Harlequins

Harlequins

Harlequins Football Club was originally called Hampstead Football Club. In the 1869/70 season (three years after the club's foundation) they moved from Hampstead Heath and subsequently renamed themselves Harlequins, thus enabling them to keep the HFC monogram. Some of the most well known names in English rugby have represented Harlequins and they are currently the premier league side in London.

After leaving Hampstead, Harlequins led a nomadic existence, playing rugby in a number of different grounds around London. The club enjoyed their longest period of stability at Twickenham Stadium. They were invited to play there by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) when the stadium first opened. Although in the 1960s the club acquired land for their own stadium, nearby in Twickenham, they continued to play some of their games at Twickenham as late as 1990.

The size of Twickenham Stadium meant Harlequins were never able to fill the ground. Those who watched Harlequins play there will remember a fairly empty Stadium and very little atmosphere. But the club's Twickenham days were crucial in turning the 'homeless' Harlequins of the 19th century into one of the most famous clubs in the world.

Some of the most well known names in English rugby have represented Harlequins. As well as playing for England, Adrian Stoop appeared for Harlequins a total of 182 times and was also the Club President from 1920-1949. As a Committee Member he was largely responsible for the club playing at Twickenham and after his death Harlequins named their own stadium the 'Stoop Memorial Ground' in his memory. Sir William Wavell Wakefield was a contemporary of Stoop and captained Harlequins and the England team in the 1920s. He went on to be President of the RFU in 1950 and President of Harlequins from 1950-1980.

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