With the conclusion of my annual end-of-season game at Shielfield Park, my hopping season comes to a close. I leave it tantalisingly poised on 498 grounds, and I’ve already fixed up my 499th, booking tickets for the Great Britain v Uruguay Olympic game at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on August 1st.
So what’s going to be No.500? Hopefully, Rotherham United’s new stadium, if their first home fixture falls nicely in mid-August, before I set off on a family holiday to Suffolk at the end of that month, where I have my eyes firmly set on Leiston, Needham Market, and possibly Wroxham or Heybridge Swifts.
As usual, a few end-of-season facts and figures. I went to 61 matches during the 2011/12 season, of which 52 were new grounds to me. I started the season needing 31 grounds to complete my target of every stadium in the top 8 levels of English football. Looking at the potential line-ups for next season, and allowing for new grounds (Rotherham, Evesham), I still need 24! It’s a long way to that line…..
I only have 8 to go in Scotland, and I’m hoping to halve that next season. As for Holland, that might have to wait a few years until the exchange rates gets a bit better. A more viable target now is to visit at least one stadium in every Step 5 (Level 9) league – two to go – as well as polishing off the Midland Alliance, Northern Counties East Premier, and whatever Barrow Town away games I can take in.
One indulgence I might make this Summer is to put the past season into book form, for the benefit of any interested souls who might not yet have come across my blog. It shouldn’t be hard to achieve, as I sort of work in publishing anyway, and although I expect to lose some money, it might just get me a few more hits – says the adrenaline junkie.
Before I go, a word about Newcastle. I stopped off there on my way to and from Berwick yesterday. I’d heard it was the Stag & Hen capital of the UK. They’re not wrong. With hoards of fancy-dress clad males and female herds milling around the station area pulling trollies as early as 9.30am, I was amazed to find the Wetherspoons bulging at the seams, particularly my section where a couple of dozen rowdy ‘chicks; who all seemed to be called Sexy Sam and were doing their level best to fall out of their t-shirts and minis, poured out of the pub into a waiting stretch limo as half of the clientele flocked to the windows just to watch them try to clamber in! Pure entertainment. Nearly made me choke on my veggie sausage!
See you in 2012/13.