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Craven Cottage
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Premier League

Sunday, March 4th 2012, 2pm
By Thomas Sperrink
(Wolves fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to the game?

I had heard great things from fans of other clubs about Craven Cottage and as I often struggle to get to games in London it was an opportunity to visit a ground I had not been to before.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We got the train into Euston and despite the Victoria line being closed it was easy to get to via the Northern and District lines (change at Embankment).  When we arrived we made the mistake of not walking through the park which is far quicker than walking down the main road.  It seems all the roads around the ground are closed off on match day and I saw little places to park so tube seems to be the best way in.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We had a look at the pubs around the tube station but although the Eight Bells let away fans in it was packed and the other pubs around all required fans to be ďFulham card holdersĒ and as we were wearing colours we couldnít even blag it. We decided to walk beyond the ground to The Crabtree, as I had seen the recommendation on this fine site, and again found that our return journey walking along the river is quicker than along the streets. The beer was excellent (Doombar) and the queue at the bar was short as there were adequate staff and they were very helpful and efficient. It was pouring with rain so the beer garden wasnít fully used as people huddled under covered terrace but I imagine it is lovely when a bit warmer and drier with views of the river.  There were a good mix of home and away fans and although we just chatted between ourselves the atmosphere was friendly.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

We arrived 15 minutes before kick-off and it was quick and easy to get into the ground.
We took our seats and despite the roof extending well in front of the stand and us being back in Row U, we still got soaked as the wind whistled around the stadium. In fairness the home fans didnít fare any better as the roofs didnít even reach the edges of their stands.  Otherwise the view was good, the seating spacious although I found the atmosphere a little odd with so many neutral fans scattered within the away following.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game itself was a shocker for Wolves, we were totally outplayed and deservedly battered 5-0 with Dempsey and Pogrebnyak tearing us to pieces. The atmosphere was pretty poor, despite the hefty win Fulham were virtually silent and only self-deprecating songs from Wolves fans punctuated the silence. The stewards attempted to get people to sit down but as with all grounds (Anfield and St Jamesí Park to name a few) they didnít seem to understand that the people at the front need to sit down before fans at the back can.

Having had a couple before the game and broken the seal too early I had to use the toilets a couple of times and they were pretty good, clean and no queues.  The food and drink on the other hand was a bit of a farce, the two main bars were packed at the start of the game so we went to the vendors at the far end which are quieter.  I had a beef pie and my dad a chicken pie, they were both absolutely vile and as we didnít fancy lager couldnít get anything else without going to the main bar. We braved the main bars at half time but gave up on the ridiculous queues then when I nipped back during the second half they closed one meaning the only bar open had the same huge queues.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was fine as we followed home fans back through the park and jumped on the tube.  We arrived at Euston earlier than expected so nipped to the Bree Louise pub (on Euston Street, head out of Euston past the Subway and itís on the side street opposite) for a bite to eat.  I had fish and chips my dad had haggis pie and both the food and drink was excellent (CAMRA pub).

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The weather and the result put a dampener on things but even had both been better I feel Craven Cottage is over hyped.  Maybe for Champions League chasing clubs this may seem quaint and different but personally having been to smaller grounds on a regular basis in the lower divisions it just seemed pokey and poorly laid out. I also found the mix of neutrals and tourists created a muted atmosphere, Iím sure there were Fulham die-hards but I didnít come across any.

In an effort to finish on a positive note the two pubs we went in were fantastic and the tube links were great also the plans for the expansion of the Riverside Stand look really impressive.

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