Update: It’s now time for Groundhop 2 in March, 2019!
There are some minor changes to Groundhop 1, my first-ever soccer tour of England.
The changes came about because of two pieces of news:
- Spurs announced that all their 2018 games — therefore including my Day 1 when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers — will be at Wembley Stadium instead of the new White Hart Lane.
- Nobody has even asked about Day 4 of the tour, Nottingham Forest v Leeds on New Year’s Day. So I’ve decided to give the people what they want — or at least not give them what they don’t want.
For Day 1, which is December 29, the only change is that the game is at Wembley (here’s a tour of Wembley). We will still meet for a tour kickoff breakfast in North London, tour Arsenal’s The Emirates Stadium with a club legend, then meet some Spurs fans for a beer before heading to the game at Wembley. Afterwards we’ll go out for a bus ride around the city to check out Christmas lights.
Day 4, which is New Years Day, will now be spent around London. We may go out to Southend on the coast and see Southend United host Gillingham in something of a local derby. Or we might stay closer to take in a non-league derby: Boreham Wood at Barnet in North London, Dagenham and Redbridge at Leyton Orient in East London, or Sutton United at Bromley in South London. That last one is known as El Plastico because both clubs have “plastic” 3G playing surfaces.
Otherwise, the tour is “as you were,” an a la carte offering of soccer fun around London for a few days, around Manchester and Liverpool for a couple of days, and then somewhere in the FA Cup (probably London) for a couple of days.