Greenpole Fulham F.C.

When my Dad first started taking me to Fulham regularly we’d stand more or less in the same place every week. Back then the Hammersmith End was terracing and there was plenty of space to pick where you wanted to be. Having watched my first ever game from the very middle of the terrace the old man clearly decided things were a little too “vocal” for my seven year old ears and we flirted with the posh seats in the Riverside for a couple of games. I didn’t like it there though. I wanted to be in the end where all the singing happened. I wanted to stand and shout and feel more a part of what was happening.

We returned to the Hammy End but moved to the side of the terrace nearest the river. There was a large black fence that separated that third of the terrace from the rest of the end. It must have been something to do with segregation but it only ever housed home fans during the time I attended. We’d walk past the bulk of the home fans who clustered behind the goal around the large green girder that held the roof up, and moved on towards slightly quieter climes. The spot my Dad had chosen was roughly where he had stood with my Grandad in the 30s and 40s. It’s also not far from where our season tickets are now and where I’ve already taken my eldest son. That continuity is part of what makes following Fulham, and Craven Cottage in particular, very special to me. I feel a connection with the past at the Cottage that I don’t think exists anywhere else in the world.

All this was a precursor to me explaining that I didn’t really have a lot to say. The video below is a song called “Sold My Soul” by Emergency Bitter. They’re a punk band formed by a bunch of Fulham supporters who recently released an E.P. of songs inspired by and about football. “Sold My Soul” name checks the greenpole, the same girder that held the roof up when I first came to the Cottage. The same girder that still holds the roof up. It’s had a coat of paint but, rather pleasingly, the club kept it green.

History. It’s small things like this that keep me happy.

Emergency Bitter play the Fighting Cocks in Kingston this coming Wednesday. If all goes to plan I’ll be there. Might see you down the front? There’s a bit of swearing at the start of the video, for those who might be offended by such things you might want to skip on 30 seconds, otherwise it’s straight down the middle punk rock.

5 thoughts on “Greenpole Fulham F.C.

  1. “History. It’s small things like this that keep me happy”. Here, here.

    You took me back to the late sixties when my dad used to take me. We stood on the riverside terracing midway between the half-way line and the Hammersmith end, where he had stood decades earlier. Living in the West Country our visits were few and far between, but all the more special because of that.

    I became quite misty eyed upon finding those old Match of the Day clips, especially the ITV Fulham v Bristol Rovers game from 1969 which opened with a panoramic view of the ground.

    The modern concrete bowl stadia lack one important facet: a sense of place. Being able to see landscape and other features surrounding a ground enhances the observers experience. The old rugby venues in the Scottish Borders plus Murrayfield before it was rebuilt had this quality as does my regular haunt, the Recreation Ground at Bath.

    A few months ago Radio 5 live got on to this topic. I was delighted when Craven Cottage and the Bath Rec were the first two grounds mentioned.

    1. Lovely stuff. I never saw the Riverside terrace in all it’s glory. Looking at pictures from those days, with the flags of many nations fluttering in the breeze, make me think the ground was probably even better back then.

  2. I’m bringing Stanley to his first game on Thursday. He won’t remember it but hopefully the start of a new chapter/irreversible indoctrination programme.

    1. Good on you. Even though he doesn’t remember it when he’s older he’ll be able to say he’s been following Fulham since the year he was born.

  3. I have mixed feelings about the Riverside Stand. From today’s perspecctive it’s an obvious necessity, but it has detracted from the look of the ground. Also, I associate it with the start of Fulham’s dark ages. The financial consequenses caused a group of honourable genuine Fulham football men to be replaced on the Board of Directors by a pretty dubious lot. That dampened my interest in Fulham and football generally for quite a while.

    As for Stanley, good on him. I still have some clear memories of my first visit as a nine year old on boxing day 1962. It was the year of Haynes’s injury (huge disappointment), so Bobby Robson was wearing the number 10 shirt. Macedo, Cohen, Langley, Mullery and Leggat were the other players who had made an impression. It was also bitterley cold – this was the beginning of the big freeze, and Fulham’s last game for six weeks.

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