took them to their best performance and win percentage in the Premier League and best number of season points for 2015-16.
Foundation: Fulham team was founded in 1879 in West Kensington by worshipers, under the name Fulham St Andrew’s Church Sunday School F.C, which they quickly shortened into Fulham Excelsior. Fulham is the oldest London team which had played in the Premier League.
Colours and Nickname: Fulham’s original colours are white shirt and black shorts. They’re called the Black and White army, because of their kit. For away colours, Fulham use half yellow, half blue shirt with yellow shorts or the combination of black and orange.
Some of Fulham’s nicknames are The Cottagers – coming from their home ground stadium Craven Cottage and also The Whites
Stadium: Fulham use Craven Cottage Stadium since 1896 until present days. The stadium has a capacity of nearly 26 000 seats, though the highest number of visitors is over 49 000 people. The stadium has been ground for Australia, Canada, and Ireland national football teams.
Titles: Fulham have FA cup trophy in 1975, 2002 Intertoto win, they are finalists in 2001 in Division One and finalists in 2010 Europa League.
Fulham became a professional club in 1898 and shortly got into semi-pro Southern League’s Second Division, finishing victorious in 1905-07 in two following seasons.
The club climbed to the Footballs League’s Second Division in 1097. In their first challenge for the FA Cup they dropped out at the semi-finals, but after just two years Fulham won the London Challenge Cup. In the next 21 years, Fulham didn’t manage to score high results and they were relegated into Third Division in 1928, where they stayed until 1932.
The next years, after the WWII Fulham, jumped from Second to First Division, when in the 1959-60 season they reached 10th position in the first tier, which was their highest result at the time. Unfortunately, for just 9 years Fulham dropped down to Third Division again. For more than 20 years Fulham stayed in the 2nd and 3rd tier, with times of rises and falls, adding new players to their football squad. In the late 80’s Fulham experienced money crash, after the attempt to merge with Queens Park Rangers.
Fulham climbed to the Second Division after the formation of the Premier League and finished second 1995-96 season. Next years Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the club, but they kept their second position until 2000 when Fulham was promoted into the top flight- the first time since 1968. Fulham finished their first Premiere League full season on 13th position and again on the same place in 2004-05.
Fulham gained confidence in the 2008-09 season finishing 9th and getting qualification for UEFA Europa League. They met the next 3 years changing two managers and staying in the top flight. Since 2014 Fulham play in the Champions league in the second tier. They made many new transfers, including the purchase of Ross McCormack for £11 million.
Records: Fulham’s long-term player, being for the longest time in their line-up is Johnny Haynes – with 658 appearances.
Their best goal scorer is Gordon Davies with 178 goals.
The highest price for transfer Fulham paid is £12.4 million for Konstantinos Mitroglou.
Famous Players: Some of Fulham’s most famous footballers are Jimmy Hill, Bobby Robson, Brede Hangeland, Chris Coleman and Danny Murphy
Notable Managers: Fulham suffered many times from poor management, but these figures played great role as turning point for the team- Kevin Keegan /1998-99/ getting them into the second tier, Chris Coleman //2003-07/- a former player and youngest manager in the club’s history and Roy Hodgson /2007-10/ who transformed the team most.
Foundation: Crystal Palace, a South Norwood team, was founded in 1905 in the Crystal Palace Exhibition building, as a team supported by the owners of the building. Crystal Palace even at the very beginning started as a professional team.
Colours and Nickname: The colours of Crystal Palace kit have always been blue and claret. Blue stripe was combined with the red sleeves and socks are also blue. Their away kit is yellow with blue and claret stripes, but they sometimes played in blue and white.
Crystal Palace have started with the nickname “The Glaziers”” and some years after renamed to “The Eagles” for some time, a nickname, the symbol of which stays on their crest even today.
Stadium: The first stadium of the club was Crystal Palace building, which they used as home ground until the WWI when they needed to move to Herne Hill Velodrome. The official stadium on the Palace today is Selhurst Park, which they occupied for the first time in 1924. Its capacity is over 26 000 places, and it has been renovated and expanded many times.
Titles: Crystal Palace started as a professional club in the Southern League, in which they stayed until 1914, and quickly reached Third Division, finishing it as champions. This gave them promotion to the second tier, but soon they dropped out again.
The years around the two wars were unstable for the team, they kept their position in the third tier, but until the end of the 50’s Crystal Palace saw themselves in the bottom of the football fame- they formed 4th Division. Within the next 20 years, the club rose, thanks to new managing and successful promotions to 2nd and finally 1st tier in 1969.
Crystal Palace stayed in the top flight until 1973, when they again were relegated jumping between 3rd and 2nd Division in the years 1974-79. They finished the 1979 season as champions of the second tier.
Their highest position in the top flight is their 3rd place in the 1990-91 season. The team should have been let to play in UEFA, but due to the ban of English clubs to play in Europe, as restriction put over English clubs after the Haysel Disaster, they played on home ground and won Full Members Cup.
Palace finished the season in 10th place, allowing them to become one of the founders of the Premiere League in 1992. They kept on the top for 6 years, until in 1998 returned back to the 1st Division. In the following years Palace changed owner and many managers, and after being placed in administration twice, they finished still out of the Premiere League.
Crystal Palace returned to it in 2012, thanks to Ian Holloway, their new manager. In the next 4 years, Crystal Palace again experienced many manager changes but they won the FA Cup in 2016.
Records: Their winning game in 1920-21 in the fresh 3rd Division brought nearly 20 000 fans to the stadium.
Their record for home attendance is over 50 000 visitors in 1879.
