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Attending my first EPL match. What do I need to know?

Attending my first EPL match. What do I need to know?

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Old Dec 30, 08, 7:42 pm
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Attending my first EPL match. What do I need to know?

I'll be attending my first Premiership match (I know, fixture ) and I wanted to see if there was any advice that I could get from FTers.

The fixture will be between Fulham FC and Blackburn at Fulham's home pitch, the quaint Craven Cottage. After emailing the Fulham front office, they informed me that I was welcome to sit in the Neutral/Visitor side or the Supporters side since I was unaffiliated. He said that if I supported the visiting team and was in the supporters section that I would be tossed. Further, I was told that the Hammersmith End is where the raucous crowd sits.

I was up for some adventure, so I booked in the Hammersmith End, a lone ticket in a sea of supporters. My ticket is on hold at Will Call, so I should be all set there.

Questions:
1) Was sitting in the raucous end a bad idea? I'm a pretty crazy guy when it comes to sport and I have season tix to our own Sounders FC, but wasn't sure if I'm up to the task.
2) What should I do to prepare for the game? Do I need gear to wear? Do I need to spend hours pouring over history and statistics? I won't be able to learn chants/cheers before the match, but is there anything else I can do beforehand?
3) When should I plan to arrive for a 15:00 match? Is it a good idea to go to a nearby pub beforehand to get a little fueled and to meet supporters?
4) Anything else I should know? I am sure I will stick out as an American - can't do much about that. Just want to have a good time, see a good match, and bring back some ideas for our Sounders supporter group.

Thanks all!
bmvaughn
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Old Dec 31, 08, 3:35 am
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I have only ever been to see one MLS game (Galaxy v someone) but catch hockey about 10 times a year. From my experience of such sports, N America is rather subdued when it comes to this kind of thing. There are certain teams known to be a bit hardcore and Fulham seems ok.

When I started reading your post I thought 'oh no' when you mentioned the neutral stand' so good choice to start with

Although the stand may be known for raucus behaviour, it is often usually just an area ime of football (or soccer if you so wish ) So if there's a patch where that stand corners the away supports, that will be the most vocal. I have had tickets in areas like that and very little game watching goes on, everyone stands the whole time (although it is seated), and is just abusing the away supporters the whole time. This was at Crystal Palace, a supposedly family club.

Anyway, buy a program on gameday. The roads around the ground will be closed before and after the game and you will be able to buy programs from sellers immediately around the stadium (about 2) Maybe get there a good 90mins before kickoff, and cram into a local pub. Choose the colours you wear carefully.

Expect to hear every swear word under the sun (including the c word). Although they are various things to keep racism out of football, expect to hear racist slurs. I hope it doesn't happen, but 80% of games I have been to, I have heard something or other. There are often chants that spill over between teams, you may hear a lot of 'the referees a [email protected]' which is another word for someone who likes to touch themselves
But google.co.uk 'fulham chants' and some stuff comes up.

I hope for your sake the weather gets better, but it's stuck at freezing in London at the moment. So lots of layers, definately a coat, hat and scarf, and gloves.

Alcohol is no longer allowed in the stands (this will be a bit of a shock for someone coming from N American sports) but it is served in the stadium, just make sure you drink enough to keep you warm. You may, or may not be searched on the way in. This may include a patdown so any hipflask put in your pants (pants=boxers in the UK).

They may like you considering their American striker was a hero the other day against Chelsea.

Queues for the drinks at halftime will be massive and people may leave with a few mins to go to grab them. They should have bad burgers and fries (call them chips).

When you leave, prepare for a sea of people which you will get caught up in. Tube stations nearby may have filtering in slowly so it could take a while to get out of the area. You may be held somewhere first, in that you are stuck in a crowd of peopel and held until the tube clears a bit, then groups allowed down. Everyone will then crush onto the train, so be prepared for that and hold onto your wallet, or have your hand in your pockets protecting it. Expect a lot of police and police horses, but don't let that scare you. And you may see people arrested at the game, again, it happens at every game, about 15 people will get arrested for whatever reason usually followed by the opposition supporters waving and saying 'bye'.



Hope you enjoy
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Old Dec 31, 08, 7:37 am
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I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The match will most likely pass off without trouble, but keep your wits about you - it only takes one misunderstanding and a drunk fan for trouble to erupt.

