Welcome to Craven Cottage for not only an important match under the floodlights against Derby County, but also for a latest look at the almost complete disappearance of the Riverside Stand.
As you can see now, the only structures remaining of note are the temporary gantry for television and broadcasting, and the dugouts at pitchside. You’ll probably feel somewhat of a chill from the Thames that was once blocked by the old Riverside Stand and one thing is for certain – everyone at Fulham Football Club appreciates your patience and support during this period of transition, occasional hardship and anticipation of what awaits all of us in the summer of 2021.
And, what you can expect in 2021 is what Fulham supporters, the neighbourhood and all of London have waited for and unquestionably deserve – nothing less than a signature destination befitting our world-class city. For this edition of my programme notes, I want to share my thoughts on the Riverside Stand project and particularly focus on the concept of destination, which was my vision from the moment I was privileged to become your chairman in July 2013.
With that, I am very proud to announce London’s next great destination – Fulham Pier.
An explanation is in order. Yes, there will be a new Riverside Stand, of course, one that will deliver additional capacity to our beloved home ground. Financial sustainability is critical in football, and especially so for a small but mighty club like ours. The new Riverside Stand will represent a major stride forward in ensuring that Fulham will operate successfully and properly, right here at Craven Cottage where it has since 1896 and for generations to come.
The magnificent new Riverside Stand will sit within Fulham Pier, which will be a year-round destination for everyone – football fans, Londoners and visitors to our neighbourhood from near and far. Never has this stretch of the Thames been brought to life, and its full potential realised, until Fulham Pier.
In April of 2014, I shared news in a letter to Season Ticket Holders that the Board of the Port of London Authority granted your Club a river works license that permitted us to move forward on the project I am describing today. That was an important accomplishment, but just one of many required to see this journey through. And, along the way, we have been unapologetically patient to ensure that the design and purpose of a new Riverside Stand met the very highest standards as we know them today but would also stand the test of time – just as Craven Cottage itself. The by-product of this deliberate process is Fulham Pier and, with the new Riverside Stand as its centrepiece, I am overjoyed at what the future holds for all of us.
I am confident that Fulham Pier will be everything that everyone had asked or hoped for, and much more. And it may be difficult to see it now, but the future is becoming reality with each day that passes. The piling in the river bed has now commenced in order to create a wooden boardwalk. This will be open to all on non-matchdays, providing a picturesque and uninterrupted stroll along the river for the first time ever. It will be here that you, your friends and family will find places to eat, drink, meet, exercise, learn new activities, take in special events or simply enjoy the waterfront. I envision a vibe that will blend nostalgia with contemporary, always alive, and always respectful of the Club, neighbourhood and city.
To fully appreciate what is in store, I encourage you to visit www.fulhampier.com where you will find a video and numerous renderings that will touch on everything Fulham Pier will embody and offer well beyond Fulham match days. In fact, the very essence of Fulham Pier is to be a unique destination every day of the year – mornings, afternoons and evenings – that will further enhance and complement what has long been a spectacular London neighbourhood where Craven Cottage has been shaped in part over the years every bit by the historic and beautiful parkland to the south, just as it has by the River Thames to the west.
A reinvented and reimagined destination, and a new way of life, will be here soon at the home of Fulham Football Club. You can be certain that we will have frequent updates throughout 2020 and into 2021, and at all times we welcome your questions or comments related to the project or your Club.
Now, back to football! Congrats to Aboubakar Kamara for his role on Friday night in a massive win for us against Queens Park Rangers, and to all of his teammates who were every bit as important in showing the resiliency and commitment to our game that will be essential in our promotion mission. We now have the opportunity tonight to win three straight games for only the second time this campaign, and this wouldn’t have been possible without our strong response midway through the first half that carried us through the balance of the match. Well done, everyone!
To all visiting fans from Derby, welcome back to Craven Cottage and thank you for making Fulham a road destination in support of the Rams. And to everyone who supports Fulham, thank you as always for your loyalty here at Craven Cottage and on the road as well. We are continually impressed and always grateful!
Thanks for reading. Come on, Fulham!