A sunny afternoon at Craven Cottage.

📆4-8-2018

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⚽ Fulham – Celta de Vigo 2-2

🏟️ Craven Cottage, London, England

I am starting the new 2018-2019 football season in the football capital of Europe. Just like last year, I cross the Channel to London 1 week before the start of the Premier League. In that weekend, most clubs hold their final rehearsal for the new season against foreign top clubs. Crystal Palace is competing against Sampdoria, Chelsea is practicing against Lyon, but that afternoon I am going to Craven Cottage where the newly promoted Fulham meet the Spanish Celta de Vigo .

But since I arrive by train in London quite early in the morning, I decide to first visit Stamford bridge, the Chelsea stadium. This is only 2.5 kilometers from Craven Cottage so a Chelsea stadium tour can be perfectly combined with a Fulham game.

Stamford bridge is actually located in the Fulham borough at Fulham Road. The Mears brothers, who bought the former athletics stadium in 1904 to turn it into a football stadium, offered the new Stamford Brigde to the owners of Fulham. However, they did not want to leave Craven Cottage so the brothers decided to start up their own football club, Chelsea FC.

These are uncertain times for the Blues a week before the start of the Premier League. Star players Courtois and Hazard want to cash in on their successful World Cup and threaten to leave the club for Real Madrid. In addition to the field there is also a lot of uncertainty about the owner Abramovitch. It is a rumor that the wealthy owner may want to get rid of Chelsea. During the stadium tour, the guide only wants to let you know that the planned new stadium is not due to a so-called bad economical timing.

After the stadium tour I walk towards the River Thames to Craven Cottage. From Bishop’s park, this park leans against the Thames, I can see Craven Cottage. This is the most authentic and beautiful stadium in the British capital. The old main grandstand, named after Johnny Haynes, the first professional football player to earn more than £ 100 a week, has been virtually untouched since it was built in 1896. To the left of the Johnny Haynes Stand is the famous Cottage or chalet to which the stadium is named. The wooden chairs and stairs makes you feel like you are in a different era.

Fulham takes on Spanish Celta de Vigo. The heat wave is still going on in London (the hottest summer of the last 35 years) and therefore both teams start the game at a very low pace. Mitrovic continues its good period of last season and already scores the opening goal after 3 minutes. After that, it is noticeable that Fulham’s defense is playing with uncertainty and not long after that, they get the expected goal from the German striker Eckert. But in the 17th minute, Fulham reacts already with Camara’s 2-1.

Just before half-time Celta made it 2-2 through a header from Cabral. This will remain the final score.

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