At the risk of offending you.... try not to be too loud and, erm, American ! Or if that's going to be unavoidable, try to establish a rapport with the guys near you. A bit of humour and an offer of food or drink can disarm even the most hardened fan!

"EPL" isn't really used (or even understood) here. Just say "Premiership" or "Premier League".

You don't need to know every piece of history, but have a look at the league table to see where Fulham and Blackburn are (Fulham are doing reasonably well so far this season). They will have played Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup the week before, so it's worth knowing how they did in that match.

Have a look at recent news here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...am/default.stm

I've never been to Craven Cottage, so can't give you any information about the stands. I'm sure the home end will be fun . No need to wear Fulham colours, as there are plenty of neutrals or people who don't wear football shirts. As Coolio says, it's likely to be freezing, so dress warm and drink lots of tea! Try not to bring a backpack or other baggage with you - it'll be a hassle when moving through crowds and may cause trouble getting through the turnstiles. Any books/ maps/ extra clothes etc will have to be stashed neatly in your jacket.

Worth going for a pint or two before the match to complete the experience. Just be aware that different pubs around the area will have different reputations, and serve different segments of fans (heavy drinkers, hardcore fans, younger, older, small groups, large groups etc.). Again, I don't know the pubs near the ground, but hopefuly someone will be able to give a recommendation. Failing that, pop your head around the door and go with your gut instinct.

Like anything, you might meet a great bunch of people who will buy you drinks all afternoon long and take you under their wing. Or you might be stuck with a boring lot who just want to drink/ watch the match in peace. Luck of the draw, I'm afraid.

Either way, enjoy it and report back on here
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Old Dec 31, 08, 8:11 am
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Yes, definately try to avoid a bag. Seats are small and you get very little legroom compared to N American seating, people will be treading your toes the whole time walking in front, and if they score, everything on the ground will get trampled to death in the madness that ensues


Originally Posted by mad_rich View Post

At the risk of offending you.... try not to be too loud and, erm, American !

"EPL" isn't really used (or even understood) here. Just say "Premiership" or "Premier League".
lol, poor guy.

Yeah the EPl thing threw me, thought he wanted to go to a hockey game. (EPL is a hockey league in the UK)
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Old Dec 31, 08, 8:35 am
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Lesson learned. I will only call it EPL here in the states

Thanks for all of the great advice! My nervousness about being an American in a sea of supporters has subsided somewhat.
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Old Dec 31, 08, 8:36 am
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Have fun
I've worked as a steward (security) for my local football club and always found the crowd to be fine if vocal and mostly good humoured (even Millwall and West Ham )
I'm looking forward to reading your Trip Report
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Old Dec 31, 08, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by duchy View Post
Have fun
I've worked as a steward (security) for my local football club and always found the crowd to be fine if vocal and mostly good humoured (even Millwall and West Ham )
I'm looking forward to reading your Trip Report
Eeek, now I need a trip report?

Absolutely, would love to put one together. One poster mentioned "be careful what you wear"... As long as I go red/black/white, seems I'll be fine, correct? I'd rather not try to buy a kit and act like some sort of poser - which would only invite criticism if I saw me
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Old Dec 31, 08, 9:25 am
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I really wouldn't worry about the fans at Fulham - mostly what we call 'plastic supporters' who weren't there 10 years ago when Fulham were a nothing team.

Mohammed (al) Fayed bought the club (as well as Harrods) and spent millions, encouraging new fans who were merely glory hunters or those who couldn't afford Chelsea prices. He still doesn't have a passport though (something my team like to remind him of...).

My advice would be to take the District line (green underground line) to Putney Bridge (NOT FULHAM BROADWAY) and take the short walk from there. There are a couple of pubs en-route.
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Old Dec 31, 08, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by bmvaughn View Post
Eeek, now I need a trip report?

Absolutely, would love to put one together. One poster mentioned "be careful what you wear"... As long as I go red/black/white, seems I'll be fine, correct? I'd rather not try to buy a kit and act like some sort of poser - which would only invite criticism if I saw me
It's worth having an idea of what colours they play in, but don't get too worried about it. Any standard casual clothes are fine.

