Now that the full schedule for English Premier League and Football League games is out, it’s time to plan trips! But when is the best time to go watch soccer in England?
I am here for you. What I look for when planning trips — and I would love to help plan yours — is a time when there will be games during the week. I like to spend two full weekends over there, and most of the time I see between seven and 10 games. I also love FA Cup games and derby matches.
So let’s run through the 2018-19 English football schedule and see what pops out.
Early August: European Nights!
The weather is great, everybody is still feeling optimistic, and there are a bunch of games crammed into the first part of the schedule. The Football League starts on August 4, the Premier League the following weekend, and from August 13 through 16 there will be games in the Champions League, Europa League and League Cup.
Two full league weekends (September 29 and October 6) with European and Championship games October 2-4.
Full league weekends around November 3, midweek European games, then on the following weekend the Premier League and Championship play while League One and League Two are in the FA Cup First Round Proper against non-league teams.
End of November / Early December:
A great one! Tourist crowds aren’t bad, and it’s Thanksgiving weekend with a full slate of games. Then the following week there are European games plus Championship games, and on the first weekend of December you have Premier League and Championship, Leagues One and Two in the FA Cup Round Two, and on December 4 and 5 there are midweek Premier League games!
This is the granddaddy of them all. The fun starts the weekend of December 22, when everybody plays. Then everybody plays again on Boxing Day. Then again on the 29th. Then on New Years Day. Then on the weekend of January 5 Leagues One and Two play while the Premier League and Championship go into the FA Cup Third Round Proper, often against tiny clubs. And with TV spreading games out for broadcast, there are offerings nearly every night!
Stick around a few days, as well, for the League Cup semifinals first leg the week of January 7.
End of January / Early February:
FA Cup Fourth Round on January 26 (no Premier League games that weekend, though), followed by Premier League January 29 and 30 and then a full league schedule the next weekend.
End of February / Early March:
If your kids’ spring break happens to be the week of March 11, score! There’s a full slate of league games the weekend before and after, the whole Football League plays during the week, there are Champions League round of 16 games, and the FA Cup Quarterfinals are the weekend of March 16.
This year Easter Sunday is April 21; the Football League plays Good Friday and April 22 (also Earth Day), the Premier League plays that weekend, and if you can get tickets, the Champions League and Europa League quarterfinals are a few days before.
Leagues One and Two play their last games on May 4, the Championship on May 5, and the Premier League on May 12 (after playing a regular weekend over the 4th and 5th). In between, there will be Champions League semis leg two — good luck with tickets — and the Football League Playoffs will start.