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Report - The London Stadium Job, 2015

Discussion in 'Noteworthy Reports' started by Adders, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. Adders

    Adders living in a cold world
    Regular User

    Feb 19, 2009
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    I'm not even really sure how this project came about. We've been poking around and skulking about London a few nights a week since the beginning of this year, chasing tunnels, cranes, rooftops, track, all in no particular order. We'll hit a bit of research, or something will come up in conversation with someone that stems an idea and a night out hitting something.

    But it seems recently we've been categorising locations a lot more though, and hitting them in batches. It sure helps with the planning, and means your focus is trained on a host of similar objectives. It started off with London's gas holder stations that fell one-by-one until we got distracted by this project.

    On paper it's simple, infiltrate every London stadium with a capacity upwards of 10,000... yeah?

    Theoretically this shouldn't be possible, obviously. Football stadiums are notoriously plagued with trouble throughout the season, and people generally don't want you wandering aimlessly through their multi-million pound pride and joy. Nevertheless, the project took off and here I am a matter of months later, trying to justify what we did.


    We started gathering together our information, having some semi-heated discussions about what should and shouldn't be on the list, eventually stepping back to look at what we'd set ourselves. 22 stadiums within the London area, covering football, cricket, tennis, rugby and athletics.

    We started off with no real expectation that we'd be able to hit the entirety of the list. Expecting sooner or later to come a cropper with security and probably face some kind of over zealous banning order from the FA, or ASBO or something stupid. But as we started ticking them off we realised just how accomplishable this really was, and we were addicted. At the peak of the project we managed 5 in 6 days, and I still don't understand how.

    (big photo by Gabe)

    Each stadium visit has a story of it's own, but I'd be here for a week going into it, so we'll save that for discussing over a beer sometime. I'll add a few details but needless to say these were some memorable nights out facing some questionable obstacles and challenges. Most of this turned out to be utterly stupid, and I can't really comprehend how we managed to hit these without as much as a slap on the wrist.

    They were mostly visited with @Monkey and @Gabe, but @Suboffender, @sentinel and @OliverT came along on a couple of them. Big thanks goes out to all, it's been a fucking ball.

    (inc. photos by Gabe & Monkey)

    Section One - 10,000 - 20,000 capacity

    Allianz Park (2013) - Saracens RFC - 10.000

    Wimbledon AELTC (1922) - No 1 Court - 11,432

    This may be right down the bottom of the list, but it was certainly one of the most tense nights of them all, perhaps one of my favourites too. Not too long after a fairly large tournament took place we found ourselves climbing, squeezing and Fred Perrying across the tarmac onsite of two of the most famous stadiums in the country.

    Twickenham Stoop (1997) - Harlequins RFC - 12,500.


    Griffin Park (1904) - Brentford FC - 12,763

    Brentford is somewhere I never thought I'd find myself wanting to travel to. I was surprised that they had a stadium large enough to make it on the list to be honest. We ended up getting into this one after we'd done a lot of the larger ones, which meant we Ian Rushed in completely underwhelmed, popped off a few photos, drank some cider in one of the stands and then headed back to the station about an hour later.


    Matchroom Stadium (1937) - Leyton Orient FC - 13,842
    Badly timed passers-by meant that it took us hours to finally get into here, and it also resulted in the loudest exit of them all. It's got a weird design where instead of corner stands there's blocks of flats, presumably done to pay for the upkeep of the stadium.


    Wimbledon AELTC (1922) - Centre Court - 15,000
    We've all seen it on TV, had friends who've queued for hours to get in, seen the Kirsten Dunst film and heard about the resident hawk that works there scaring off pigeons. Never in my UE life had I ever imagined sitting at the top of the upper tier of Centre Court, cracking a can and sitting in absolute silence next to the royal box. It was a ridiculous night where we Andy Murray'd over a fence and Tim Henman'd under a gate to have our own game of racquet ball.


    Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (2004) - Mixed Athletics - 15,500


    Loftus Road (1904) - Queen's Park Rangers FC - 19,148


    Personally I'm not really in to any sport at all, but used to collect football stickers as a kid which ended up being a mini childhood obsession. It was a simple time of my life, nothing but penny sweets, football stickers, linky and playground swapsies. Like every kid at school I was a Man Utd fan, and got taken on the Old Trafford tour for my birthday once. I can remember the sheer overpowering size of the place, the awe-some atmosphere and most of all not being allowed on the pitch.

