Memory is an oddity- I’d visited Eccleshall back in September 2008 and remembered it being far closer to the Stoke interchange on the M6 than this. Perhaps the difference was we were on our fourth game of the day… and that it was bitingly cold. In fact you’re a good deal closer to Stafford to Stoke, and you will pass by HMP Prison Drake Hall on the way there! Continue reading →
As the sun set so the temperature fell. It didn’t take long for us to reach the car park at Birches Head Road from Foley Meir. That was a task made easier by some well thought out traffic marshalling by the Abbey Hulton volunteers . But I was aware the coach was struggling, picking its way along narrow lanes and we were getting concerned we might have to delay kick-off slightly. Craig and I dashed into the ground, expecting to have to make ourselves useful. We didn’t, the club were completely in control and the coach arrived well before kick-off. Continue reading →
For Saturday’s second game we headed to Stoke-on-Trent, for what was, for me at least, the most surprising visit on the hop. I’d visited Whitcombe Road back in 2010 when the club were still just Foley FC for a Staffordshire County League game. The ground was just as basic as it gets, albeit with a wonderful vista of Stoke from behind the near goal. I just couldn’t imagine that the club could get the place fit for pyramid football. I am wrong on occasion…. just ask my wife Robyn! Continue reading →
I should start by answering the two most frequent questions asked about Rocester; it’s near Uttoxeter and its pronounced Roaster! We set off from Stafford knowing that we had 4 completely different grounds to visit. On a personal note, I knew 3 of them, and I fully expected Rocester’s to be my highlight, at least on architectural grounds. Continue reading →
We’re back! After the pandemic and the ending of our time in Trelleborg we’re back in Sweden’s beautiful capital Stockholm, and staying both close to the National Stadium, and the birthplace of Ulrika Jonsson.
FRIDAY JUNE 2nd to SUNDAY JUNE 4th 2023
RÅGSVEDS IF vs. IFK HANINGE (Div 2) @ Hagsätra IP –
football started here in the 1960’s and situated in a beautiful part south of Stockholm.
SOLLENTUNA FK vs NORDIC UNITED FC (Div 1) @ Sollentunavallen –
Action starts here 1969. Situated close to both the birthplace of Ulrika Jonsson and the hop hotel.Anders Limpar used to be assistant manager here.
HAMMARBY TFF vs. STOCKHOLM INTERNAZIONALE (Div 1) @ Hammarby IP – built 1912-1915 and is Hammarby IF
first homeground, before moving to Söderstadion and now Tele2. Home of Hammarby Ladies team as well.
TÄBY FK vs BODENS BK FF (Div 1) @ Vikingavallen – built years ago and have an upgrade in 2008. Täby FK sharing the ground with IK Frej, who also play their games here. This represents a massive trip for Boden, some 900 km, not exactly a local derby!
he information you need too
PRICE: £450 pp (excl. flights) and includes:
* Pick up and drop off at Arlanda Airport (north of Stockholm)
* Transport to all football matches
* Accommodation at 4-star hotel (double room) for two nights incl. breakfast
* Tickets/admission for all games incl. programmes
If you want to book your own accommodation, then the hop price will be £350,
but the pick-up point will be the hotel, close to Sollentuna Rail Station
FLIGHTS TO BOOK (not included in the price):
Norwegian from Gatwick Airport, UK 09:20
(Arriving Arlanda Airport, Sweden at 12:55 local time)
Norwegian from Arlanda Airport, Sweden 17:45
(Arriving Gatwick Airport, UK at 19:35 local time)
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from Heathrow Airport, UK 06:40
(Arriving Arlanda Airport, Sweden at 10:05 local time)
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from Arlanda Airport, Sweden 18:15
(Arriving Heathrow Airport, UK at 19:55 local time)
There are 2 options to pay the £450 (if you book your own accommodation £350):
1. You can pay to my account through a EuroTransaction:
It would be so easy to paint this as Robyn and I’s return to GroundhopUK duty, but in reality we hadn’t stopped, even after the final games in the SCEFL Hop. Robyn gradually took over social media duties, and you really couldn’t have failed to see her efforts on the @NWCLHop2023 account. That really helped us both to tease the hop, but also to update people too. Continue reading →
STOKE GIFFORD UNITED 7 (McInevery 34 43 72 Weaver 38 72 90 Barry 45)
It does pay to keep an eye on the Gloucestershire County League. I tend to see it as a quasi-Step 6 league, the mandatory programme rule, and the reasonably stringent ground gradings to make for an experience unlike most at the level. It was though, an odd evening to be in Bristol.￼
On one hand Bristol City were at home to Manchester City that night in the FA Cup, but that only meant that the southern half of the city would be having cup fever. Stoke Gifford is in the northern suburbs, and well and truly in Bristol Rovers territory, so I expected and got studied indifference to the goings on at Ashton Gate.
Of course there was an irony, Bristol City’s women played at Stoke Gifford Stadium prior to their move to the High Performance Centre for last season. I covered the fact that Bristol City Women used to be Bristol Rovers women in that article, and were Bristol Academy in between, and even had a men’s team too. They played at Stoke Gifford too, so I must admit when I saw Stoke Gifford had been promoted into the County League and were using South Gloucestershire & Stroud College too, I assumed they were using the same place. Well they aren’t… sort of!
The old Stoke Gifford Stadium is now 3G and laid out for American Football only, and as you work your way through the complex you’ll see the odd bit of signage for Bristol City, then the remains of turnstiles that were installed for Bristol City’s stint in the Women’s Super League. Stoke Gifford are using the pitch the other side of the changing room block and have improved their new home accordingly. If you’re the kind of person that sees this as part of the same then the complex then you’ll see my attendance as a revisit, if not, then you won’t!
Whatever your view Stoke Gifford are certainly friendly and the tea was much appreciated on a cold, dank evening. They’re also talented; there was nothing wrong with Hardwicke save for them having some key players missing, but they were taken to pieces by their hosts. I’ve not seen a beating this complete for a while.
I don’t think this will be Stoke Gifford’s season to make the jump into the Hellenic League. They’re third, and the ground will need some sort of surrounding fence for Step 6, but I may have got slightly ahead of myself here. The fact is Stoke Gifford have a fine team, and a ground to match.
One of the great advantages of having family in Bristol is the extra centre of gravity it gives my groundhopping. You’d expect me to have done a lot in around my hometown of Oxford, but 7 years of Robyn and I means regular visits west, and very slowly I’m uncovering some real Bristolian gems. Continue reading →
Perhaps the measure of what differentiates a genuine groundhopper from a general football fan is the Dorset town of Gillingham. My feeling is that a football fan will look at the name as immediately assume its pronounced with a soft “G” as in the EFL club of the same name, whereas the groundhopper sees the name “Gillingham” and wonders which county we’re in? Since this is Dorset, the “G” is hard, so the Gill is what fish have, not the girl’s name! Hope we’re clear on that one! Continue reading →
You may remember Robyn and I visiting the Kingston Colts before. Back in 2019 we saw them at their temporary ground at Dalton Barracks, near Abingdon. That was 6 miles from home at Kingston Bagpuize, the exile due to their pavilion back home not being ready. The distance proved to be their undoing as they dropped out of league soon after, with the club retreating to exclusively youth football.