Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2014/15 campaign.
Total Matches Attended: 237
New Grounds Visited: 182
Total Goals Scored: 818 (Average of 3.45 goals per game, down on 3.61 last season – nine 0-0 draws this season!)
Biggest Win: Bishop Sutton 0 Brislington 11
Biggest Crowd: 43,683 Rangers v Heart of Midlothian
Games Abroad: 23 (Germany 5, Ireland 4, Croatia 3, Sweden 2, Belgium 2, Morocco 2, Slovenia 1, Italy 1, Luxembourg 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 1)
BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2014/15
1. Arbroath – Gayfield
Visceral location, football and the elements in constant ebb and flow.
2. Treharris Athletic Western – Athletic Grounds
History seeping from every nook and cranny. Little changed in 110 years of existence.
3.Blaenau Ffestiniog Amateurs – Cae Clyd
Breathtakingly scenic and had a real sense of hard work and bloody-mindedness to its ongoing survival.
4. Billingham Synthonia – Central Avenue
A weather enforced re-visit but a great reminder of how industry and recreation in this country once sat hand and hand with each other.
5. AFC Emley – Welfare Ground
A cracking old ground, lovely stand and some fantastic covered terracing.
BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2014/15
1. HNK Rijeka – Stadion Kantrida
Numbered days for this scenic wonder, hewn into the side of a quarry and surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.
2. SC Westfalia Herne – Stadion am Schloss Strünkede
One of the finest and best preserved big grounds left in Europe
3. 1.FC Saarbrücken – Ludwigparkstadion
Another classic German bowl left untouched for decades. But not for much longer.
4. Mouloudia Marrakech – Stade El Harti
A fading beauty of colonial construction, had a sense of splendour and moribund abandonment to it. Quite wonderful.
5. US Triestina – Stadio Nereo Rocco
Built on a vast scale before the club collapsed financially, a cathedral to modernist construction.
BEST ATMOSPHERE 2014/15
Olympic Club de Safi v Chabab Rif Al Hoceima
MOST UNUSUAL GROUND VISITED 2014/15
Just has to be FC Sobemai, utterly unique.
BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2014/15
(Criteria being status, resources, content, effort and value)
1. Barmouth & Dyffryn United
2. Seaham Red Star
3. Taunton Town
WORST PROGRAMME BOUGHT IN 2014/15
Would rarely denigrate any programme editors efforts as it’s a tough job, but this was an insult to the buying public. Caveat Emptor.
BEST FOOD IN 2014/15
Llanboidy FC – Steak and dumplings