    This time around though, was more like a military operation, although more Dad's Army than Bravo Two Zero. (Gabe is Private Pike) Browsing schematics, construction photos, maps... shit, I even had to make up a word for how I was spending my time.

    Bingamist - noun - the crime of spending far too much time on Bing maps whilst meant to be doing other shit at work.
    Section Two - 20,000 - 30,000 capacity

    The New Den (1922) - Millwall FC - 20,146


    Vicarage Road (1992) - Watford FC - 22,011
    Technically not really London, but it's within the M25, hosts a Premiership team and has over 10,000 seats so we thought it'd be rude not to. We Steve Bruced freely through an open gate and bizarrely spent more time photographing their mosaic shower room than we did the stands.


    Kia Oval (2002) - Surrey Lions CC - 23,000
    I can't help but crack a huge grin when I think about Oval. We ended up being far drunker than we maybe should have been, but after deliberating for a while about the best access approach we decided to Ian Botham over a gate and run around the pitch. Cricket is normally dull, but this night was fantastic.


    Craven Cottage (1896) - Fulham FC - 25,678
    The area surrounding the Fulham stadium is ridiculously quiet at night. So 3 guys walking around in UE attire and backpacks soon caught the attention of a passing unmarked police car. They bought our story of looking for a pub and zoomed off, leaving us to Bobby Robson the wall and mooch inside.


    Selhurst Park (1994) - Crystal Palace FC - 26,225
    Our visit down to Crystal Palace was a cracking one, with our street-view research properly reigning supreme. All was going well as we John Barnes'd passed the infra red cameras that litter the ground, only to find that the pitch had been replaced with a shit ton of sand. Which was different.


    The Valley (1919) - Charlton Athletic FC - 27,111
    The second stadium we visited, and where the project was born. After getting strung up by a heap of barbed wire we finally got it Ian Wright and were clambering around the stand drinking cans in the upper tier.


    Lord's Cricket Ground (1814) - Middlesex Crusaders - 28,000
    Our previous attempt at this place ended up with us blazingly trying to Brian Lara over the main gate in front of a bemused security guard, who soon made himself known from behind the darkened door to the side of us. His "What is this?!" question falling on deaf ears as we scampered back off down the road to have a rethink.


    We didn't approach them in any logical order, we had to plan out when each stadium was being used, and watch the schedule to make sure we didn't run into any hiccups. Although this didn't exactly go to plan and we ended up visiting some of them far too close to not just matches but royal visits than was really comfortable.

    We were hitting strokes of luck, with the majority of stadiums going exactly as planned. Others took some improvising but there were still no real shocks. Well, apart from getting shouted at across Wimbledon Centre Court and having to give it legs to get back out and away. 40-Love mo'fucker.

    Section Three - 30,000+ capacity

    Boleyn Ground (1994) - West Ham United FC - 35,146
    The night I found out that Green Street actually exists, and the first stadium we hit long before we had a list drawn up. It was a weird experience, and definitely opened my eyes towards infiltrating London. We got spotted using our access by some guy down the road who called us in, and after a friendly chat with the local constabulary got a mini-tour on the way out along the pitch and passed the changing rooms.


    White Hart Lane (1998) - Tottenham Hotspur FC - 36,238
    I always thought that the big 3 soccer club stadiums were going to be the worst, and was dreading them. WHL is a massive ugly breezeblock that just sits there in north London. No exposed corners, no clown's pocket to provide any kind of access... Or so we thought. Monkey had found a plausible way that would Teddy Sheringham us onto the roof of the stands. It involved nasty corrugated fibreglass that really wasn't designed for human weight, so we delicately tip-toed around the top of the stadium before Alan Hansening off into the night.


    Stamford Bridge (1997) - Chelsea FC - 41,841
    When Monkey pipes up and says he "thinks he's found a way to climb up" somewhere, I always cry a little inside. Knowing that it probably involves ridiculous traverses and multiple counts of risking my life. This time wasn't actually that bad though, it was just plain ridiculous that it was actually possible in the first place. We visited the club bar to begin with because we fancied spending bank on expensive beer whilst seeing what the deal was outside. It paid off; we were up, in, sorted and back out before you can say David Seaman without giggling.


    Emirates Stadium (2006) - Arsenal FC - 60,000
    The Emirates stadium ended up being the last one we hit, and it was by far the most brazen. We approached it within a few days of a home match, not knowing if Monkey's conceived access would work or not. It's a humongous place, and the architects definitely took a leaf out of the defensive architecture 101 handbook. However they obviously never met Monkey, as that boy made light work of it.

