After many years, I finally enjoyed the opportunity to attend a Chelsea FC football (OK, Americans, that's "soccer") match (game) at Stamford Bridge, after a quick business trip to (and conference in) London last week (which included a stay at Doubletree Hotel (egads) plus the weekend at my go-to Heathrow (LHR) hotel, the always-a-bargain, and now improved Heathrow Renaissance).
Some quick pics (alas, with the mobile phone pics only - Chelsea doesn't permit fans to bring serious photography equipment into the stadium during games) - alas, the in-game photos aren't worth sharing. Very... very different from, say, a Washington Capitals (ice hockey) or Washington Nationals (baseball) game.... As a special bonus, Chelsea won 3-1 over Crystal Palace.
Overall, it was a great (indeed, premium) experience, and I strongly recommend it.
Easy tube (underground) to the game, and the concessionaires are waiting for you, even before you enter the grounds. But you don't want to stop there, because you'll want to visit the MegaStore (but more on that, below).
Lots of history at the stadium - they've been around since 1905...
Door open 2.5 hours before the game, but ... even 3 hours before the game, folks were starting to mill around.
OK, so here's where it gets really interesting... I purchased a "hospitality package" to ensure that I'd get a seat. (It's REALLY hard to get a ticket, particularly when Chelsea is hosting another London team.) Oh my, what a pleasant experience THAT turned out to be!!! Here's my reserved table in the Hollins Suite - upon arrival (with, of course, the game day program, lower right, waiting for me, along with the betting form, top right ... which I didn't take advantage of). I was later personally greeted by (and had the opportunity to chat with, and receive an autograph from) suite namesake, John Hollins (who played for Chelsea from 1963-1975 and, again in 1983-1984). He was a truly gracious host.
For starters ... I chose the duck.... Not bad for in-stadium dining!
And then, a nice piece of bass as a pre-game meal. Life could be worse.
Ah, Nespresso (my coffee of choice at home) ... with lunch, at half-time (with a lighter fare), after the game.... Granted, unlike most of the folks dining around me, I probably didn't "get my money's worth," to the extent that some of them drank prodigious, literally impressive, amounts of beer and/or wine.... After the game (with a comfortable, assigned seat), it was back to the suite for a nice selection of cheeses and nuts and dried fruits and breads (and, for most, more alcohol)....
The team MegaStore was impressive - on par with the Barcelona Superstore at Camp Nou. Full kits, home (blue), away (canary), and this year's third jersey (which, frankly, doesn't speak to me - I preferred last year's black)....
Sure, the line in the MegaStore after the game looks impressive, but THERE'S ANOTHER LINE UPSTAIRS!!!
And, you gotta love the mascots: Stamford and Bridget... Get it?
Overall, it was a pricey event, but a terrific experience.