Mapped: London’s Moving Football Clubs

Click on map for full version

The decision on whether Spurs or West Ham will move into the Olympic stadium may have been delayed for now, but whichever way the Olympic Park Legacy Committee rules, it remains likely that one of London’s historic clubs will be moving to Stratford in the next few years.

They won’t be the first to up sticks for a bigger and better home. London’s clubs are a nomadic bunch, as illustrated in our map, which shows every location that the capital’s 14 professional sides have called home. During the fledgling days of the Football League, clubs shifted and shunted themselves around more often than a gap-year backpacker. Many stayed in their immediate locale, often forced out by circumstance, while others made more dramatic moves: Arsenal dropped the ‘Woolwich’ from their name when they made the aspirational move from southeast London to Highbury in 1913. In contrast, during the 1980s and early 1990s, Charlton fans were forced to drag themselves to stadia far from their traditional manor.

A few interesting stats we turfed out during the research:

– Most nomadic club: QPR, who have amassed over 20 home grounds in their history (only some of them are represented on the map).

– Most sedentary club: Chelsea, who have remained at Stamford Bridge since they were founded in 1905. Dagenham & Redbridge have also had just one home, although the club was founded in 1992.

– Cross-river clubs: At some time in their history, Arsenal, Millwall, Fulham, and Charlton have based themselves on the other side of the Thames from which they were founded.

– Furthest travelled club: By our reckoning Charlton have travelled over 30 miles around east and south-east London. However, the biggest single journey was made by Arsenal.

– Everybody needs good neighbours: Crystal Palace have twice shared their Selhurst Park ground, with Charlton (1985 – 1991) and Wimbledon (1991 – 2002).

A quick note about the methodology: we’ve included London’s current fourteen professional teams (the thirteen Premier and Football League clubs plus AFC Wimbledon of the Conference) and also Wimbledon, who were moved out of London and renamed MK Dons in 2002. For each club we’ve traced the history, where possible, as far back as the amateur foundations. Though striving for accuracy, some of the locations represented are approximations; let us know if you think we’ve got anything wrong.

Here’s a gallery showing some of London’s old stadia:

See also:

The London buildings that can’t keep still… mapped

A map of London’s football supporters

Which London football teams are top of the Twitter league?

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  • stonemuse

    Charlton have not been on both sides of the Thames … only South.

    • Dean Nicholas

      Charlton spent a year at Upton Park in the 1991 / 1992 season.

  • DebraOrton

    Re Arsenal. They’re my local team and the area I live in so as an artist I decided to paint some of the local sights and sounds that go towards that make up a typical match day here in Highbury. In fact I’m running a competition at the moment to enter a free draw to win one of my limited edition Arsenal prints. More details here: Thanks.

  • Egle



    Ok to re-post this on our site

  • Venyanamore

    Dagenham and Redbridge, as such, may only have had one ground…but they were an amalgam of Dagenham Utd and Redbridge Forest, the latter of which was formed through a series of mergers combining at least four other teams (Leytonstone, Ilford – which themselves merged to become Leytonstone-Ilford, and Walthamstow Avenue)…so there is a bit of history and nomadism linked in there, too… Dagenham though were at Victoria Rd for donkeys’ years before the merger in ’92

    • Dean Nicholas

      Yeah, fair point, and (if I’m honest) I took the easy option here and counted the club only as far back as the 1992 merger (and as you mention, Dagenham FC have been based there for decades).

    • Dean Nicholas

      Yeah, fair point, and (if I’m honest) I took the easy option here and counted the club only as far back as the 1992 merger (and as you mention, Dagenham FC have been based there for decades).

    • Lewis Cooper

      Were all those teams professional however?

      • Venyanamore

        Dagenham and Walthamstow Avenue sometimes, I think; the others, I think not. But to be honest I’m not certain.

  • Guest

    Why does the marker not point to where the Olympic site will be? Then you’ll be able to see the proximity of Leyton Orient, which you can see in ariel view on BBC’s news item

    • Dean Nicholas

      Good suggestion — I’ll add it to the map.

  • Roy Mootoosamy

    what about watford?

    • Dean Nicholas

      Watford aren’t a London club — they’re based in Hertfordshire. For the map we’ve considered only clubs that are based within a London borough.

  • Harjot singh

    good suggestion.