Over the next few years, some of London's most iconic football stadiums will disappear completely — brand new incarnations springing up in their place. Here's a timeline of what's happening when.
August 2016: West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium
What's going on? The Hammers are relocating to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, leaving behind their home of 101 years, the Boleyn Ground.
What's the new stadium going to be like? The 'here's one we made earlier' behemoth is already one of the most famous in the world. As with all of these new stadiums, it's a beefier beast than its predecessor; 54,000 can squeeze in as opposed to the very exact 35,016 of the Boleyn Ground. West Ham will have to play nice and share with athletes from time to time, although judging by the mock-ups, the stadium will be getting a hefty lick of claret and blue (see main image).
What's happening to the old stadium? The Boleyn Ground — better known as Upton Park — is being taken over by Barratt Homes and Galliard Homes. They aim to transform the historic stadium into a residential village, which we imagine will be in the same vein as Highbury.
A fan reacts to the rather pricey Boleyn package: "New plastic fans with no sense of history are taking over. Videoing on their mobiles to show their mates they are at the match. More of a status symbol these days. Modern life is rubbish. Viva le Bovril and Wagon Wheels." Plenty of other fans think the stadium is wonderful.
August 2018: Tottenham Hotspur christen their new ground
What's going on? Spurs had previously registered interest in the Olympic Stadium, but now the plan is to build a brand new ground, partially on the site of the current White Hart Lane (the club is also buying up extra land next to the stadium in order to extend).
What's the new stadium going to be like? Huge. The biggest club ground in London in fact — a stonking 61,000 — which we reckon is, in part, to spite rivals Arsenal whose stadium holds a meagre 60,432. Spurs' new ground is not a mere stadium though; the complex will also feature 579 new homes, a hotel, a community health centre and a Spurs museum. Oh yes, the NFL will play here too — you know, the other kind of football.
What's happening to the old stadium? It's going to be demolished, and replaced with the new one. Assuming everything goes to plan, Spurs will have to play the 2017/18 season away from home, so the builders can get on with their work.
Lord Sugar's unbiased verdict:
New Spurs stadium looks great pic.twitter.com/LdZ0fStheb— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) July 8, 2015
August 2018: AFC Wimbledon move back to Wimbledon
What's going on? AFC Wimbledon may be the smallest club on this timeline but their transition is the biggest upgrade. They're swapping their 4,850 capacity (2,265 seated) Norbiton ground, Kingsmeadow, for a 20,000 new build at Plough Lane, Wimbledon.
What's the new stadium going to be like? A lot grander and a lot glitzier. The stakes are high with such a big investment, and revenue from football tickets will be bolstered by the likes of 602 new homes, a retail space, a squash and fitness club, and car and cycle parking.
What's happening to the old stadium? Kingsmeadow will be sold to Chelsea for the bargain price of £2m; they're going to turn it into a 4,800-seat ground for ladies' and academy matches. As for the characterful greyhound stadium that currently stands at Plough Lane? Unfortunately that'll be going to the dogs.
A greyhound reacts: "This is ruff news."
August 2018: Brentford move down the road
What's going on? As pointed out in the comments below (yes, we do listen to you) plans are afoot for a big Brentford FC stadium move. All going according to plan, the Championship side will move from Griffin Park — over a 100 years old — a mile down the road to Lionel Road South, where they'll play at a new mega-ground from the 2018/19 season.
What's the new stadium going to be like? It's not the most original or striking of London's proposed new stadiums, but like the others, it's a considerable step-up in size (from 12,763 to 20,000 capacity) and will incorporate nearly 650 new homes. The fact said homes come with "hotel-style living... concierge service... cinema, gym, and private landscaped gardens" suggest you'll need to earn a mint to be able to afford one.
What's happening to the old stadium? It'll be turned into 75 family homes plus a memorial garden, celebrating Brentford FC's history. Fingers crossed the four pubs that make up the legendary Griffin Park pub crawl will pull in enough punters to stay open.
The landlady of The Griffin pub reacts to Griffin Park's transformation: "These are homes for families who will invest in the area and become part of the community."
2020: Chelsea get a bigger, designer stadium
What's going on? Chelsea FC are applying to expand Stamford Bridge from a 41,600 stadium to a 60,000 one. The go-ahead is expected imminently.
What's the new stadium going to be like? This is Chelsea after all, so the new Stamford Bridge will be designer as hell. To wit, the club's owner Roman Abramovich has called on the services of Swiss architectural giants Herzog and de Meuron. Early mock-ups of the new Stamford Bridge show it to be a brick-ribbed structure, and according to Arch Daily it's "inspired by gothic architecture and the stadium's nearby Victorian-era brick terraces — around the entire structure". It certainly looks like no other football stadium we know.
What's happening to the old stadium? It's becoming the new one. Which of the current surrounding hotels and restaurants will survive, if any, remains unclear.
How Herzog envisages it: “A castle, or a medieval walled village.” So there we have it.