London Unveiled

great places to visit off the beaten path.

The Other Football Venues in London ~ including VIP options.

View of QPR's pitch from VIP seats.

View of QPR’s pitch from VIP seats.

With the return of the Premier League many visitors to London will be trying to acquire tickets to see the big London clubs – Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham, West Ham, Tottenham and now Crystal Palace!  While tickets to most of these games are near impossible to obtain (Fulham games are generally the easiest), London offers so many more opportunities to experience football at a competitive level.  As someone who has attended games at most of the London clubs, I find that many of the smaller, lower tier clubs offer a more authentic experience.  In addition, many have “VIP” packages that are affordable, providing catered meals before the game, drinks at half time and afterwards, and even an opportunity to combine a game with a tour and to meet and vote on the man of the match.

The view of Millwall's pitch from the VIP seats.

The view of Millwall’s pitch from the VIP seats.

The Clubs:  Aside from the 6 Premier League teams, there are 35 other league teams within London (not counting those that are almost in London, such as Watford).  Within the Championship, London has several teams – Queens Park Rangers, Millwall, and Charlton Atheletic.  In League 1, there are Brentford and Leyton Orient.  In League 2, you’ll find AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham & Redbridge.  Game tickets can be very reasonable at these non-Premier league clubs.  For example the most expensive seats at AFC Wimbledon are £22.  There are six teams in the Conference North & South leagues, and a further 18 teams in the Isthmian Leagues.  Lastly, there are 4 teams in the Southern Football League.   Consequently there are no shortage of games to attend.  Since it would not be possible to profile all these teams, I will just select a couple to whet the appetite.

The C-Club: Image from QPR

The C-Club: Image from QPR

Loftus Road & Queens Park Rangers:  Loftus Road Stadium is one of the oldest in London.  Originally built in 1904 QPR didn’t move in here until 1917.  Over the years the team moved to White City Stadium, a nearby facility left over from the 1908 Olympics (hence the local tube station name), but ultimately returned here.  When QPR was in the Premier League Loftus Road was the league’s smallest stadium.  Many expect QPR to build a newer stadium elsewhere if they can return the top flight for a sustained time, so a visit here now is worth considering.  As a team that has been through both promotion and relegation in recent years, it generally sells out its stadium on Loftus Road, but tickets can be obtained without too much difficulty.  Personally this is one of my favourite stadia to see a game at – it is very intimate, close to the pitch and holds the noise in well.

QPR's Trophy inside the C-Club

QPR’s Trophy inside the C-Club

VIP options include their “C-Club” which is very pricey (£495), but includes some very gourmet food, great seats and a very upmarket celeb feel to it.  The last time I was in here (fortunately on a free pass as a guest of the club) I met the club’s owner, Tony Fernandez and saw many celebrities, including Bobby Charlton.  They also offer the “W-12” package which is much more reasonably priced (£99), and includes food and game seats, or private game-day suites for groups.  All choices can be seen at: http://www.qprcorporate.co.uk/     Closest tube:  White City.

Waiting to present the Man of the Match award at Millwall.

Waiting to present the Man of the Match award at Millwall.

The Den & Millwall:  While a struggling Championship team of late, Millwall has a great history.  It started as a group of workers from Morton’s Jam Factory on the Isle of Dogs in 1885.  Using various pitches on the island until 1910, they moved south across the Thames to the original ‘Den’ stadium.  They played here until 1993, moving the ‘New Den’, only a few hundred yards away.  The new stadium was the first purpose built stadium to incorporate new safety features as a result of the Hillsborough disaster, and was the first new football stadium built for a London team since 1937.  Since then Millwall has generally between in either the Championship or League One.  It did reach the FA Cup Final in 2004.  The appeal of visiting this stadium is its very affordable VIP experience.  Prices range from £75 to £95 ( even cheaper for kids) making this one of the most reasonable VIP experiences in football.

VIP room pre-game at Millwall.

VIP room pre-game at Millwall.

For this price you enjoy access to the VIP lounge, a meal, drinks, VIP game seating and to vote on and meet the ‘Man of the Match’.  See http://www.millwallfc.co.uk/news/article/vip-day-out-416154.aspx for details on the VIP packages.

Closest tube:  Surrey Quays or South Bermondsey (rail)

Please feel free to comment on your favourite non-Premier league experiences, stadium etc…

9 comments on “The Other Football Venues in London ~ including VIP options.

  1. A Cat From London
    August 11, 2013

    Before moving to London, we were not big fans of football and not supporting a team in Istanbul. But in UK we really enjoy first class football and even support a team 🙂 .

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      August 12, 2013

      As part of the city’s cultural fabric, I think having a team to support is a good thing – and if you only have a Premier League team consider finding a lower level team or two to follow. All the best, Ian.

  2. Hidden London
    August 12, 2013

    Great post – I’ve been to a few of these grounds over the years (I won’t mention the drenching I got on an uncovered terrace at Leyton) and always think non-premiership football should get more coverage!

  3. yizhivika
    August 12, 2013

    I’ve lived in London for more than thirty years now, and in that time I’ve visited numerous London football grounds, both league and non-league, and a fair number of which no longer exist! In the 1980s, I was living in south-east London, and saw a fair few matches at Welling United’s ground. I made a point one season in the 1980s of visiting all of the Football League grounds at that time, which I think was a dozen in number, and included Wimbledon’s Plough Lane (which is one of those that no longer exists of course!). I also remember visiting Wealdstone, Barnet and Enfield among other non-league grounds, and there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from following a non-league club, as well as it being a lot more affordable than following a Premiership side. Incidentally, my most recent visit to a London ground, was last season, to see Barnet play Gillingham at Underhill, and of course, last season was Barnet’s final one at Underhill (they had been there since 1907), following their contract lease dispute with Barnet Council…

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      August 12, 2013

      Thank you for a great comment to this post. With most of the attention focused on BPL teams now, many fans / visitors miss the enjoyment of attending these other games and as your comment shows, they give great memories. Thanks, Ian

  4. Anthony Turi
    August 15, 2013

    Ian, this is a great post. Always good to see some quality football-related writing on the web (you’ve taken a refreshingly different approach to the subject – instead of the usual ‘noise’ about transfer sagas etc., I like the fans’ perspective you’ve taken here on this city’s football grounds). Even as a Spurs fan (don’t hold it against me!), I always enjoy reading quality writing about non-Premiership football (I agree – there should be more of a focus on clubs outside the top flight). Such a rich history we have here of football in London, and I like the way you write about so many different aspects of this wonderful city. Keep up the great work!

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      August 15, 2013

      Anthony, thanks for your comment – I appreciate it. I don’t hold being a Spurs fan against you, its a great club with a good history. I’m a Canaries fan at heart, but I love the history of the game (if you missed my post on Battersea park that is the birthplace of games in London), the stadia etc…and I willingly seek out going to many non-BPL games. I’m glad my objective, which was to remind people there is a great breadth and variety of ways to enjoy football in London, came across. Thanks again, Ian.

  5. Anthony Turi
    August 23, 2013

    Thanks Ian. Your comment prompted me to check out your post about Battersea Park – it’s a really great article and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone. Great stuff!

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