Chelsea - Not The Hell-Hole It Used To Be

21 September 2010 04:43
Anyone who travelled away with the Toon in the 70's and 80's will regard a day-trip to Chelsea as a "nappy-filling" experience. But those days are long gone . Stamford Bridge - Chelsea Directions & Car Parking Leave the M25 at Junction 15 and take the M4 towards London, which then becomes the A4 up to Hammersmith. Carry on over the Hammersmith flyover and after a further one and half miles, take the turning Earls Court. Continue past Earls Court station and down the one way system until you reach the junction with Fulham Road. At this junction, turn right at the traffic lights and after about half a mile, you will see the ground on your right. A number of local resident schemes are in operation around the ground, so you may well end up having to park some way from the ground itself. By Train and Tube The nearest tube station is Fulham Broadway which is on the District Line. Take a tube to Earls Court and if necessary, change for a Wimbledon bound tube. The nearest overground train station is West Brompton, which is served by trains from Clapham Junction (which is in turn served by trains from London Waterloo and Victoria stations). It is around a 15 minute walk to the ground from West Brompton station. Turn right outside the station past the Tournament Pub, then right again into Brompton Cemetery. Walk on through the Cemetery (just follow the crowd) and Stamford Bridge is soon visible to the right. If it is a night game then turn right after the cemetery into Finborough Road. After a half-mile, turn right onto the Fulham Rd. Thanks to Jim Millington for providing the directions. Away Fans Away fans are located in the South East corner of the Shed End, rather, where the normal allocation for league games is 3,000 tickets, with fans located in a portion of the upper tier of the Shed End Stand and the whole of the lower tier. If Clubs elect to take only 1,500 tickets then, fans will be located on the East side of the stand in both the upper and lower tiers. For cup games the whole of the Shed End can be allocated. The view from this area of the ground is pretty good and the refreshment areas and concourses were modern and new looking. There are televisions on the concourses, showing amongst other things at half time, highlights from the first half. On the whole I found Stamford Bridge a pleasurable day out. There was a good atmosphere within the ground and even though there wasn't a lot of space between the home and away fan sections, in didn't feel intimidating. The stewards were pretty laid back. The only 'hassle' I had was trying to get through two lines of stewards to gain entrance to the away turnstiles as they seemed to assume that I was a Chelsea fan and kept ushering me towards the home end. Only after showing my ticket for the away section for a third time did I finally make it inside! I was seated in the upper tier and I found a little difficult to go up and down the steps of the stand as they were quite small and there were steps between each row. Considering that the stand is quite steep then they seemed quite awkward or do you think it may have been something to do with the few beers that I had consumed beforehand? Where To Drink The pubs near the ground can be quite partisan, so I would recommend getting a drink somewhere on the journey there. Gordon a visiting Newcastle fan adds 'there are quite a few pubs on the Kings Road that are okay as long as you don't break into a chorus about your team!'. Ross Mooring adds; The best (well, least partisan) pub for away fans is the Slug and Lettuce outside Fulham Broadway train station situated a few minutes walk from the ground. It's an upmarket pub with a good security and police presence outside on matchdays. Very full but rarely any trouble. Away fans though should avoid the Sofa Bar. Alcohol (Budweiser) is available inside the ground but it is a bit pricey, even for Londoners!'. About a 15 minute walk away from the ground near Parsons Green Tube Station is the White Horse. A large comfortable pub which sells good food and a range of real ales including Harveys Ales from Sussex. To find this pub with the new West Stand behind you turn right (up past where the away coaches are parked) up Fulham Road and into Fulham Broadway, passing the tube station on your right. Continue to follow Fulham Road around to the left and then take a left hand turn into Parsons Green Road. Go under the bridge passing Parsons Tube Station on your right and you will reach the White Horse pub on your left. Trevor Simpson a visiting Ipswich Town fan adds; 'I have to say, we were very impressed with the White Horse. It is a large roomy place with a good atmosphere and is far enough from the ground not to be over-run by fans.  It is still a comfortable walk to the stadium, less than 15 minutes.  It is also so easy to get to the pub in the first place, simply get off the tube at Parsons Green and it is about 100 yards away. The food is a bit pricy; on a match-day the only sandwich is a BLT for £5.50.  They also have a barbecue going (even in January) and it is £6 for a burger and £5 for a sausage baguette. I had a baguette and it was fine. The biggest plus is the choice of beers, if you are a real ale fan then this pub is a gem'.  Alcohol is available inside the stadium, however for certain fixtures the Club opt not to sell any to away supporters, so don't bank on it!