Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2016/17 campaign.
Total Matches Attended: 233
New Grounds Visited: 176
Total Goals Scored: 910 (Average of 3.91 goals per game, up on 3.63 last season, only five 0-0 draws this season!)
Biggest Win: Great Wakering Rovers 0 Southend United 7
Biggest Crowd: 53,966 West Ham United v Juventus
Games Abroad: 36 (Romania 8, Serbia 6, Belgium 4, Armenia 3, