I live at entrance to major football stadium – fans queue up outside my front door but not for the reason you’d expect
WANDERING along Ellerslie Road, the attractive Victorian terrace homes are typical for this affluent area of west London.
But halfway down the street, sandwiched between grand entrances to end-of-terrace properties, lies the entrance to Championship side Queens Park Ranger‘s football ground.
JOHN McLELLANThe stadium is sat behind a row of Victorian terrace houses in West London[/caption]
JOHN McLELLANDonna’s dog Misty is loved by fans who like to stop and take pictures of her on match day[/caption]
The bright blue gates provide access to the Stanley Bowles Stand within the Loftus Road Stadium, with a huge sign reading “Welcome to the Loft”.
While it might be a football fan’s dream to live a stone’s throw from a major ground, locals have mixed feelings about the 18,000 fans who descend on their street every week.
But one resident who loves match days is two-year-old German Shepherd Misty – who has become the club’s unofficial mascot.
Owner Donna Fitzgerald, whose garden backs onto the stadium, says her pooch enjoys watching the crowds of fans from the window or the front garden.
She tells us when we visit: “Everybody stops to say hello to Misty. She loves a match day.
“She’s famous among the fans, they all stop to take photographs of her in the doorway.”
There is one issue that drives residents who live next door to the football ground mad – literally.
“It’s s*** living here sometimes,” Donna admits. “I often can’t take my car out on match days, which is a joke because I pay for a parking permit and council tax, so I should be able to come and go as I please.
JOHN McLELLANHouses on the street can sell for up to £1million[/caption]
JOHN McLELLANThe main entrance to the Loftus Road stadium[/caption]
“The fans can be awful. I’ve had fellas wee outside my door, and they all drop rubbish.
“That said, I’m a Chelsea supporter, so I’m not QPR’s biggest fan.”
The parking issue is a gripe shared by many Ellerslie Road residents – especially given they have to fork out £119 a year to park their car on the road. If they have two vehicles, that shoots up to £497.
Council tax for the properties starts from £870 and can go up to £2,612 according to the Hammersmith and Fulham local authority’s website.
On match days the road is closed to traffic to allow fans to be corralled into the stadium – which holds up to 18,439 supporters – by police.
Residents at one end are not allowed to leave their cars on the road outside their homes, as it’s needed for a control marquee to manage fans.
JOHN McLELLANGreg has been fined several times for leaving his car on the road by his house[/caption]
JOHN McLELLANGreg lives close to one of the stadium entrances which fans use to access the stand[/caption]
It’s left a sour taste in local resident Greg’s mouth, as he has been hit with fines for not moving his motor.
The 41-year-old, who did not wish to give his surname, said: “The stadium is not fit for purpose any more, and [the council] know that.
“If I leave my car outside my house on match day, I get fined up to £130 a time.
“I pay council tax and for my permit, so I don’t see why I have to move it. It’s ridiculous.
If I leave my car outside my house on match day, I get fined up to £130 a time. I pay council tax and for my permit, so I don’t see why I have to move it. It’s ridiculous
Greg, Ellerslie Road resident
“They set up a chicken coop style thing in the bays outside my house to control the fans, but I don’t think they do it that well.
“Once upon a time we used to get a free ticket through the letterbox to a game, but that’s not happened in years. It would be nice to get it back.”
The stadium was built in 1904 and later The Stanley Bowles stand, accessed from Ellerslie Road, was opened in 1972 to replace the old tin-roof grandstand.
It is said to be the loudest stand, as it has 237 rail seats that allow club supporters to stand up during the game.
Not all residents resent the football ground; Judith, who has lived on the street for 40 years, likes the bustling atmosphere it creates.
She says: “I think the club manage it all pretty well. They clean the street after any home games, and I’ve never had a problem with any of the fans wondering down the road.
“It’s quite a nice atmosphere, and I don’t mind hearing them shout when their team score.”
It’s quite a nice atmosphere, and I don’t mind hearing them shout when their team score
Judith, Ellerslie Road resident
Houses on the normally quiet road sell for upwards of £1million and flats regularly go for £500,000 – despite being next to the roaring stadium.
New homeowner Cleo admitted the stadium was a concern for her and her boyfriend when they purchased their, flat but say they’ve not had many issues.
The social worker, 31, says: “We’ve been here for eight months and have never really had an issue living next to the stadium.
“We did have reservations about buying the flat knowing where it was, but the flat is just so lovely.
“It’s a bit annoying that we have to move the car sometimes, but when we’ve left it on the street there hasn’t been any damage done to it or anything.
“We’ve also been very kindly let out the barrier on match day by the police, which was really nice of them.”
Cleo adds that when the trees are bare in winter, they can see a section of the pitch, but not enough to watch a full game.
‘Bring back free tickets’
JOHN McLELLANAnin is a big fan of football and wishes the club would start giving out free tickets again[/caption]
Google EarthThe stadium is surrounded by houses in West London[/caption]
At the other end of the road Anin, 72, is a big fan of living by the stadium.
He says: “Parking used to be a problem, but now they’ve put in restrictions it isn’t.
“We used to get free tickets, but they stopped about 15 years ago, which is a shame. I’d like them to start again.
“The fans are alright, and it’s only about two and a half hours, and then it’s quiet again.
“It’s a really nice family friendly atmosphere around a home match.”
Another fan of the stadium being just behind their home is student Fahim, 26.
He and his flatmates live on the end of a row, right next to an entrance for the stand.
He says: “My flatmates and I try to support QPR, as they’re right behind us.
“Living next to the stadium, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference to us generally.
“The road gets closed twice a week during the season, but it doesn’t bother me much as I don’t drive, and we can get in and out on foot.”
JOHN McLELLANFahim tries to support his local team[/caption]