The Story

The story of our quest is as follows.

Day 2 - London (and area)

Sunday 14th August 2005

It took just over 45 minutes to get to White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur, from our starting point in Watford. We were hoping to be back in Watford, having visited 14 stadiums, just about in time for tea. How wrong we were.

Just under 25 minutes later we were at the Emirates Stadium, the future home of Arsenal

Obviously that's not ready yet! Just down the road is Highbury, where there were a few early-bird Arsenal fans milling around before their game with Newcastle. Needless to say, as the only person wearing a Newcastle shirt within 5 miles, Vicki got some funny looks! I hope some more Toon fans turned up for the game later on.

Quickly on to Leyton Orient, at Brisbane Road, arriving at about 10.15am. Andrew was a bit sore as Darlington lost to Leyton Orient the day before!

Half an hour later we were at West Ham United's Upton Park, which was by far the most impressive stadium so far.

We lost quite a bit of time wandering around impressed by the stadium, taking a few more pictures for good measure.

Therefore it was no surprise that it was 11.40am by the time we reached the Valley, home of Charlton Atheltic. We tried to be as quick as possible here, but the local road system made that a bit tricky.

We also decided to go inside and get a picture of the Women's FA Cup.

We decided that since everything was going so well, that we'd stop for a proper lunch rather than something on-the-go. After much smugness and discussion about what a good day we having, and that in no way could such a discussion be tempting fate, we moved on to Gillingham. Slowly.

Yes, the bloody car broke down on the way there. Or, more accurately, it started misfiring and we gently nursed it to the Priestfield Stadium.

We phoned the RAC and then waited patiently in the bar at Gillingham, watching the latest round of Premiership boredom.

The Ford Fiesta. Rock Solid.

The engineer from the RAC was really good, and spent a fair bit of time working at the engine, but to no avail. We decided that since the car was driveable, we'd carry on. Unfortunately this did mean that it accelerated about as fast as Emile Heskey, but it was better than nothing. Note to Sven Goran Eriksson - did you ever consider a small hatchback on the left wing?

So, 4 hours after arriving at Gillingham, we arrived at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace's stadium.

We were starting to get seriously fed up by now, and it was only going to get worse. Millwall next!

After a quick stop at the New Den at 7.30pm and a slightly scary encounter with a car full of skinheads outside the stadium, it was on to Chelsea. However on the way we were forced to wait to overtake a bus parked on the side of the road. Just as we were about to go past, a police car comes past and blocks the way. Two more police cars arrive, then a police van, then another police car for good measure. All the occupants of the police vehicles pile out and surround the bus, behind which we are still waiting. Obviously we were more than a little nervous about this, given the recent events, before telling ourselves that terrorists are not likely to do anything at 7.45 on a Sunday night. The result of all this was a couple of teenagers being hauled off the bus and then the police let us through. Nothing quite like going over the top, but the quick response was amazing.

Arriving at Stamford Bridge at about 8.10pm, a very helpful security guard allowed us to park outside the Chelsea Village hotel while we took our photos.

It was getting quite late, and we still had 4 grounds to get in before the day was over, so it was straight on to Craven Cottage, home of Fulham. As you can see, it was getting dark, so the photos from here on are a bit dicey!

Next was Loftus Road, to visit Queens Park Rangers. Not an easy place to find from our experience! Also badly lit as well! Those two shifty characters are Vicki and Andrew.

The next ground was one we'd been looking forward to, as it has a pub on each corner. Griffin Park of Brentford United was a welcome stop, as we'd been rushing around since leaving Gillingham. We also discovered the home of the West London Celtic Supporters Club, in the New Inn (which is obviously a pub on one of the corners). However the stadium itself was badly lit again!

Only 1 left to do today, and only 4 or 5 hours behind schedule. How did it go so wrong after Charlton? Oh yeah, the bloody car.

Arriving at the Underhill Stadium, Barnet, at 11.15pm was not we had envisaged doing. On the plus side, it was only half an hour away from Watford, where we were staying again.

Mileage for the day: 235