The highest price paid for a player is nearly £13 million for Yohan Cabaye in 2015.
Palace hold the record for most relegations from the Premier League, which are four.
Famous Players: Kenny Sansom and Peter Taylor, played in the 70’s are one of their most famous players. Ian Wright, also known as Arsenal player scored more 100 goals for them. Yohan Cabaye and Nigel Martin are their million pound players.
Notable Managers: Edmund Goodman, their first manager stayed for 18 years. Under Terry Venables they became 2nd Division champions, Steve Coppell managed them 4 times and brought playoff wins twice in 1st and 2nd Division and Full Members Cup winners. Under Alan Smith, they became 1st tier champions.
Foundation: Tottenham, one of the most popular London clubs was formed in 1889 by scholar boys. They are club from North London, famous with their long-term rivalry with Arsenal. Their competition in the game is called the North London Derby.
Colours and Nickname: Tottenham’s first name was only Hotspur FC, probably following the name of Sir Henry Percy, called Harry Hotspur, a Shakespeare’s character. They needed to change the name to Tottenham, not to be confused with another Hotspur team. They’re sometimes called also Lilywhites, due to their kit.
Tottenham’s first kit was navy blue, both shirt and shorts. They eventually added white to the kit in the shirt, which is their most used kit. Their away colours are again navy blue with yellow stripes.
Stadium: Before settling into White Hart Lane, Tottenham played first at Tottenham Marshes and then at Woolwich Arsenal. The stadium was small for their fans so they eventually bought the land of White Hart Lane, which was a former nursery. The stadium went through a major renovation in the 50’s and its current capacity is over 36 000 seats.
Titles: In the beginning of their professional way as club Tottenham finished winners in the Southern League in 1900 and the next year won the FA Challenge Cup. Soon after in 1090, they were elected to join 2nd Division, followed by a win of another promotion to the top flight. Unfortunately, their play during the war years was poor and by the end of 1915 Tottenham hit the bottom.
When the First Division was expanded in 1919, Arsenal were promoted to enter in the extra place, being only 6th in the season, which sparkled, even more, the rival. However Tottenham, still in the Second Division, finished the 1919-20 season victorious in the 2nd tier and again in the next years they won the FA Cup.
After the WWII the glory reached Tottenham, winning the first place in 2nd Division in 1950 and first place next year, finally in the top flight. In the following 5 years, The Spurs started to reverse their achievement and nearly got relegated in 1956.
The Spurs had new manager in the 60’s- Bill Nicholson, who was part of the team for nearly 70 years, and they reached top results. They won the Double in 1961 and FA Cup, followed by a trophy of the European Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963. Nicholson brought them even more success making transfers and Tottenham won the FA Cup Final in 1967, The League Cup four years later and UEFA CUP in 1972.
After 27 years in the First Division in 1976-77 Tottenham dropped out of the tier, due to changes of the managers and ageing squad, but soon returned. By 1984, when they won the UEFA Cup. The Spurs added more trophies to their wall of glory – two Football League Cups and three FA Cups.
In the next 6 years Tottenham experienced changes in the management, debt issues and transfers leading them to no wins, until the 1990-91 season, when they won the FA Cup again and for the last time to this date. In 1994 Tottenham were punished to pay £600 000 and 12 points, for making illegal payments to players. They missed 1994-95 season for the FA cup but they returned in the high positions in 1999 when they won League Cup.
In the following year, Tottenham paid the record of £11 million for the striker Sergei Rebrov. In the years to 2015 Jacques Santini was assigned as a coach and The Spurs spent £7 million for the striker Robbie Keane. Santini was followed by Martin Jol, adding Dimitar Berbatov to the team, who made a good tandem with Keane.
With their new manager Ramos, they won the League Cup in the 2007-08 season for the last time to this date. Tottenham are still in the Premier League, keeping their high position being runners-up in 2008-09 and 2014-15 for the League Cup.
Records: Tottenham are the first ever English club to win the UEFA Cup in 1972.
Tottenham are the first club to win the ‘Double’ of the FA Cup and Top Flight Championship.
They hold the record for most wins in season 1960-61 with 31 victories out of 41 games.
They are the only non-league team winning the FA Cup in 1901 since the creation of the Football League.
British record of eight consecutive victories in major European competition
Most matches played in the UEFA Cup/ Europa League by a British club
Famous Players: Jimmy Greaves is one of their best goal scorers of all times, together with Danny Blanchflower. Ossie Ardiles will remain in the history of the 80’s and Teddy Sheringham holds the 90’s. David Ginola is one of best midfielders played in Tottenham and let’s not forget their football icon Gary Lineker. Players from the more modern times are Robbie Keane- played after the millennium and Gareth Bale, who played for them until 2013.
Notable Managers: Tottenham is one of those clubs to be remembered with many skilled managers. The first of them was Nicholson, who will stay in the memories of all Spur’s fans, as the man who signed all of their legends. He was followed by Keith Burkinshaw, bringing two FA Cups and UEFA Cup to the team. Arthur Rowe famous with his innovative style “push and run”, pushed the team to wins in the 2nd and 1st Division. Martin Jol lifted The Spurs to the tops again, making them 5th in the League since a decade of poor games. Harry Redknapp widely disliked by Tottenham fans, due to his affinity to sign an ex-Arsenal players, still brought many victories to the team and led them to the Champions League.
We know that we might have missed some clubs. But we had limited time to make this post. So, we would like to apologize to all other London football clubs fans who didn’t see their favourite team mentioned. If you like, you can send us info about it and we will make sure to include it in our article.