London is an incredible city in which to live, work and study. The capital’s libraries, museums and galleries are varied and without peer, and if you want to unwind, then the nightlife and entertainment on offer is the envy of the world.
Another important part of London life is football. If you’re coming to London as a student, then you might want to support a London club as a way of integrating into your new community. You might also want to take advantage of the fact that London is home to some of the biggest and greatest football teams in the world, giving you the opportunity to see top-flight football right on your doorstep.
It’s worth remembering, however, that tickets for the big Premiership matches can be expensive and hard to acquire. Often, the substantial commitment of buying a season ticket is the only way to see Arsenal or Chelsea play at home. Smaller teams might be a better bet, and you might just want to support the team that plays the closest to where you live. Nevertheless, a bit of research is always recommended.
The Gunners are the biggest club in London and as a result are the most expensive to support. Their fans are traditionally middle class but also very multicultural, and are generally a good-natured lot. Notable players include Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil and Theo Walcott, while their most popular former player is Thierry Henry, who was well worth the £11m transfer fee that Arsenal paid for him in 1999. As an 888sportsbetting article says, “Henry was to become arguably the greatest player in the history of Arsenal FC.”
The other big club in London, Chelsea plays just across the river in Fulham, at Stamford Bridge. Hugely successful, the Blues’ top players include Eden Hazard, John Terry and Diego Costa. Their fans are a mixed bunch; while Chelsea itself is an expensive, middle-class area, the club’s supporters have a bad reputation for violence and racism dating back at least to the 1980s and regrettably continuing to this day.
If you’re based in West London but don’t fancy Chelsea, this is the club for the area’s gentler residents. Fulham FC are one of the oldest London clubs, formed in 1879, and have played at Craven Cottage since 1896. They currently play in the Championship.
East London is home to the biggest and dirtiest rivalry in London football, between West Ham and Millwall. The latter are now in League One and are still best known for their aggressive fans, but West Ham are up in the Premiership and are the probably the easiest top team to get tickets for. Be prepared for a little rough and tumble, however.
Finally, if you fancy supporting a non-League side, this small South London club attracts up to 3,000 fans to matches, including many students. Plus points are cheap tickets and a friendly atmosphere, and you can get closer to the game than you would in a big stadium. Supporters tend to be bright, left-wing, and with a surreal sense of humour that belies their genuine passion for the game.