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’ll go on a stadium tour, meet some local supporters, hit up a pub for a pregame pint, then take in a game 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 Have We “Hopped” To In The Past?
Last year, we ….
- toured Arsenal’s stadium, checked out their old stadium, then saw Spurs host Wolverhampton at Wembley.
- checked out a local street market and then watched Crystal Palace host Chelsea from a seat right above a goal and next to the Chelsea fans. Watching the Chelsea strikers take shooting practice pregame right beneath us was a highlight of the trip.
- caught a Yorkshire Derby and promotion battle of Sheffield United at Leeds United.
- had lunch at a local pub on New Year’s Day and then saw a game at Leyton Orient.
- made it a New Year’s Day doubleheader with a game at Bromley, where we saw them play their big rivals Sutton United and I captured this video of the late game-winning goal.
Where Are We Hopping To in 2019-20?
We won’t know the official kickoff days and times until October 11, thanks to the TV networks, but the fun starts on Boxing Day in London, when we will probably go to either Chelsea vs Southampton or Tottenham vs Brighton. (Maybe we’ll catch a break on the schedule and see both!) We will probably take the “legends” tour at Arsenal, as well, before heading to the game.
If one of those games is moved to the 27th, we’ll see that, as well. Same thing if any of the local Championship games get moved, which means we could make it to Charlton Athletic or Brentford.
I have a private day of hopping on the 28th, so the next day of group hopping will be the 29th, if any of the games from the 28th get moved. This could include Arsenal-Chelsea, Southampton-Palace, or Watford-Aston Villa. Or, again, we might wind up in the Championship for the day, seeing Fulham-Stoke, Millwall-Brentford, or Queens Park Rangers v Hull City.
That takes us up to New Year’s Day, when there are so many options I don’t even know where to start.
All this is just in London, by the way — we could absolutely find ourselves in Liverpool, Manchester, or anywhere else.
The final piece of the groundhopping puzzle is the first full weekend in January, when the wonderful FA Cup Third Round happens. Maybe we’ll get to something amazing like Plymouth Argyle at Liverpool or West Ham at Wimbledon!
How Do You Get Involved?
For all the complication above, this part is easy: 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.