Stamford Bridge. 45,000-seat home of The Blues.

When I am in England researching my Groundhopper’s Guide to Soccer in England, I always try to tour the stadiums. It’s cool to go into the locker rooms, stand on the touchline, meet supporters, and hear stories.

Here, then, are images from a tour of Stamford Bridge at Chelsea FC in London.

Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC in London.

Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC in London.

Quick note: I took this tour in January 2014, so a few things might have changed, like Frank Lampard having a spot in the locker room.

Buy my Book,
The Groundhopper’s Guide to Soccer in England

We start outside, in the vibrant neighborhood around Fulham Road. What always amazes me about many of these stadiums, and one of the things that I think Americans will love about watching soccer in England, is that these grand stadiums, home to legendary clubs, are often in the middle of town!

Can't get much more "in the neighborhood" than this!

Can’t get much more “in the neighborhood” than this!

This picture really brings it home: apartments on the left, 45,000-seat stadium on the right.

This picture really brings it home: apartments on the left, 45,000-seat stadium on the right.

Just about every stadium has a statue of a club legend outside; in this case it’s Peter Osgood, the “King of Stamford Bridge.” He scored 150 goals in 380 games, and won the FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.

Peter Osgood, the "King of Stamford Bridge."

Peter Osgood, the “King of Stamford Bridge.”

The tour starts in the club museum, where you can see the usual array of legendary players, trophies, and other displays. In Chelsea’s case, these are pretty extensive. They have won the top English league five times, the second division twice, the FA Cup seven times, the League Cup five times, plus the Champions League, Europa League, Cup Winners’ Cup, and UEFA Super Cup.

(By the way, if you’re interested, here is a guide to all the leagues and cups of English soccer.)

Entrance to the museum: a veritable tunnel of honors.

Entrance to the museum: a veritable tunnel of honors.

The trophy room shows some of the biggest honors.

The trophy room shows some of the biggest honors.

The biggest trophy of them all, the Champions League, with the shirt of the hero of that team, Didier Drogba. He's in Montreal now, but the trophy is still at the Bridge.

The biggest trophy of them all, the Champions League, with the shirt of the hero of that team, Didier Drogba. He’s in Montreal now, but the trophy is still at the Bridge.

My favorite thing here was this video showing the history of the stadium’s building and re-building — including the explanation of why one end is called The Shed End, when there’s clearly no shed.

Get my book from Amazon.com or Powells.com

 

Next your guide meets you and walks you through the place, starting in the seats for the big perspective:

The view from where we sat for our intro talk. The guidejoked that the yellow seats across the way are for Fulham fans.

The view from where we sat for our intro talk. The guide joked that the yellow seats across the way are for Fulham fans.

Here’s a panorama of the whole 45,000-seat stadium:

Stamford Bridge. 45,000-seat home of The Blues.

Stamford Bridge. 45,000-seat home of The Blues.

Next you go into the locker room and other behind-the-scenes locations, including the media room where — and this happens on every tour — you have sit and wait for people to get their photos taken where the managers sit after the game.

Where those after-the-game TV interviews happen.

Where those after-the-game TV interviews happen.

I guess this is exciting if you're a club supporter. Jose Mourinho sat here!!!

I guess this is exciting if you’re a club supporter. Jose Mourinho sat here!!!

Sit where your favorite player sites ... all naked and sweaty.

Sit where your favorite player sits … all naked and sweaty.

And finally, the highlight, at least for me: going to the side of the pitch. Never onto the pitch, mind you; that is grounds for immediate expulsion. In fact, the glowing thing you see on the field is basically a mobile greenhouse that helps grass grow in front of each goal.

View from the center stripe.

View from the center stripe.

Sit in the manager's seat.

Sit in the manager’s seat.

American Chelsea fans are well represented among the banners.

American Chelsea fans are well represented among the banners.

Here’s a video that gives you some perspective on what it’s like from the touchline:

These stadium tours are a great way to spend a few hours, and at bigger clubs like Chelsea they are available pretty much every day there isn’t a home match. And speaking of home matches, I’ve seen two at Stamford Bridge, one of which was pretty memorable. I call it Sunderland’s Big Day at Stamford Bridge.

Buy The Groundhopper’s Guide to Soccer in England

Are You Looking to Attend a Premier League Game?

Check out my Consulting and Ticket Services

and

Subscribe to my “Yankee Groundhopper” newsletter


1 Comment

Comments are closed.