London, with its 16 fully professional teams and many thousands of amateur clubs, is undoubtedly the footballing centre of Europe.
International stars like Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard, both recently short listed for World Player of the Year awards, thrill not only capacity crowds in the capital, but also a global audience of millions.
Just as passionate, although maybe lacking some of the starsí dazzling skills and glamour, are the huge numbers of Londoners that give up their Sunday afternoons to get muddy and have a go themselves. Hackney Marshes recreation ground alone contains an astonishing 87 full size pitches!
The history of London Football
The popularity of the game dates from the end of the Nineteenth century, when the great fall in church attendance left people searching for a way to spend their weekend leisure time. Leyton Orient FC was Londonís first serious professional team, founded in 1881 after league football had already become well established in many Northern industrial towns.
Over the next 25 years clubs sprang up all over the capital. The majority of these teams are still thriving in the 21st century.