Unfortunately, not all Chelsea fans are fortuitous as those who live nearby to Stamford Bridge and enjoy the luxury of attending most home games.
Those fans that don’t go to watch the Blues as often as they like want to enjoy their experience at the stadium as best they can. Here are a few tips of how to make the most of a visit to the home of the Cup Kings.
Getting to the Stadium
Tourists and fans not that familiar with West London find that getting to the ground itself is a bit of a problem. Very just a couple of car parks being within one mile of Stamford Bridge, the club insists fans make use of public transport. However, for those who want to make their own way to the game, you should use the secure parking at Chelsea Wharf. The few car parks charge premium rates, but you will be spared from the Congestion Charge and parking fines. If possible, you should check with the car parks if you can book up front, as there is a chance you may not get a space. Remember to park up at least an hour before the game, but you should aim to get to Fulham in the morning so you can enjoy the match build-up with fellow supporters.
Dull stuff to think about, but you don’t want your day spoiled by a £50 parking fine.
Before the game
At this point you are hopefully now all parked up and ready to soak in the pre-match atmosphere. There are several things you can do with your time, besides slowly ambling towards Stamford Bridge. In the surrounding Fulham and Putney areas, shopping and walks in and around places such as Hyde and Bishop’s parks are a decent and more family friendly option, however those with a more Blue mentality can get involved in some more football-related rituals.
Be sure to check out the number of stalls down Fulham Road that sell some great Chelsea scarf’s and winter hats!
If, unsurprisingly, you love a good chant and pre-match banter find a Chelsea supporters pub; there are many pubs that will only cater to Chelsea ticket holders only, however it is a good idea to get online and visit our forum to find out where the loudest supporters are, as these venues change from time to time. If you and your party are of age and fancy a punt against the bookies, do some pro-Chelsea sports betting (we say “pro” because why on earth would you bet against your own team?!). There are plenty of official bookmakers at the Stamford Bridge itself, and this undoubtedly has a more traditional charm. However placing your bets online might be a better option, particularly as you can get it done early avoiding the queues and if you need to leave Stamford Bridge quickly, you don’t want to be delayed if you’ve won some money!
Once in the Ground
After a brief walk down the Fulham Road, you will be met by the awe-inspiring sight of Stamford Bridge. Whilst massaging your jaw, you should immediately head for one of the match day magazine stands. Even if you’re not an avid reader, for £3, you are supplied with a brilliant souvenir of your day. You may want to take a brief look around the stalls outside the ground before entering, but feel free to browse around to your heart’s content.
If you arrived early, you should take advantage of the megastore’s early-morning opening. Once the kick-off approaches, it will be bedlam inside the megastore, so your shopping is best done prior to the game. Just make sure you don’t leave your bag under your seat whilst celebrating a win at full-time – you might forget it. After a brief shopping spree, you may be incredibly fortunate to have an early stadium tour on the match day. It is very rare that the tour is open during home games, but if you are lucky and arrive early, you may catch a tour. The tour is well worth the small fee paid, and last a hour and fifteen minutes. If you’ve seen a bird’s nest on the way down to the Bridge, you might even have a familiar face leading you around.
After the megastore, or tour if you are lucky, to the Britannia Gate and watch as the Chelsea stars arrive for the game.
Following this, you are advised to head into the ground. Once you have your seat, you may wish to read through the programme as you wait for the players to come out for their warm-up. The stadium is usually only half-full during the warm-ups, and stewards are a little less strict, so you may be lucky and get a few good shots of the stars limbering up.
If you chose to wander around the stadium and take a few pictures of the fabulous architecture, make sure you are in the stadium at least 30 minutes prior to kick-off for the game. In need of half-time refreshment? Beer is available for £3, and a variety of foods for very good prices.
Then, prepare to sing your heart out for the Blues for the game and celebrate yet another Chelsea victory!
After the Match
The megastore is always packed after the game, so as earlier advised, do your shopping sooner rather than later. If you have a need to buy something, head to the smaller store at the Britannia Gate – whilst nowhere near the standards of the megastore, you may find whatever you are looking for there.
You may chose to go to one of local Fulham public houses afterwards – the Prince Of Wales and the SO Bar (at the Bridge) are recommended. Make sure not to go overboard if you face a long journey home!