Attending UK football & rugby games

UK Dopers & others : Am toying w/ the idea of going to London for the school vacation week in Feb. & was interested in going to a rugby and a football match. I’d be willing to pay around 50-100 bucks for a ticket, I guess. Any general advice? Are tickets hard to get? Will I get the crap beat outta me by hooligans for being a yank or wearing the wrong colors? Does that still go on around matches? (ever since reading Among the Thugs I’ve been a little wary!) Can you just show up at the stadium & find a tout or go to the box office on the day of the game?
Crazy idea or realistic?

Thanks for any insights & advice!

What level do you want to see? Premier League (football) will be more expensive and harder to get tickets for, depending on who’s playing, but if you feel like slumming it you could get the grittier (i.e. colder/wetter) experience at a lower league game no problem.

Thanks, Crusoe! I’d just assumed I’d try for Premier League games simply because that’s all I’m semi-familiar with. I enjoy minor league baseball games here in the US, so maybe that’s a better way to go. I’ll look into it.

Given the prices you are willing to pay , it shouldn’t be a problem. To watch a Football match you probably will need to become a ‘member’ whitch costs extra. As crusoe said, it all depends on the level. Chelsea will be quite a bit more expensive than Queens Park Rangers (who are doing really well in th Championship by the way). The last game I went to was Arsenal-Hull in december 2009, with pretty much the worst seats in the house (our backs were literally against the concrete wall of the top ring, but still had an ok view) we paid around 40 pounds - a friend lives in london and is a member, so we tagged along on his membership. Back then we were also looking at QPR which cost around 20 pounds YMMV.

I’ll limit myself to football as I know very little about rugby.

Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham - all very difficult to get tickets for home games. You’d have to take your chances with a tout outside the ground - might be over your budget. West Ham - well supported, but more chance to get a ticket. I’d recommend Fulham - they rarely sell out and Craven Cottage is a great old-style football ground.

Lower leagues: you’ll get a good crowd and decent standard of football at QPR, Crystal Palace, and Charlton. Millwall - see below. Leyton Orient and Brentford are smaller clubs but still a fun experience. I think that’s all London league clubs covered, sorry if I’ve missed any out.

All clubs will have fixture and ticket advice on their websites. Outside the big three and possibly West Ham, all will be happy to sell you a ticket online, which you can pick up on the day of the game.

You won’t get beaten up. Just don’t mouth off, and don’t wear any other team’s colours (ie. don’t wear an Arsenal strip to go to White Hart Lane, and so on). Football has moved on.

Note - the above paragraph doesn’t apply to Millwall. I advise you not to go to Millwall.

If you want to watch a game of Premiership Rugby just walk up on the day - you should be able to get a ticket.

Word to the wise though, most rugby clubs in “London” are not necessarily in London. London Irish is in Reading. London Wasps play in Wycombe. Saracens play in Watford. Your best bet is probably going to Harlequins - who play in Twickenham, South West London.

The main issue with going to a game of rugby is that most of the best players are with their international teams due to the 6 Nations championship that is happening now. Pro games are still going on but the standard is not as high due to these players not being available. You will have to go through a tout/a specialist agency and pay much more than your price range to get a ticket for international rugby - these games are basically sold out.

So, for rugby, in sum, have a look at Harlequins website and see if there are any games on - you can probably order a ticket online through them - or just rock up on the day.

Second the Harlequins idea. The Stoop (their home ground) is more intimate than nearby Twickenham Stadium where the internationals are played. You lose a bit of atmosphere in exchange for getting much closer to the players. In fact I recommend you get there a half-hour to hour before the match starts to watch the players doing their drills. You can walk right up to the side of the pitch and they are happy to sign autographs, have pictures taken etc. I paid £25 when I went but this may have been a special deal as I got the tickets through my sons’ club.

It looks like they are home on the 19th against Sale.

Thanks for all the informative responses!:slight_smile:
I’ll let you all know how it works out.