In fact, if you have a replica shirt from your home club, that might be a talking point...
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Old Dec 31, 08, 10:16 am
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You can always root lustily for fellow American Clint Dempsey. Brush up on Fulham here and Blackburn Rovers here. If you are inspired to buy some team clothing, you should be able to do so inside or outside Craven Cottage. If you don't want to spring for a jersey/kit, you can always buy an inexpensive scarf, which will help identify you as a supporter of the home side and leave you with a souvenir of your experience. If you wear red, black, and white, you will fit in nicely; blue and white, not so much.

I've attended numerous soccer matches in England (Arsenal is my favorite club), the Netherlands, and Spain and have never had any problems. You'll be fine too. Enjoy.
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Old Jan 1, 09, 1:08 am
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I used to live about 5 mins walk from Craven Cottage and have been to the ground to watch Fulham play 7 or 8 times. The "plastic supporters" tag is completely accurate. You have no reason to be worried I sat in the Hammersmith end which is where the Fulham "die-hards" are and to be honest most of them are over 70 and come with their grown-up children. The younger fans in the Hammersmith end are just their because season tickets are so cheap you can usually tell these guys because they will have neutral clothes on, save for the 10 pound scarf. After the game the Golden Lion on Fulham High Street usually draws the traditional Fulham fans. Some can be a bit rough looking but I have gone in their after a game and never had any problems, something I wouldn't do in Fulham Broadway after a Chelsea match. Otherwise you can try the Duke of Cornwall toward Hammersmith. It's usually a couple of degrees colder at the Cottage. maybe it's the river or the park that has something to do with it.

Don't be too worried about what to wear unless you want to wear a jersey. If you are just going to turn up in everyday clothes then you'll have no probs

Also regarding not being too American. I would say there is some truth to that. I have been to a few games where there were first time Americans and they seemed to constantly want to let everyone know they were from America. I would say that at the football like everywhere else the general rules of not being an obnoxious tourist holds.

Last edited by bensyd; Jan 1, 09 at 1:17 am Reason: wrong pub
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Old Jan 19, 09, 11:43 am
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Sounds like you were foxed by the British weather

Originally Posted by BBC News
The Premier League game between Fulham and Blackburn at Craven Cottage was called off 90 minutes before kick-off because of a frozen pitch.

Referee Rob Styles decided a small area of the playing surface was unplayable and called the match off at 1330 GMT.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...em/7808347.stm

I hope you managed to get a little bit of the build-up. Will you be around for the rescheduled fixture?
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Old Feb 4, 19, 1:11 pm
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Bumping a very old thread...some relevant info (not to act too "American"...LOL) but would like some updates.

I bought a cheap air ticket to London for the weekend of March 2-3, and just so happens that Tottenham Hotspurs are playing Arsenal at home on that Saturday.
Would like to catch the match in person, so looking for some advice on how to accomplish.

Checking websites, looks like there is still some uncertainty on if they will be playing at Wembley or their new stadium, which I guess complicates things. I requested some information on Premium package, but never received a response.

So, any insights from those in the know? Is there a reliable (legal?) reselling outfit from which to get a ticket? I am willing to splurge a bit to get something lined up in advance.
If not, what is the best way to get a ticket?

If all else fails, would at least want to watch the match from a Hotspur pub, if anyone has a favorite?

Thanks for any info.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
just so happens that Tottenham Hotspurs are playing
All I can advise is that it's never Tottenham Hotspurs...

watch the match from a Hotspur pub
...nor would you ever find a Hotspur pub, although you might find a Spurs one.

Other than that, good luck.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by goodeats21 View Post
I bought a cheap air ticket to London for the weekend of March 2-3, and just so happens that Tottenham Hotspurs are playing Arsenal at home on that Saturday.
Would like to catch the match in person, so looking for some advice on how to accomplish.
That's a huge rivalry game, the North London derby. I'm surprised that tickets aren't more expensive on Stubhub or Fanpass. I'd be comfortable buying from either, probably more so from Stubhub than Fanpass, although Fanpass delivered tickets as promised for a game I attended in December at Anfield.

https://www.stubhub.com/tottenham-ho...sort=price+asc
https://www.fanpass.co.uk/tickets-to...r-arsenal-2799
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