The 100 Club

By on Apr 10, 2007 in Non-League | 2 comments

My oh my. As you might be able to guess, I’ll have one or two things to say about Manchester United’s performance against Roma tonight, but that can wait until either later this evening or tomorrow. As you lot are probably aware, I’m pretty sparing in my praise for the Red Menace, but they have been absolutely awesome tonight, albeit against a Roma side that seemed to give up with the first United goal. More bad news, also, from outside the stadium, though it’s difficult to tell how much of this is media hype. Switching on the television at seven o’clock, Channel Four News made it sound like Heysel Revisited, but I think that it’s probably for the best to wait a while before trying to draw any conclusions. Meanwhile, Chelsea are making mighty hard work of beating Valencia – at the time of writing, it looks as if it could be heading for extra-time – but I think we can all be certain of what the newspaper headlines will be like tomorrow morning.

So, to “Groundhopping”. In another great piece on “If This Is Football“, the subject of groundhopping has come up. Groundhoppers are the football equivalent of trainspotters. Rather than supporting any particular club, they go from ground to ground (hence the name), chalking up a list of football stadia visited. The 92 Club, an august body of people that have visited each of the 92 grounds of the Football League, was founded in 1966, and according to their Wiki entry, they now have over a thousand members. Of course, joining The 92 Club isn’t quite as easy as it used to be, with a couple of clubs moving grounds each season, and potentially two new clubs joining from the Nationwide Conference each season, but obviously it’s no longer an exclusive pursuit. To get their kicks nowadays, hardcore groundhoppers are visiting more and more obscure stadia and travelling abroad more and more.

Of course, it’s pretty easy to mock this group of people, but I say all of the above with the full knowledge that this is something that I could quite easily do. I’ve got less and less partisan in my support as I’ve got older. I’ve enjoyed my trips to Wimbledon and Worthing as much as I have my few trips to St Albans over the last couple of years or so. Indeed, this season, more or less every match that I have been to (except for White Hart Lane and Fortress Clarence Park) has been at a ground that I’d never been to before, or to see a team that I’d barely seen before. I’m liable to kind of pick a team that I want to win before the match but, by and large, I can quite easily watch football as something approaching a neutral these days.

So, I sat here earlier this evening and drew up my own list. It doesn’t, if truth be told, contain many Football League grounds. Most of the great stadia of the world have passed me by. I included grounds that I had been to for one (or, of course, more) of the following competitions: League matches down to Step 4 (that’s the foot of the Ryman League, in case you were wondering), the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase, the World Club Cup and various County Cups. I also included a handful of grounds from Step 5 (the South Midlands League) because I at them, which I think means that they deserve inclusion. Of that list, four were abroad, twenty-three were Football League (or Premiership) grounds, and I’d played at six of them. This means that from a total of 98 football grounds that I have been to watch a match at or played at, I’ve visited 71 non-league grounds. This strikes me as an alarmingly high number. Now, admittedly two of them are the same team playing at the same place (but, as anyone else that has visited both will confirm, the old Champion Hill and new Champion Hill grounds in Dulwich are very different indeed), but it does leave me idly wondering what I’ve been doing with my time for the last twenty-five years or so. I’ve left out the less than palatial home of Wallsend Town (where I played a friendly match about three years ago) because, whilst they may well still exist, I don’t know what League they’re currently in.

There are some curious exclusions from the list. I’ve missed out on several League grounds in London – Arsenal, Brentford, QPR and West Ham United are nowhere to be seen on it – and other places of enormous significance, such as Old Trafford, St James Park and, well, in Scotland are similarly absent (I should point out that I’ve only been to Scotland once since I was about 5 years old, and Partick Thistle were away that weekend). The order of it may appear somewhat arbitrary, but this is largely because of the vagaries of my memory, the fact that I tried to list the “biggest” ones first, and the fact that I just put down all the ones that I could think of off the top of my head before looking at any lists. There is a chance that I’ve missed a couple (or even more) off my list (and cynics might even argue that I have done this on purpose to make the new Wembley number 100, which it may well turn out to be), but I have racked my brains over this for several hours now, and I don’t think that I have left any out. The full list is in the comments section. If I do happen to think of any more, I will of course add them.

Tomorrow, back to proper football. You know – insightful analysis and all that. I promise.