    (Photo by Monkey)

    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (2011) - Mixed use - 80,000
    This place has felt the end of the UE stick for years now, ever since people first started visiting during its initial construction. At the time it was being prepared to host some of the Rugby World Cup, and now that's over it's being transformed once more to become the home of West Ham United.

    Twickenham (1981) - England Rugby - 82,000
    I really don't know what to say about this one. We hadn't even recce'd it in person before turning up one evening with a rough idea of which way we'd be approaching it. After Will Carling underneath a digger for an hour watching security patrols we Jonah Lomu'd our way inside, massively un-nerved that the stadium has hotel rooms that face inwards to the pitch. We did our thing and then bounced, learning the next evening that Prince Harry had been there in the day kicking off the countdown to the World Cup.


    However, this is where we ran into a stumbling block. Wembley fucking stadium. This 90,000 capacity behemoth put up the most resistance, and just didn't seem like it was going to be possible. I guess it's actually reassuring that at least one of these stadiums cares about their security, but it left us frustrated and dishevelled. Considering recent world events, and the resulting aftermath of security we thought it best to leave this one. Pick our battles and not risk running into these guys...


    Shout out to @Monkey, @Gabe, and whoever leaves the lights on in all these stadiums.

    And in case you're wondering, that's a total of 616.358 seats, excluding Wembley.
    #1 Adders, Nov 18, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015

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  2. PatientTheory

    PatientTheory Yung explorer
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 28, 2015
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    Amazing report, love that photo arrangement at the start
  3. Vulex

    Vulex 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 23, 2015
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    ^^ what he said! Amazing and well presented.
  4. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
    Regular User

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Yes, loving that. :thumb
    The mind boggles..........
  5. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 25, 2010
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    Stunning and an awesome achievement :thumb
  6. Gabe

    Gabe 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jun 17, 2012
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    "It was a ridiculous night where we Andy Murray'd over a fence and Tim Henman'd under a gate to have our own game of racquet ball."

    thats the best thing i read

    this is the best thing I've seen on 28 for so long, so proud and happy to been a part of this, it was just so much fun in every way, and far too easy for the most part.

    oh and thats a third of our 150 sites we had hit this year with gas and stadiums alone. cheers lads its really been a fucking pleasure
    Gorgi and WhoDaresWins like this.
  7. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Mar 6, 2011
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    Been waiting for this report to pop up. Nicely done chaps. Superbly presented :cool:
  8. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
    Regular User

    Feb 23, 2011
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    You really know how to take a fucking photo don't you? That fisheye just, well, works. Sterling job all round mate, top read!
  9. Monkey

    Monkey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Aug 12, 2012
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    This isn't to say Wembley is impossible. Maybe one day it will get done. Like always, interests shift and something else comes along and takes priority.

    A cracking selection none the less. Enjoy.
    #9 Monkey, Nov 19, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
    fb and Adders like this.
  10. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
    Regular User

    Nov 15, 2005
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    One day in 2007 maybe :p
    Ojay likes this.
  11. Monkey

    Monkey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Aug 12, 2012
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    I meant maybe one day it will get done by one of us. So that the list will be complete. I know people did it back when it was a building site in 2007.

    However, with the recent events going on I doubt we'll even bother.
    #11 Monkey, Nov 19, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  12. The Kwan

    The Kwan Easily Led
    Regular User

    Mar 28, 2011
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    A big project to say the least, Thanks for sharing it mate, I really enjoyed reading this..Well in to you Lads :thumb
  13. The Franconian

    The Franconian 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Nov 8, 2012
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    boss report and writing and the photos are really great and could be used for their official appearence.
    I even prefer the building sites one or that with the change of the pitch, that is a more seldom view on them.
    Looking forward whether the West Ham supporters will like their new ground.
    To me it is the most improper by it's form, but it will be interesting to watch its transforming with the moveable stands
    they will put behind the goals.
    Thanks for the Tennis grounds too and the cricket one.
    Keep care, Anfield has been evacuated on a non match day a few weeks ago,
    since one person had been disappeared during a stadium tour.
    thank you
  14. Punk

    Punk Obi Punk Kenobi
    Regular User

    Sep 29, 2012
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    Cracking stuff :thumb
  15. jST

    jST LLS.
    Regular User

    Jan 15, 2009
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    Very impressive, I think I like Wimbledon best. PS Adders you can still tell its you under the blur, you just have one of those faces.
    PopPunkJamie likes this.
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