Delegates will be treated to a very special behind-the-scenes tour of English Premier League side, Fulham FC’s 22,000-seat home, Craven Cottage, before a networking reception in McBrides sports bar. The tour will take in football’s one and only Gin & Tonic Bar and provide insights on the exciting Riverside Stand redevelopment, which will get underway in 2019, expanding the stadium’s capacity to just short of 30,000 and seeing the addition of new restaurants, cafés, bars, corporate hospitality and event space.
Craven Cottage has been the home of Fulham Football Club since 1896. The stadium is located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, bounded by the River Thames to the west and Stevenage and Bishops Parks to the north and south respectively. The Club played at various grounds in west London before finally settling on Craven Cottage.
In the early days the ground had only one stand (known as the Rabbit Hutch) which held around 1,000 spectators. In 1905 the Club engaged the services of Scottish engineer Archibald Leitch and he created terracing and the now famous main stand and corner pavilion, both of which are Grade II listed by English Heritage.
There was limited change at the ground in the decades that followed, although a record crowd of 49,335 was created in 1938.
The Club undertook various improvements in the 1960s and 1970s, including errecting floodlights and building the Riverside Stand.
Temporary Ground Share
At the end of the 2001/02 season the Whites played what they thought would be their last league game at the Cottage, as it was recognised. Preparing to play the following season at Loftus Road, the team were expecting to return to a brand new stadium a year later. However, opposition to the proposal obstructed the process and spiraling construction and legal costs resulted in the Club eventually abandoning the new stadium project.
Returning to the Cottage
Instead, in December 2003, plans were unveiled for £8million worth of major refurbishment work at the existing Craven Cottage to bring it in line with Premier League requirements. With planning permission granted, work began in earnest in January 2004 in order to meet the deadline of the new season. The team played its first game in the new-look 22,000 all-seater stadium in a pre-season friendly against Watford on July 10, 2004.
Incremental works has enabled the capacity to increase to its current level of 25,700.
The Club now regularly sells out its matches and has gained approval to redevelop the Riverside Stand. The new design will bring the capacity of Craven Cottage up to 30,000 and bring landmark improvements for both the Club and the local community. A major benefit of the project is the creation of a public riverside walkway, nearly 200m long, which will form an important part of the Thames Path.
Enhanced stadium facilities, floodlighting and an iconic design will ensure that Craven Cottage continues to provide a top class venue for many years to come.
Thames Clipper Boat Excursion to Venue co-sponsored by: LiveStyled and Wavework