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  1. Right, here we go then, anoraks:

    1. White Hart Lane
    2. Prenton Park
    3. Goodison Park
    4. Anfield
    5. Elm Park
    6. The Valley
    7. Selhurst Park
    8. Wembley
    9. Vicarage Road
    10. Kenilworth Road
    11. Deva Stadium
    12. Craven Cottage
    13. The Hawthorns
    14. Villa Park
    15. Clarence Park, St Albans City
    16. Kingsmeadow, Kingstonian/AFC Wimbledon
    17. The Withdean Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion
    18. Woodside Road, Worthing
    19. The Dripping Pan, Lewes
    20. The Lawn, Forest Green Rovers
    21. Aggborough, Kidderminster Harriers
    22. Broadhall Way, Stevenage Borough
    23. Broadfield Stadium, Crawley Town
    24. Kassam Stadium, Oxford United
    25. Top Field, Hitchin Town
    26. Gander Green Lane, Sutton United
    27. Park Lane, Canvey Island
    28. New Writtle Street, Chelmsford City
    29. Watling Street, Dartford
    30. Rhodes Avenue, Bishops Stortford
    31. Haig Avenue, Southport
    32. Rossett Park, Marine
    33. Canal Street, Runcorn
    34. Broughinge Road, Boreham Wood
    35. Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis Town
    36. Norton Road, Baldock Town
    37. Fenland Park, Wisbech Town
    38. Witney Town Stadium, Witney Town
    39. Meadow Park, Chesham United
    40. The Stadium, Aylesbury United
    41. Southbury Road, Enfield
    42. Underhill, Barnet
    43. Stag Meadow, Windsor & Eton
    44. Finchampstead Road, Wokingham Town
    45. Earlsmead, Harrow Borough
    46. Champion Hill, Dulwich Hamlet
    47. Champion Hill, Dulwich Hamlet
    48. Green Pond Road, Walthamstow Avenue
    49. Victoria Road, Dagenham
    50. Scraley Road, Heybridge Swifts
    51. Lower Mead, Wealdstone
    52. Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead Town
    53. The Wessex Stadium, Weymouth
    54. The Warren, Yeading
    55. Church Lane, Hayes
    56. Cherrywood Road, Farnborough Town
    57. Stamford Bridge, Chelsea
    58. The Victoria Ground, Stoke City
    59. Layer Road, Colchester United
    60. Ashton Gate, Bristol City
    61. The New Den, Millwall
    62. Brisbane Road, Leyton Orient
    63. Farrar Road, Bangor City
    64. Edgeley Park, Stockport County
    65. Recreation Ground, Aldershot Town
    66. Kingsfield, Woking
    67. The Recreation Ground, Grays Athletic
    68. Marsden Road, Stafford Rangers
    69. Rockingham Road, Kettering Town
    70. The Eyrie, Bedford Town
    71. The Camrose, Basingstoke Town
    72. Alfred Davis Ground, Marlow
    73. The White Horse, Oxford City
    74. The Huish, Yeovil Town
    75. Vale Farm, Wembley
    76. Hayes Lane, Bromley
    77. Wheatsheaf Park, Staines Town
    78. Wingate Stadium, Leyton-Wingate
    79. Wexham Park, Slough Town
    80. Claremont Road, Hendon
    81. Kings Marsh, AFC Sudbury
    82. Broad Lane, Wivenhoe Town
    83. The Arena, Croydon
    84. Sandy Lane, Tooting & Mitcham United
    85. Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers
    86. Fore Street, Hertford Town
    87. High Street, London Colney
    88. The Recreation Ground, Colney Heath
    89. Herns Lane, Welwyn Garden City
    90. Mayesbrook Park, Barking
    91. La Beaujoire, Nantes
    92. Parc Des Princes, PSG
    93. Yokahama Stadium, Yokahama
    94. Toyota Stadium, Toyota City
    95. Olympic Stadium, Tokyo
    96. Rothamstead Park, Harpenden Town
    97. Julius Martin Lane, Soham Town Rangers
    98. The Enclosed Ground, Whitehawk

    200percent

    April 10, 2007

  2. Apart from the pub at each corner, I wouldn’t say that Griffin Park has much to recommend it.

    Mind you, as a Brentford ‘fan’ who hasn’t been there for a few seasons, I’m hardly qualified to talk…

    Ijon

    April 11, 2007

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