Day 26 – London part 1!!!!
Before we start, to the Championship footballer who made an incredible donation, thank you so much. I hope you get promoted and get to play in the premier league. You deserve it for helping these charities. You legend. Even if you play for Swansea.
So, we are in London, buckle up because we’ve got a lot to get through with no less than a whopping 7 grounds to get through for your Saturday, including 2 bonus ones not on the list. Such is the kindness of my heart and the pain in my arse.
So Croydon is where I left off so Croydon is where I will start, Crystal Palace, who today lost 4-0 to Frank Lampards Chelsea. Karma for the double puncture i received last night outside the ground in the rain.
The Eagles, led by former England manager Roy Hodgson have a stadium literally like no other. Now I’m not going to start comparing Seldhurst Park to the Bernabeau or the bloody Nou Camp, but if you want a unique stadium, go here.
Firstly, its on a street thats on an incline at one end.
Then on a level street the other after going downhill the other side.
Confused? Yeah, so was my gps and at one point of circling the stadium i ended up at Marks and Spencers. Secondly, they have the coolest graffiti I’ve ever seen around a stadium.
Especially when you compare it to the graffiti at other stadiums. Take Southend for example…
There is no competition.
And thirdly, it is the only stadium, in the actual world and i would absolutely bet my padded bike seat on this, where the Directors box, yes the actual Directors box, where the big wigs, the top brass, the head cheese, where the important people sip champagne and eat the prawn sandwiches, backs on to bloody argos.
I’m assuming its for convenience and new players sign their contracts with those little red pens.Lovely stadium Selhurst Park as its traditional one side and has a stand named after a local builder, not everyday you see that. Although this man laid quite the foundations for the club.And no I’m not apologising for that joke you can bugger off.Arthur Wait, used to sneak into the ground as a schoolboy, before becoming life pesident of the club. So basically he got to watch them for free all his life. Nice work. Wait got the club noticed back in the day by inviting Real Madrid over to play their first ever game in London. Which is quite an honour to be fair. The reason for the big invitational match? He was celebrating the fact Selhurst Park had just put up some new floodlights. This man used any old excuse for a party. I like his style.
Moving on, the nearest stadium was as close as I could get to a Wimbledon-Own ground as they now groundshare with QPR. So Kingsmeadow I headed for, their home until May of this year. So, since I was there, let’s have a look at this little beauty shall we.
Rebounded and now fully a stadium in its own right for both Chelsea’s Women and youth teams, its a proper little stadium this. We haven’t touched on women’s football yet so let’s jump straight in shall we.
Up until recently, it is in my opinion, just like mental health does now, womens football carried a stigma. Traditionally a mens game certain things such as the brilliant Womens World Cup helped break down traditionalist ideas perfectly. The fact it was broadcast on terrestrial television helped an incredible amount when it came to drawing attention to womens football due to it being readily accessible to the general public at a time where you needed that football fix.
And boy did it deliver.
Captained by Magdalena Ericsson, they won their first ever womens FA Cup in 2015 with a goal from superstar Eniola Aluko, the same year, they won the FAL Womens Super League title completing the double. They also did it in the 2017-18 season and got to the Semis of the UEFA Womens Champions League. They mean business.
Womens football is bloody brilliant. Its fast paced and some of the challenges I’ve seen would make Jackie Chan wince. Theres absolutely no messing on that pitch and its engrossing and they have a lush stadium to go with it. The coverage the game is getting is well deserved nd if you have caught the West Ham womens team documentary Squad Goals its hard not to fall in love with the womens league, its intensity is incredible.
At this point, I’m going to give a massive shout out to Chelsea Womens player and fellow Welshie Sophie Ingle from Penarth who used to play for Cardiff womens team and, incredibly at the age of 29 has 100 caps as the captain for the Welsh team. Get in Sophie 🏴🔥
Heres her kicking arse 🔥
Up the road I went then, to the brand spanking new Brentford Community Stadium. Now anyone who’s a Brentford fan might have gone up to have a sneaky look at the new pad, but its off bounds obviously as its brand new and there’s still some work being done, thank god I brought my hard hat. They obviously don’t want oily bike hands all over it either as there’s fences everywhere to stop me getting my grubby little mits all over it. Nonetheless, look at me, I was delighted to be there.
Least of all as your new stadium address listed on your website took me to someone’s house.
This, Brentford fans is a really lush looking stadium. Yeah its as plain as unbuttered toast in colour, but it really is a smart looking stadium.
You’ve got a proper posh gaff here, fair play and you should be well excited to move in. As it was impossible to get into, here’s a sneak peak for you.
Now, don’t say I don’t treat you, up the road, is a stadium you’ll all know.
Not on the list but sod it, I’ll do the Millennium Stadium too. Sorry Scots fans, ill need an arse transplant if I did Hampden Park too. So 2 national stadiums because I’ve decided to be bloody greedy and go for 100 stadiums. Kingsmeadow, Bury, Wembley, Millennium Stadium. I need 6 more so any suggestions, chuck em in. As long as they are near where I’m cycling, I know what some of you bloody sadists are like.
