|Stadium Name:||Craven Cottage|
History of the stadium
Craven Cottage has been the home stadium of Fulham Football Club since 1896. The Cottagers took just two years to build their first permanent ground in west London and have stayed there ever since.
It is also from the stadium’s name that Fulham later adopted their nickname, having first started out as the Saints. They dropped their first pseudonym after changing their name to remove the mention of St Andrew’s Church and cricket. While changes are also ongoing again to improve Craven Cottage today.
Shahid Khan, Fulham’s owner, has invested millions upon millions to fund the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage. Work began on the project back in 2019 to increase the stadium’s capacity from 25,700 to nearly 30,000. But the pandemic and increasing costs delayed their project.
Fulham regularly moved stadiums before buying Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage came into existence near the end of the 19th century as Fulham sought to build their first permanent ground. St Andrew’s Church initially used a section of land close to it on Star Road in West Kensington. While Fulham later played near to Lillie Road, at Ranelagh House and at Barn Elms.
A move to a new ground at Purser’s Cross called Parsons Green would prove to be a mistake, as well. Fulham often faced issues with the pitch becoming waterlogged and a tree. While games occurred at Eel Brook Common, the Half Moon Public House and the Captain James Field close to Halford Road.
Fulham even shared the ground across the road from the Half Moon Public House with Wasps Rugby Club. But Fulham found their stadium after buying Craven Cottage in 1894 and volunteers helped to clear out a derelict house. Yet they were homeless for the 1895/96 term as building work continued.
Stanley FC offered to share the Captain James Field with Fulham after seeing their west London rival become homeless. The Cottagers would, eventually, move into Craven Cottage on October 10, 1896. The first terraces were mainly built from the excavation of the Shepherd’s Bush underground station.
Archibald Leitch helped to make Craven Cottage an iconic stadium
Robert Iles of Walham Green later created a 1,200-capacity wooden stand during the 1903/04 term as attendances rose. But the local county council ordered Fulham to tear down the Rabbit Hutch in April 1905. Archibald Leitch would also begin creating a new steelwork stand on Stevenage Road that May.
Fulham further improved Craven Cottage by putting terraces on the other three sides of the stadium. While Leitch’s 5,000-capacity stand officially opened on September 2, 1905. Fulham registered their record attendance of 49,335 against Millwall in 1938 and often drew crowds of 30,000 and 40,000.
Leitch further influenced the development of Craven Cottage by redesigning the Cottage pavilion for dressing rooms. It and the Stevenage Road stand, named after Fulham legend Johnny Haynes since 2005, are some of the finest examples of Leitch’s work. They are also both Grade II-listed buildings.
Work carried out in 1965 also added a roof to the Hammersmith End stand, which Fulham extended in 1961. While 1972 saw Fulham spend £330,000 of the fee generated from selling Teddy Maybank to Brighton & Hove Albion to replace the original Riverside Stand with the only fully-seated grandstand.
Fulham securing promotion into the Premier League in 2001 forced the club to redesign their ground again to meet the requirements for all-seated stadiums. It also meant the Cottagers spent two years sharing Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers. They would not return to Craven Cottage until 2004.
Shahid Khan has spent millions to redevelop Craven Cottage
Since returning to their home stadium, Fulham have further honoured their legends having unveiled statues of Haynes and George Cohen at Craven Cottage in 2008 and 2016. While Fulham also signed a contract with Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd in 2019 for the demolition of the Riverside Stand.
The project has further seen Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd build the new Riverside Stand. Khan paid £5m for a part of the River Thames in November 2020 to move the river wall back by up to nine metres. Khan also assured Fulham in April 2023 that he will cover all costs after the stand hit £120m.
How to get to Craven Cottage
Fans can get to Craven Cottage through a variety of means given the location of Fulham’s stadium on the River Thames in west London. The Cottagers and AccessAble have also worked to make detailed pan-disability guides. They help any fan access the stadium on Stevenage Road next to Bishops Park.
Those intending to get to Craven Cottage by car from the north can reach Fulham’s stadium via the A1 or the M1 before joining the A406 North Circular. While those travelling from the south and east can use the A205 South Circular. Fans arriving from the west should travel using the M4 and the A4.
Fulham only offer a limited number of first-come, first-served parking spaces for disabled supporters, though. Public transport offers supporters alternative ways to get to Craven Cottage. Bus routes 85 or C4 run from the Kingston-upon-Thames bus station to Putney Bridge and leave a 10-minute walk.
The 220 bus also runs from Hammersmith down Fulham Palace Road and the 74, 424 and 220 routes run from Putney to Fulham Palace Road. Fans can also get to Craven Cottage via the District tube line to Putney Bridge and the Hammersmith & City, Circle, Piccadilly and District lines to Hammersmith.
Stadium tour information
Fulham run Visit England-certified tours of their stadium, offering a look behind the scenes at Craven Cottage. Tours of their ground start at the Johnny Haynes Statue and include access to the home and away dressing rooms and the Cottage. All tours are also available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Fans must book in advance to attend a tour of Craven Cottage, while Fulham further offer a number of special tours of their stadium throughout the year. Groups of 20 or more can also book private tours for a base price of £450, plus £18 per person thereafter. Private school tours are priced at £15 a child.
|Prices:||Craven Cottage stadium tours|
|2 Adults, 2 Juniors:||£80|
Craven Cottage: Stevenage Road, London, England, SW6 6HH