10 things you learn the hard way if you live near a football stadium and have no interest in football


If you live next door to a football stadium, you're bound to have noticed your home turf comes with a few quirks.

Good if you're a hardened fan; not so good if you're not. But spare a thought for those who know little or nothing about "the beautiful game", but know all-too-well what comes with it.

Here's a round-up of the good, the bad, and the downright strange.

1. Everyone's in a good mood. At first...

(Steve Paston/EMPICS Sport)
Jubilant crowds pass through the streets near West Ham's east London stadium (Steve Paston/EMPICS Sport)

However cold, however damp, football has a habit of binding people together and creating a cheery buzz in the hours leading up to each game.

Fast-forward a few hours and a new kind of atmosphere is likely to have emerged - and it can be either really, really good, or really, really bad.

Any club losing in their home neighbourhood can be a downer, but a losing streak can make that tension palpable and it doesn't take much for it to spill over into rowdiness or even fights. Thankfully, that's pretty rare these days, but if you live next door and you're wondering why everyone seems a bit tetchy - best just to assume the worst and not ask.

2. Your street becomes a food court

(Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)
Leicester City fans tuck into some grub (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

Burgers, hot dogs, pies - you name it, you can get it at a football stadium.

What you might not realise until you live next door is that the many vans selling it might also be camped outside your house from 7am - every time there's a match.

The 20,000 people or more attending each match will all be in need of some grub, so the stadium ground alone isn't going to cover it. Handy for you if you like nipping outside to grab a burger... otherwise you might want to get out early and stay out until the vans have packed up.

3. You can hear everything and you still have NO idea what's going on

(Jon Buckle/PA)
Norwich City fans sing along - but what's happening on the pitch? (Jon Buckle/PA)

Was that a goal? A foul? Has the game even started yet?

It's anyone's guess when you're listening from afar. Sure, you can hear things happening - it's just not clear from crowd noises alone what those things actually are.

Even if you have no interest in football, you can't help but try and keep track of the score as the match goes along. Invariably, if you look up the result later, your interpretation is completely wrong. Better just to buy yourself a year's supply of earplugs.

4. Accessing public transport is a nightmare

(Lauren Hurley/PA)
Cancel your plans and stay at home: it's queues all the way if you go outside (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Going to a gig? Seeing friends? Visiting sick relatives? Not on game day.

The all-encompassing beast of football will take over every conceivable bus, train, and taxi, and in the end it becomes pretty clear that your only option is to walk three stops further down the line until you might actually be able to board your chosen carriage.

Better yet, stay at home, batten down the hatches, and wait for it all to clear. Be warned though - it can take some time before everyone makes it through the station. There's always the option of joining them for a pint...

5. Games against your local team's rival club are the worst days of the year

(Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)
One of them had the best day ever. Which one was it? (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

Be it Arsenal versus Tottenham, Man City versus Man United, or Liverpool versus Everton, chances are, celebrations are going to be somewhat on the rowdy side after the game.

Of course, if it so happens that it's your side that's won, the feeling of widespread jubilation is really quite special - enough so that it can be catching, regardless of whether or not you followed the match.

Just remember that for every positive result, there's always a negative one where your local club is concerned. You may wish to check the score - because if they've lost, it's wise to stay in for a while so as not to share the bad vibes.

6. Don't expect to sit down in a pub. Ever

(Joe Giddens/PA)
There's always the option of getting there three hours early... (Joe Giddens/PA)

For many, football just wouldn't be football without a few pints in the local boozer.

The liberal "live and let live" in you might say "fair enough" - just don't expect to cosy up to your partner in a quiet booth in the corner. If your local pub is anything less than two miles from the stadium, you can probably expect it to be overrun with fans from 11am, and every nook and cranny will be stuffed full of punters.

You know what they say: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

7. You can replace the lyrics to any pop song with football chants

(Nigel French/EMPICS Sport)
How does that song go again? Actually - we don't need reminding (Nigel French/EMPICS Sport)

Living near a stadium means taking in the highs, the lows - and the tunes. There are many of them, so be warned: they're catchy.

You name it - if it's got a half-decent melody, fans will make a club chant out of it. In fact, they can make it their own even if they don't put any words to it.

Just remember: you're going to be singing along with them. And without them. For days.

8. International breaks are a relief

(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Where did everybody go? (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

When you live near a stadium, it's easy to start measuring your week by how close each day is to the next game.

If you don't follow football, or even loathe it, the high summer months when the season ends are likely to be much more up your street. The same is true of international fixtures, when players are needed for their home nation teams.

But without the buzz in the air, or roar of the crowd you can easily start to crave just a little of what you never thought you would: the shared camaraderie of a good-old game of football.

9. The pavements in your area are a bomb site on game days

(Kerry Stone/PA)
(Kerry Stone/PA)

Thankfully, local councils have become pretty wise to the fact that large crowds cause large amounts of refuse, and they're generally pretty efficient at clearing it up within a few hours of a match.

That doesn't tend to change the fact that from around noon until 10pm, the streets are likely to resemble a bit of a tip - and every bin for three miles is crammed to the brim with beer cups and half-eaten chips.

If you don't go in for the shared excitement of the game itself, this may be enough to drive you round the bend, so think calming thoughts and remember it'll be gone by morning.

10. Every surrounding business reflects the local team in some way

(Steve Mitchell/EMPICS Sport)
(Steve Mitchell/EMPICS Sport)

The Gunners pub in Finsbury Park? Canaries Pizza and Kebab in Norwich?

It's not a coincidence. Football teams often have a long and prominent history within their local area, so whether it's a chicken shop, a cafe, or a crusty-old pub, you can bet that quite a few of your local tradesmen will have opted for a footie-themed name.

Before you decide it's a bit of a cop out - ask them how long they've been there for. It's likely to be much longer than you.

Living near a stadium whilst not knowing the first thing about football isn't always a bad thing: there's a cheerful buzz to the area and lots of places to socialise, which is part of what draws people to the places that hold stadiums in the first place.

And if it's really not for you, perhaps it's time to find somewhere a little less football-orientated after all... back to flat hunting it is!