Now Updated with January 2020 FA Cup Fixtures and a new Jan. 1 Plan!
Each year, I lead small groups of soccer enthusiasts on single- and multi-day excursions around England to see games. And it’s time to talk “Groundhops” for the 2019-20 Christmas season.
What is a “Groundhop,” exactly? It’s basically a crew of folks getting together to enjoy a soccer-themed day around London, Manchester, Liverpool or some other city. We may go on a stadium tour, meet some local supporters, hit up a pub for a pregame pint, then take in a game (or two) of football. That could be anything from a Premier League game down to a non-league game.
If you want some help with hotel rooms, I can offer that, as well.
Where Are We Hopping To in 2019-20?
Here is the current lineup for this festive season. Prices are not final and are subject to change. Contact me for an official price.
Boxing Day, December 26: Swansea City at Brentford. Brentford’s Griffin Park is one of the last of the great old-time grounds, tucked into a neighborhood so tightly you’ll be in somebody’s garden waiting to get in. It’s also famous all over the country for being the only ground with a pub at each corner! And it’s being torn down after this season. So come along for this one and experience true community football! Price: $200 per person. Included: Game tickets, lunch, taxi to and from game.
December 29: Chelsea Tour + Championship Soccer. We’ll meet in the morning for a tour of Stamford Bridge (right), then grab some lunch at a local pub before heading out for a game in the Football League Championship: a London derby of Brentford at Millwall. Transit this day is via London Public Transport. Price: $250 per person. Included: Stadium tour, lunch, game tickets.
January 1: Arsenal Tour + League One Promotion Battle! We start at The Emirates, home of Arsenal, for a stadium and museum tour. Then we’ll hop on a train up to Wycombe, where Wanderers are currently top of League One, vying for promotion to The Championship. Their opponents for the day? Second-place Ipswich Town! Price: $150 per person. Included: Stadium tour, lunch, game tickets.
January 2: Off to Anfield. This morning we get on a train in London for the 2.5-hour ride to Liverpool. There we settle into our hotel, grab some lunch, and head out for a stadium tour at Goodison Park, home of Everton FC. Then, that evening, we’ll head to Anfield to see Liverpool host Sheffield United. We’ll overnight in Liverpool and have the option of an Anfield stadium tour the next day before heading on to more adventures. Price: $900 per person. Minimum two people. Includes: Goodison stadium tour, lunch, game tickets. I can help with train tickets and hotels if needed. Anfield tour is extra if available.
January 4: FA Cup Third Round. The exact game on this day is TBD, thanks mainly to tickets not being on sale yet. But it will be either Aston Villa at Fulham, Wigan Athletic at Leicester City or Sheffield Wednesday at Brighton and Hove Albion. Fulham-Villa is a great old ground in a lovely part of London, with a Premier League club visiting one in the Championship. The other two are each a little over an hour from London by train, so each can be done as a day trip from the capital. Both involve Championship teams visiting a Premier League club, with a fun and family-filled atmosphere and plenty of young players on display for both teams. Both of these are affordable options in a fun city, so get in touch or stay tuned here to see where we’re going on this day.
January 5: Merseyside Derby. On Sunday it’s back up to Liverpool for a special FA Cup version of the Merseyside Derby, Liverpool vs Everton. The atmosphere at Anfield should be even better than usual, as the last time these two met in the Cup, 9,000 Evertonians packed the Anfield Road Stand for an epic 2-1 Reds win. We’ll start the day with a tour of Everton’s Goodison Park, just across Stanley Park from Liverpool’s home, then hit up a local pub for lunch. Price: $500. Included: Stadium tour, lunch, game tickets. Not included is transportation to Liverpool and hotel room, though I can help with each of these.
January 6: Big Noise at the Emirates. Monday night our holiday hop concludes with what might be the best matchup of the whole run: Leeds United at Arsenal. Leeds is a sleeping giant of English football, with one of the largest and most dedicated fan bases in the country, and a team which for two years has been at the top of the Championship table. They will be loud and proud, and we will sit just above them. After a Chelsea stadium tour and pregame at a pub, we’ll have a big time at the Emirates. Price: $350. Included: Stadium tour, lunch, game tickets.
How Do You Get Involved?
To find out more: You just get in touch with me! You can also use this form below — and be sure to check your spam folders, where my responses sometimes wind up. A deposit is required to secure your spot.