The geography of London football

From the mammoths in the middle to the minnows on the margins

Map of London football clubs' grounds for the 2016-17 season

The fifth edition of Hidden London’s football map shows the ground locations for all the London clubs in the top six tiers of the English game for the 2016–17 season. The weight of the type and the density of the yellow circles indicate hierarchical status, from the Premier League clubs to those in what is now called the National League South (formerly Conference South). The map also shows the location of Wembley Stadium – the home of cup finals and England games.

The map reflects the following changes from the 2015–16 season:

  • West Ham United have left the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park after 112 years. The Irons are now based at the Olympic Stadium (or the London Stadium, as the club is calling it for the time being) in Stratford.
  • West Ham have moved two-​​and-​​a-​​half miles from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium

    West Ham have moved two-​​​​and-​​​​a-​​​​half miles from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium

  • Charlton Athletic have been relegated from the Championship to League One.
  • AFC Wimbledon won the League Two play-​​off final and so gained promotion to League One.
  • Dagenham & Redbridge have been relegated from League Two to the National League.
  • As champions of the National League South, Sutton United have been promoted to the National League, while Welling United have moved in the opposite direction.
  • Promoted as champions of the Ryman Premier, Hampton & Richmond Borough have returned to the National League South after a four-​​year absence.

Hard on the heels of West Ham (move-​​wise), Tottenham Hotspur have begun work on the Northumberland devel­opment project, a radical reima­gining of White Hart Lane centred on a new stadium that will be located so close to the present ground that it actually overlaps. Spurs are playing their European games at Wembley Stadium in 2016–17 because of the construction disruption. The following year they will probably play all their home games at Wembley.

In descending order of likelihood, Brentford, AFC Wimbledon and QPR all hope to move to new stadia within the next few years. Chelsea have given up hope of relocating to Nine Elms and instead plan to completely rebuild their Stamford Bridge stadium – which may entail the Blues playing elsewhere for three seasons, perhaps at Wembley after Spurs have finished with it.

Barnet FC moved from Underhill in Barnet (Barnet) to the Hive in Canons Park (Harrow)

Barnet FC moved from Underhill in Barnet (Barnet) to the Hive in Canons Park (Harrow)

Several clubs no longer play in – or even in the same borough as – the places they’re named after, including Barnet (domiciled in Canons Park since 2013), Wealdstone (Ruislip-​​based since 2008) and Millwall (who crossed the Thames almost as long ago as Caesar).

Some Spurs fans deride Arsenal for their south London origins, branding them the ‘Woolwich Wanderers’. However, one blogger affirms – pedantically but truly – that the Gunners were in north London long before the Lilywhites – because the borough of Tottenham remained part of Middlesex until the creation of Greater London (and the London Borough of Haringey) in 1965.

No amount of historico-​​geographical pedantry can make sense of Chelsea’s recent slogan “London’s first, London’s finest”. The club has always played in the same borough as Fulham FC, who took up residence at Craven Cottage in 1896, nine years before Chelsea’s foundation.

These are the 19 London clubs mapped above (one more than last season), listed alpha­bet­ically within each division:


League/​Division Club Ground
Premier League Arsenal Emirates Stadium
Premier League Chelsea Stamford Bridge
Premier League Crystal Palace Selhurst Park
Premier League Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane
Premier League West Ham United Olympic Stadium
Championship Brentford Griffin Park
Championship Fulham Craven Cottage
Championship Queens Park Rangers Loftus Road
League One Charlton Athletic The Valley
League One Millwall The Den
League One AFC Wimbledon Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingsmeadow
League Two Barnet The Hive
League Two Leyton Orient Matchroom Stadium, Brisbane Road
National League Bromley Hayes Lane
National League Dagenham & Redbridge Victoria Road
National League Sutton United Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane
National League South Hampton & Richmond Borough Beveree Stadium
National League South Wealdstone Freebets​.co​.uk Stadium, Grosvenor Vale
National League South Welling United Park View Road

Dulwich Hamlet deserve an honourable mention as London's 16th best supported club

Dulwich Hamlet deserve an honourable mention as London’s 16th best supported club

The best supported club in England outside the top six tiers is Dulwich Hamlet, whose home game attendances now exceed those of four of the sides listed above (Sutton, Welling, Wealdstone and Hampton & Richmond). “London’s most hipster football club” hopes to build a new 4,000-capacity stadium at Champion Hill, the Hamlet’s home since 1912. The graphic on the right shows the location of Champion Hill in relation to Millwall’s Den and Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park.

Despite resur­facing in London, Hayes & Yeading United do not reappear in the table or on the map above it. Having led a nomadic existence since selling their old ground to house­builders, they have been relegated from the National League South to the Southern League Premier Division. In the 2015–16 season attendances at the club’s home games dwindled to around a sixth of those at Dulwich Hamlet.

Playing in the Premier League in 2016–17, for the second consecutive season, Watford football club is based at the Vicarage Road stadium, which is located two-​​and-​​a-​​half miles (4km) beyond the north-​​west edge of Greater London.

See also: History of London football, Premier League supporters’ pub map – London and Travel time isochron maps to London football stadiums
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