Craven Cottage is the name of a sports stadium in the Hammersmith and Fulham area that has been the 6.3 acre home ground of the football team Fulham F.C. since 1896. Its capacity has recently been increased to around 26,600, with the highest all-seater Premiership home attendance of 25,357 fans present for the 2-1 loss against Chelsea on January 01, 2008 in the West London derby.
In 1989 Fulham were in the second bottom rung of The Football League, but following the Taylor report Fulham's ambitious chairman Jimmy Hill tabled plans for an all-seater stadium. These plans never came to fruition, partly due to local residents' pressure groups, and by the time Fulham reached the Premiership, they still had standing areas in the ground, something virtually unheard of at the time. They were given a year to do something about this, but by the time the last league game was played there, against Leicester City on April 27, 2002, no building plans had been made. Two more Intertoto Cup games were played there later that year (against Egaleo FC of Greece and FC Haka of Finland), and the eventual solution was to decamp to Loftus Road, home of local rivals QPR. During this time, many Fulham fans only went to away games in protest of moving from Craven Cottage. 'Back to the Cottage', later to become the 'Fulham Supporters Trust', was set up as a fans pressure group to encourage the chairman and his advisers that Craven Cottage was the only viable option for Fulham Football Club. After one and a half seasons at Loftus Road no work had been done on the Cottage. Suddenly, a plan to partially redevelop the stadium sprung up, and the club were able to return to their home for the start of the 2004-05 season.
The current stadium is not the 33,000 state of the art ground Fulham fans would like to see; in fact it is the Premiership's fourth smallest ground (after Fratton Park, the JJB Stadium and the Madejski Stadium), but it at least lets Fulham play at their "spiritual" home.