About this humble little website

Self at Carterton FC

Groundhopping is the hobby that allows you the chance to visit some truly dismal places, that you’d never travel to normally, yet find real beauty there.

So, why football grounds? Well why not for a start and I’ll be the first to admit the actual game itself is not the be-all and end-all for me, I’m certainly no tactical expert.

Often its how you get there, and the people you find that are the really reason I’ve clocked up the miles that I have. Whether its rolling stock at Sobemai, or the North Sea washing over the stand at Arbroath these are the gems I try to seek out. Both of those you can find in this blog.

And let’s be honest here, If every single one of these articles were a match report, “Player X passed to Player Y” you wouldn’t be reading this, and I wouldn’t be writing them! After all, a match report is only of interest to those who were there, and the two clubs’ fans.

It’s also gratifying to see many of my readers aren’t even football fans, so I’m now adding occasional articles that aren’t about football. It proves, if proof were needed that when it comes to groundhopping, its the additional knowledge of the world and its people that counts. You can’t put a price on that.

When I started this blog over 9 years ago, I could never have guessed where it could lead, I was already involved organising groundhops with GroundhopUK, but now we use this blog to help pass on good practice. However the oddest bit, and easily the most gratifying is when I get contacted with the message, “Come and visit us…” and I get to chuck the camera in the back of the car and wonder what on earth I’ll write next.

When Robyn and I met during Christmas 2015 everything changed. Apart from the desire to revisit and show her some of the “Greatest Hits” featured in these pages Robyn has turned what felt like a black-and-white existence into a vibrant, full coloured adventure. Other than being a quite wonderful companion during our adventures, she’s become a superb short-lens photographer. Her work has featured in many of these articles, and will be for the time being. In the long term she really ought to have her own vehicle for her talents.

Robyn and I got married in January 2020. We managed to get engaged on the 28th floor of the Stockholm Radio Tower 18th months’ earlier, and still managed to find a game to photograph in the evening! I promise we didn’t do that on our wedding day, in fact the only football was saw that day was a marzipan one on our wedding cake! Mind you we did attend the Lisbon derby 6 days later!

So where will it all end? Put simply it won’t, there are more football grounds than there are days left I can travel in. And I don’t lack ambition, if there’s a pitch somewhere, I’ll go there and try to capture its essence and I’ve done that on nearly 2,200 grounds, in 25 countries and 3 continents. One thing I did get right 9 years ago was the title, the aim is still “Football wherever it may be”

Thanks for reading this.

Laurence Reade 20/03/2020

22 thoughts on “About this humble little website”

  1. Hi Laurence, my name is Mark. You visited our ground Needingworth United in the Cambs County League a few nights ago (vs Hundon). Found your blog to be excellently well written & spoken. I hope you were made to feel welcome & yes your right, we do wish the locals would come down more often although our crowds tend to be a lot better on Saturday’s. We have another home game on the 4th April 7:45pm (a local derby vs Hemingford) if your looking for somewhere to watch a game. Thanks again for your blog & please feel free to come down anytime & watch us again or check out our website http://www.needingworthunitedfc.co.uk for any info for midweek games for next season. Thanks again & keep up the good work.

  2. Good work, Laurence. Incidentally, I used to play for Llanfair PG FC amongst other teams in the area many moons ago.

  3. Good to see you at STFC on Saturday and trust you had a safe journey back to Oxford. One line you might be interested in the lad Ramone Cuetis was prev with Peterborough and played in the Championship.
    Have a good season and best of luck for the rest of the season.

    • It was a pleasure to visit, and many thanks for all your help. Its just a shame that the players let their respective clubs down. I’m bound to say the C 7 H were the worse offenders though

  4. Great summary of Thornaby v Stokesley game, Matthew is on the mend enjoy your travels.

  5. Conor smith said:

    Alright mate I’m looking to get into ground hopping and was wondering if you have any tips and I was wondering the general cost (I’m a student without a car btw) cheers conor

    • Hi Calum,

      The best advice I can give you is watch a little of everything, if only to find you what you like. For fixture try the Non League Paper, or the local papers, or the FA’s Fulltime service.
      The organised hops are all posted on Lee West’s forum, http://groundhopping.forumup.co.uk/ and that site is good for postponments and so on.
      You’ll find there are no lack of hoppers around, who’ll offer you advice, some good some bad, but above all elase have fun.

