London is a city synonymous with sport, and football is without a doubt the most famous sport of all. London and football have a lengthy and intertwined history which stretches back centuries, but today the main links you will find include a number of fantastic football clubs.
Several of the leading clubs in the country are found within city limits, and many of these clubs are named after a particular district in London. In addition, London’s football clubs have well-known rivalries with one another, some of which stretch back all the way to their earliest formation. Some of the clubs in the city have even shared grounds at some point in their history, and London’s football clubs continue to develop new homes for their respective teams.
Alongside the professional clubs which are listed in this blog, there are a number of amateur football associations operating in the city – helping to solidify London’s reputation as a key space for football of all kinds. There are several professional football clubs in London, and in this blog we’ll provide you with a quick introduction to each of the most significant entrants.
Premier League Football Clubs
These London football clubs represent the most illustrious the city has to offer, each a part of the Premier League.
First joining the Football League in 1893, Arsenal were the first southern club to achieve this goal, and also became the first London-based football club to achieve professional status, something they accomplished in 1891.
Arsenal was decreed the ninth richest football club worldwide in 2019, and has undergone some major changes during the early years of the 21st century, moving from their historic home of Highbury (where they had been based since 1913) to Emirates Stadium.
This club was first established in 1904, after noted businessman Gus Mears planned to use Stamford Bridge Athletics Stadium for a new football club. The team was named after nearby Chelsea, and was famously acquired by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich in the early-2000s.
Chelsea FC have since soared to new heights, thanks to both significant investment and an ongoing dedication to excellence. They are currently ranked as the eighth most profitable football team worldwide, and their home ground is also a popular tourist attraction for sports fans staying at Hyde Park accommodation.
A football club which has experienced many significant ups and downs, Crystal Palace was first formed in 1905, and the origin of its name is particularly intriguing. The club was created by people working at the famed exhibition venue Crystal Palace, and they seem to have decided to retain the title for their sporting exploits.
Home games are played at Selhurst Park, located in South London. This has been the primary venue for Crystal Palace since 1924.
A noted rival of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur (often known as Spurs) was created in 1882, and the club was also the first to win a European trophy, an accomplishment they achieved in 1963.
Ever since, Spurs have been one of the most popular clubs in London, noted for great prowess and skill. The club was based at White Hart Lane in Tottenham between 1899 and 2017, before the stadium was demolished to make way for a new venue. During 2017/18, they played at Wembley Stadium, before heading home to the newly reopened Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2019.
West Ham United
West Ham was first developed as a professional football team during the early 1900s, but was actually founded a few years earlier under a different name, the Thames Ironworks. At this time, the team was comprised of workers from a local ship-building company.
Over the last few years, they have veered between the top two football divisions, and moved from Upton Park to the newly refurbished London Stadium in 2016, where they remain now. As with some of the top clubs in the city, this ground can be explored by visitors staying at the Grand Royale Hotel Hyde Park.
Championship League Football Clubs in London
The following clubs have the distinction of being part of the Championship League, a prestigious division in British football.
Founded in 1889, Brentford football club has been based at Griffin Park for over 100 years, first relocating there in 1904. However, the club is soon set to have another big move to Brentford Community Stadium, based near Kew Bridge, as soon as the construction is finished.
The club has often been considered as a long-term rival of their fellow London football clubs, including Fulham and the Queens Park Rangers.
The oldest football club in London, Fulham was first founded in 1879. The club was developed by a group of church attendees in West Kensington, and the team has been based at Craven Cottage ever since 1896.
Today, interested visitors can find the stadium by heading to Hammersmith and Fulham while staying at 4 star hotels in central London. The team were out of the Championship League and into the Premier League during the 2018/19 season, but have now returned.
This football club (known as both Millwall FC and The Lions) are one of the city’s oldest clubs, first founded in 1885. At this time, they were better known as the Millwall Rovers.
The club has been based at Bermondsey’s The Den in South-East London ever since 1993, and their primary rivalry is with West Ham United. However, the teams now play in different leagues, so have not encountered each other for several years.
Queens Park Rangers
The Queens Park Rangers were founded in 1886, and have played at a variety of different football grounds since their formation. They finally settled at Loftus Road in 1963, and the stadium was the first in Britain to install an artificial pitch (in 1981). The grounds subsequently returned to grass in 1988, and the Queens Park Rangers regularly play matches against their local rivals.