For the casual fan, football matches may seem like too much trouble. But from an executive box, it’s a far more beautiful game.
From workplace water coolers to bars, football – now that the new season has kicked off – is a prime topic of conversation in the capital. Pick up a paper, turn on the telly and football, like taxes and death, can’t be avoided.
London has more professional clubs than anywhere in the world. However, it’s notoriously difficult to obtain tickets and, considering that the British climate is hardly the cheeriest in the world, the thought of sitting still in a stadium for 90 minutes in the freezing cold, may not seem an attractive proposition. Especially if you have no particular tribe loyalty to any one club.
But don’t be put off: the punter with only a passing interest in football is exactly who the stadium builders had in mind when they built executive boxes. They afford those with cash to splash, the opportunity to watch the on field action out of the cold in comfort and style.
There’s no standard package for executive boxes but tours of the stadium and pitch, programmes, gifts, box seating inside or out and a three course meal are the least you can expect for your money.
For premiership ties there are a number of options now that the new season is underway. Arsenal is one of the slickest teams around. Their deals offer various deluxe extras such as guided tours round the museum, name checks on the tannoy, a photo call by the side of the pitch and the chance to meet a celebrity guest.
Alternatively, wander west and check out Chelsea. With its exotic range of classy imports, Chelsea is a decidedly glamorous club. But when you’re drinking champagne in the executive box, remember to pull the blinds down – you’re not allowed to consume alcohol within sight of the pitch.
The glamour factor isn’t just reserved for the Blues though. Over at Fulham, Mohammed Al Fayed spares no expense for half time entertainment. The Fulham chairman former Harrods boss keeps the fans at fever pitch, by calling on his contacts and bringing out forthcoming Gossip Girl star Elizabeth Hurley, among others, to amuse the crowd.
If you just want to soak up the old fashioned atmosphere, try an afternoon at a lower division match. The passion is still palpable but executive box access is easier. One option is West Ham, who are hoping to bounce back from last season’s relegation disappointment at the first attempt.
As for prices, a box at a top flight club like Tottenham Hotspurs typically costs around £38,000. Each box can cater for between eight, 10, 12, 16 and 18 guests and comes equipped with its own bar and TV and private dining area, plus onsite parking. If lady luck is on your side, squad players will grace the box with their presence, sign autographs and pose for the obligatory photograph or two.
And at half time, when the ordinary fans are munching hot dogs and shivering on their cold, hard seats, you get to sip on champagne and put your feet up in style.