London is at the heart of British sports. That doesn’t automatically translate to the biggest and best teams in every sport (though it can certainly claim a few top contenders) but there’s an undeniable energy that comes from being in the country’s thriving capital city that translates into sports, and the city certainly houses some of the great clubs. Here we’ll give you a whistlestop tour of some of London’s best sports clubs, from some of the most popular sports like football and rugby through to a couple of less likely candidates like ice hockey.
We might as well start with one of the giants. Arsenal Football Club is a towering giant in English and, indeed, international sports. Based in Islington and founded in October 1886 (though under the name Dial Square) this is a club that’s won 13 League titles, 13 FA Cups (a record), two League Cups, 15 FA Community Shields, one League Centenary Trophy, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. It has a massive 43 honours under its belt in total, the most of any London club. They inspire fans right around the world, fans of a flutter in places like 888 sport betting and people who just like watching great football.
Let’s not give Arsenal all the glory, though. Chelsea might not be able to compete when it comes to sheer number of honours (it’s taken home 26 in total) but its fanbase is just as devoted, if not more so, and surely that has to be one of the measures of a great team. Chelsea comes out top on some other metrics, such as followers online (it has a massive 55 million, compared to Arsenal’s 46.3 million) and shirt sales (it averages 900,000 per season).
Saracens Football Club
Saracens play the other kind of football, where you’re allowed to pick the ball up and encouraged to knock other players down. The Men in Black are one of the great teams of Rugby Union. Since their formation in 1876 they have won the Premiership Rugby title five times and the European Rugby Champions Cup three times (more than any other English team). The Sarries’ red and black kit inspires respect where ever they run onto a pitch wearing it.
Lee Valley Lions
London hasn’t had the greatest of luck with Ice Hockey teams, with a number of clubs such as the Racers and the Knights having folded over the years. The Lee Valley Lionsmight not be performing at the height of British Ice Hockey, often putting in average to poor performances, but for many fans there’s something enjoyable about a down on its luck club, and it’s easier to feel close to a modest team in an underrated sport like the Lions than it is to love a multi-billion pound club at the worldwide pinnacle of its sport like Arsenal or Chelsea.
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
The name All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (or ‘All England Club’) might not be as instantly recognisable as some of the names higher up this list, but its premises certainly is. The Wimbledon Championships, the only tennis grand slam held on grass, is held there every year. The tournament might have far and away eclipsed the club itself, but it’s still a club nonetheless. The club dates back to 1868, when it was founded as a croquet club. Lawn tennis was introduced in 1875 and a single lawn was set aside for the sport. The first tennis championship (with underarm service) was launched two years later to amuse the members. 144 years later the tournament is one of the international highlights of the sporting calendar, and the club has the facilities to match. What other 375-member club can boast such world class facilities?
Marylebone Cricket Club
Another club that has grounds more famous than its organisation, Marylebone Cricket Club is the owner of the historic, world-famous Lords cricket ground. Widely thought of as ‘the home of cricket’, Lords was established in 1814, 27 years after MCC was established. The grounds are historic and it’s more or less impossible not to feel a certain amount of reverence for the sport when you’re there.