I don’t need to sell Wembley as a stadium to anyone. It’ll be like selling Justin Bieber to a teenager, bloody pointless. However, we’ve mentioned one former England manager so far so let’s indulge in the greatest England manager in living memory…
Sven, you’re an absolute legend 🔥
From Carlisle to here we are making some ground.
Next up, the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Lets mention Wimbledon again. They played at home today as i said earlier they play here until their new stadium has been built and I was lucky to catch the announcer saying “there will be 5 minutes of added time”. Ive celebrated hearing that a million times and im not even a Man UTD fan. But this time, considering we can’t get anywhere near live football felt awesome. The stadiums still got their poster up to remind us of the mess covid has left too.
They haven’t had much luck both teams who currently play here. Wimbledon as it was known, got moved to Milton Keynes so they started again.Let’s be honest, Wimbledon or AFC wimbledon as its known now due to having to start afresh, have done nothing short of magnificent. Oh boy is there a story to tell with these. They were founded in 2002, due to the fans kicking off that their home town club were being moved 60 miles up the road. Lets be honest, a majority of their fans would be local and part of the Wimbledon community at some point of their lives so to move an entire club out of your town is basically just another club miles away taking all your players and you left with not even an active club to put any new players in.
Since then however, they have started from scratch in the NINTH tier of football and through no less than six promotions in just 13 years, gained their way into the football league and now sit in league 1. Incredible. Their long suffering fans though have had to sofa hop as it were, having called Kingsmeadow and now here as their home before their new stadium is bing built, just 250 yards from their home until 1991, Plough Lane, before they groundshared with Crystal Palace. Thats 3 grounds today ive visited with Wimbledon stamp on it, I feel for you. If only Air BnB created Air Stadium you’d be sorted.
But the dons are back from where they started. As football fan, fair play, I for one can say they are definitely a set of fans who deserve it. Good luck Wimbledon 👍
Its ok Wimbledon fans, although I can’t even fathom what you went through, I had Sam Hamamm as an owner too…
QPR meanwhile have ploughed money into the club and not seen the premier league since 2013 where a 0-0 draw with Reading saw them drop into the hardest league to get out of. Not helped by having 21 managers in the space of 10 years. If the owners are watching ill have a go. I’d be happy with the pay off. In fact I’m surprised i haven’t had the call, every bugger else has it would seem.
The stadium, formerly known as Loftus Road has poignant story behind its new name. Described as a prodigious footballing talent, at the age of 16, Kiyan, from Edgeware was fatally stabbed back in 2006, whilst intervening to stop another boy getting bullied.
Let’s take a step back here. Im out here raising money for mental health awareness. Bullying is a cause and sometimes effect of mental health problems all over the world. Its vile, its sad and in this case, heartbreaking.
The Kiyan Prince Foundation was set up by his father, ex international IBF and WBO boxing champion, Mark Prince, who is committed to using Kiyans legacy to combat knife crime and other forms of youth violence.
That young lad did not die in vain. Well done QPR, well done Mark Prince and here’s to Kiyan for standing up to bullying. That is the mark of a legend. As of now i am going to be adding the foundations website to mine. it carries another extremely important message. Take the time to check it out.
Kiyan, your legacy mate, is being an actual, real life hero.
After such a hard hitting story it was nice to cycle towards Fulham, it was beautiful and peaceful. Apart from some girl shouting at her boyfriend for ‘fancying that slag from Wetherspoons’.
Nice huh. Mind you, when you reach Fulham from such idyllic settings, the first impression is of a maximum security bloody prison.
But then as you turn onto Stevenage road it turning one of these beautiful piecs of architecture.
They have a statue of club and England legend Jonny Haynes.
Nicknamed the maestro, he played at Craven Cottage for 20 years and captained England 22 times, being selected for 3 World Cup finals squads and after they chucked out the minimum wage of £20 a week in 1961, he nailed himself £100 instead. Proper business from a proper footballer.
The one thing i can never understand though is the fair the hierarchy have in fan behaviour, with the only ground i can think of that allows both hame and away fans to sit together in the ‘Putney End’ of the ground.
See to me this is bizarre. Do they commiserate each other when their teams concede? Do they hug if they draw? To they hold each others bits when they go to the toil…OK you get me, but this i can’t imagine at Millwall if i went there as a Cardiff fan. The ball wouldn’t be the only thing getting a kicking. This is bloody posh. But i could tell it was a posh area because the Tesco up the road has a canopy.
See, football stadiums are my idea of beautiful architecture. If I tell my future wife Cheryl Cole we are going to a palace, I mean the Crystal One. If i tell her we are going to a cottage this weekend, ill show her the Jonny Haynes statue. If I tell her I’m taking her to Barcelona, we are going on a 4 hour tour of the Nou Camp. Should probably avoid Chelsea though, bad memories for her…
Which is where I got my backside off to next.
Which I will explore in the morning. Because Chelsea have been brilliant in their hospitality and sorted me out nicely with a free beer so I’m going to enjoy my time at Abramovich’s leasure.
1 beer Roman. Thats cause you’ve bought Frank a load of players this summer ain’t it.
Thank you to everyone who’s playing their part. These donations and awareness of mental health issues youre sharing are incredible. I can’t thank you enough for the passion you are showing in this.
For Kiyan ⭐