Have you ever wanted to join a group of like-minded folks for a soccer-themed tour in England? Maybe just for a day? If so, say hello to my 2020 “Groundhops.”
What is a “Groundhop.” Well, “ground” is an old-fashioned English term for a place where football (soccer) is played. So hopping from one ground to another is simply being a footy tourist. Doing that with other folks is a “Groundhop English Soccer Tour.”
(You can skip ahead here to the 2020 lineup of Groundhops)
I have been doing these for a few years now, and it’s a ton of fun. We’ve had groups at big, glamorous places like Wembley, Manchester City, Chelsea and West Ham, but also really fun non-Premier-League outfits like Charlton Athletic, Millwall (top), and Leyton Orient (right).
And it’s all about what my whole project and Groundhopper Guides is about: connecting people to places and other people through football.
Where Do Groundhops Happen?
Mainly in London, Manchester or Liverpool, but occasionally we roam out of town. If we’re in Manchester or Liverpool, we will probably spend a night there. If we are anywhere near London, we will come back after the game.
How Big Are The Groups?
It’s usually a group of 4 or 5 people, never more than 8. Two guests is the minimum.
Can I Just Go For a Day?
Absolutely! You can just come for a game if you really want to. We’re all about flexibility.
What Do We Do on Groundhops?
A typical day on a Groundhop starts with a tour of a Premier League stadium. Here, for example, are some shots from a tour of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC in London:
Next, we will head off to a local pub to get into the pregame atmosphere for our afternoon game. We will meet with supporters of today’s home team, learn a bit about the club, swap some stories, and maybe learn a song or two.
And then, the main event: A live game of English soccer. It could be anything from Premier League big boys to a semi-professional neighborhood club. But we will go as a group, sit together in the best seats I can get, and be right in the middle of the action. Using my experience having seen well over 100 games in the UK, I will pick a game with the best atmosphere, and I don’t care where it is.
When Are The 2020 Groundhops?
Right now, we have three sets of Groundhops planned:
April 18 and May 2, 2020. These weekends will be all about the promotion chase in League One. So we will be visiting places like Peterborough, Rotherham, Ipswich Town or Wycombe Wanderers — all teams vying for promotion to next season’s Championship. We will know more about the exact games as March rolls along.
April 25-26, 2020. We will be hopping on one of these days, possibly to an FA Cup Semifinal at Wembley Stadium. Could also be Premier League, Championship or League One. We’ll know a lot more by early March.
August 2020: The season starts again in August, so on at least two of these weekends we will have numerous hopping adventures to choose from. The schedule for next season will be announced in mid June, so stay tuned for details.
Christmas 2020-21. This is the “motherlode” of Groundhopping, the traditional “Festive Season” of English football, when there will be games fast and thick all over the country. Again, we won’t know the lineup of games until at least June, so stay tuned.
How Can You Get Involved?
Easy: Just fill out the form below to express your interest. You can also subscribe to my completely free newsletter, which comes out every couple of weeks. That will keep you in the loop on future Groundhop plans as well as game reports, club profiles, ticket tips, and everything else I learn and share about the wonderful world of English soccer.