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: