Throughout Craven Cottage grounds, a thunderous roar can be heard once their home team makes a play worthy of their screams and applause. Whether one follows the path by the river and Putney Bridge or walks through the town, the crowd’s support of Fulham can be heard.
When walking to the stadium from Putney Bridge, the fans walk through this beautiful scenic route. There are multiple paths surrounded by trees, benches, a river, and fields. The birds are singing songs even though there are hundreds of people stampeding through their homeland. Getting closer to the stadium, a realization starts to set in that this field isn’t brand spanking new. Craven Cottage is a stadium where the fans can go and sit in the stands feeling like they are watching an old-time football match.
In order to enter the field, fans walk through the turnstiles and the gates. This is the first place that gives this stadium its old-time feeling because the gates are made out of brick. The small little gates allow only one person through the gates at a time.
After walking through those gates, fans pile in to the stadium grounds. There are people chanting already, singing their team’s songs, or even talking with all of their friends. Fans stand outside of the stadium and enjoy a beer or just stand around with old friends.
Walking into the stadium really gives everyone an understanding that this field gives fans a reminder that old-time football still exists. There isn’t room for 100,000 people, like most of the newer stadiums that are built; the capacity for this stadium is close to 30,000 people. The seating also is very close to the field. Fans are very close to the action and almost see their favorite player’s face. This is a reminder of how in the beginning of football how fans would sit on small wooden stands where they could be up close to every play that would happen.
The stands in Craven Cottage may seem like they are similar to other stadiums, but there are still some differences. Of course there are the home stands, where they will all cheer for Fulham every single minute of the match. This end of the field is called the Hammersmith End. It is the north end of the field. Although there is a main home section, more home fans will sit on the Riverside end. This is called the Riverside End because the back of the stands borders the Thames River. These fans are unlike the other home fans on the Hammersmith End because of their pocket book. The richer fans sit on the Hammersmith End because these tickets are more expensive.
Even though the field seems to be the constant reminder of the older type of football club games, there is one view that shows how the stadium is becoming a bit more modernized. There is an LCD TV scoreboard above the Hammersmith End. This TV shows statistics and the score throughout the match, while also keeping the fans updated on the play around the league.
The home stands may seem like the most important group of stands here in the stadium, but Craven Cottage has one group of stands unlike any stands in the league: Putney End. This southern end of the field is also known as “Little Switzerland” because this is a licensed neutral area. Fans from all around the league can come and cheer on whomever they like and sit in these stands. There is no other club in the United Kingdom that has this type of stands. To the right of these stands is a small white cottage, and to the left of these stands is one tree. This tree is the only tree on the grounds, which can resemble how there is still that growth of the Fulham community.
While sitting in Putney End, attendees can get the true feel of the football game. Sitting on this end lets fans sit behind one of the goals and across from the big home fans on the Hammersmith End. From this “Little Switzerland” section, the scoreboard is visible along with every fan in the stadium.
Fulham fans are dedicated to their team, unlike any other team here in the United States. Their fans show up at games and cheer them on non-stop. Chants of “Come on, Fulham” will echo throughout the stadium, even if the team is not winning. In the game I attended, fans came from all around the world. We being from the United States gave the home fans a rise that there aren’t just fans from the UK. Also, sitting behind us were fans from the Scandinavian area. Every fan is not just from the home country, but from all around the globe.
During the intense situations, Fulham fans would begin to stomp their feet on the floors. This would sound like a big thunderous roar. Every time the goalie stopped the ball or a striker tried kick the ball toward the net, the fans would stomp after the play. Also, when Fulham was kicking toward the Hammersmith End, the fans behind the goal would stand up simultaneously and watch the play occur. If their home team scores, the fans would begin to scream and applause in happiness.
Once the game is complete, fans disperse throughout all the sections. They leave in the paths they came in on in order to go home. Whether it is on the way to the bus, the Underground, or even back to their house nearby, fans walk together in bands and talk about the game they just saw. Players’ names will be said; favorite numbers will be screamed; memorable plays will be talked about. It is a never ending discussion about the game all the way back to their stop. Even on the Underground, people still talk about the game.
Football in England is unlike any sport in America, but Craven Cottage brings back the good old-time football feeling. It is a reminder of how important this sport has been throughout the ages. It is a reminder of how this game has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a reminder of how this sport can bring all ages together, from young children to grandparents. Craven Cottage is one of the nicest fields in the football world because of this old-time feeling.