This is my blog, “Manchopper’s Ventures”. Now before you say anything, yes, the innuendo is meant!
It is about grounds and clubs throughout footballing circles in, mainly the North of England. It will provide insights into a club’s ground, history and the game being played, as well as, on occasion, the town in which it is in. Some info may be wrong, but I blame the Wikipedia et al for this. There are even some star appearances along the way…
As you may see, this blog began life whilst I was still ticking of Evo-Stik Premier grounds with Trafford, so these earlier 2013-14 blogs are a little repetitive, though I have since deleted a few of these as to give more variety to the pages of this site! But as I left that period of my football watching life behind and moved towards “real” ground-hopping, there are many different clubs from different areas of the country & many weird and wonderful sights and experiences I have encountered already along the way! None more so than Cheadle Town’s pre-season friendly Dinamo Bucharest within the confines of the five-star Mottram Hall Hotel in Mid-Cheshire, with refreshments served out of a golf buggy!
Ground-hopping, for me, is a great way to both indulge in a hobby of mine, football, and to travel to different parts of the country I would otherwise have likely never travelled to. Yes, I miss football meaning something on a personal, emotional level on a Saturday afternoon, but this is countered by being able to travel and talk to people without any tensions.
The travelling on public transport is usually a story within itself, and whether its going down to Barnet or just along the railway to Warrington, crazy things can occur! But, they usually make for a good part in the day! Unless it involves going anywhere within the vicinity of Crewe, where a couple of trips have been royally screwed up!
I try to add a bit about all parts of the day in, so that you can get a feel for what is involved to get to the ground, what to do once in it, the game itself and how to get back. Also, I like to go into the nearest town or village and have a cultural experience (some may call it a drink) too. Who knows, it may just help to make up one or two people’s minds for where to go next. Recently, I have also found out (finally) how to include pictures on my blogs, so these add that extra bit of detail and, to be honest, break up the monotony of text!
My blog has also featured my first ever game outside of the UK, when I visited El Tomillar, home of Atletico Benamiel, just outside of Malaga. This has since been joined by U.D. Arenal, who were playing Real Mallorca’s ‘B’ side during my time on the island.
Of course, when the football season comes to its end in the summer months, something else is required to keep me occupied during that time. As such, the last few years have seen me delve into local cricket clubs too and these can be found in their own section. No big grounds as yet, as I don’t see much point in doing those, plus I use the summer as something of a money recoup…
The blog has been going for just over three years and has had a solid beginning with over 32,000 views clocked up. I have met some great people along the way, made the odd mess of myself (as Eagle Sports will testify!), but I wouldn’t change the experiences for the world! What’s still to come? I can’t wait to find out, and I’d love to share my ventures with you.
Now, where were we?….
My Rules? Grounds only count as a “ground” if a designated pitch boundary/spectator area is in use (rope/fence etc.) at least. If not, it will be constituted as a “field” and therefore not a ground. Artifical pitch cages without any viewing area within do not count either. Abandonments don’t count as a game in the final season totals.
Pitches within a larger complex count as a single ground/venue, unless they feature different pay points/separate set-ups/different clubs (if same club on two different pitches, then one ground). Only the original (as I see fit) and usual host at the ground count towards a complete “tick” (Ground-share visits do count toward total grounds, but a re-visit must be made at some point soon to blog the ground). Revisits to different clubs on same ground is obviously not a new ground.
NB: *All history is sourced (usually) from club websites, Wikipedia pages and the FCHD site. If details are wrong, blame them!! 🙂
* Please drink responsibly!
(This blog is told from a neutral viewpoint and is in no way affiliated with any club or organization within or outside of a club).
Twitter: @georgercheetham, @ManchopperBlog