      Laurence

  6. Hi Laurence, I’m press officer for Binfield FC and enjoyed your article following your visit to us on Monday. Any objection if I use your article in our next programme? Many thanks, Colin

  7. Hi Laurence – I can post you a copy if you like? If you can email me your address at colin@c2photography.co.uk – Many thanks 😉

  8. Paul Proctor said:

    You’re Banned!!!

  9. Only recently discovered your blog and really like it. You seem to be attracted to (often novel) football matches in the same way as me – and describe them similarly, in context with their surroundings and the occasion. I’ve just put a link to your blog of at the top of the ‘Further reading’ section of my blog [see below]. If you could provide a reciprocal link I would be very grateful.

    Paul.

  10. Hi Laurence. How can I contact you about your blog? Do you have an email address?

  11. Hi Laurence

    Lovely article you wrote about our club Portland United, shame the weather wasn’t better for you.

    On behalf of everyone at PUFC, thank you.

  12. Hi Laurence,
    I saw your photo of the Arasen stadium in Lillestrom in the German football magazine “11Freude” and I loved it. Do I have the chance to get a signed Fine Art Print of the picture?
    Brgds
    Michae

  13. Ian Gilchrist said:

    Laurence

    Been reading your website/blog, which is excellent and thoroughly absorbing. Please keep up the great work.

    I was Secretary at Ynysddu Crusaders/Welfare FC until 2014, and I’m pretty sure we met on at least one or two occasions, at Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre 3G and possibly at Abertillery Leisure Centre 3G.

    I was wondering whether you have actually visited Nine Mile Point Miners’ Welfare Ground in Ynysddu – you referenced it in your blog of the YW v Cefn Druids Welsh Cup game, and provided a link to a blog by another groundhopper who covered the game there in August 2009 between Ynysddu Crusaders and AFC Bargoed Redz, the first game of the 2009 Welsh Groundhop. So its not going to feature in future hops I would guess.

    The ‘Ddus’ are now fully established back in their spiritual home, groundsharing with the local rugby club. This arrangement between football and rugby has been in situ since 1933, when the field first opened. And until 2019, cricket was also played here. The decision of Caerphilly County Borough Council to ‘do away’ with the cricket square (there hadnt been a local cricket team using it for the previous 15 years) was pivotal to the Welfare returning. Firstly, a permanent barrier could (and has) been installed at the bottom end of the pitch, completing the full surround. It also means that football and rugby is no longer strictly limited to September to mid-April, with the obvious problems that threw up at the start and end of seasons. In fact, for the first time in living memory, a competitive match was played here in JULY, when Treforest beat Ynysddu 4-2 in the First Qualifying Round of the Welsh Cup. Plans have also been approved for a 250-seater stand and paved walkways on the river side of the ground.

    Although I still maintain a very keen interest in Ynysddu (still one of only two surviving life members!), I now find myself watching as many of my own groundhop games, going to new grounds all over Wales, as well as combining that with being a Season Ticket Holder at Newport County.

    The Cymru Football App is now an excellent tool for all things Welsh football – detailed fixtures, results, tables and even live scores. Makes planning trips so much easier. The Gwent Premier League starts on 21st August.

    Hope you are keeping well, and if you ‘need’ to visit NMPMWG, or any other ground in the vicinity, let me know – it would be great to meet up again for a chinwag.

    Ian Gilchrist
    07977 254211

    • Hi Ian, thanks for your kind words. Yes I have been to 5-mile-point, for the Hop game back in 2009 (?) It was my first game as Chris’ deputy too! Yes, it does mean GroundhopUK are unlikely to return.

      I have to say Ynysddu are one of those clubs I always look out for, you have a lovely way of representing your part of South Wales.

      I’ve just discovered the Cymru Football App too. It really is excellent, and I’d recommend it without reservation. As for a meet up, I’ll be in touch!!!

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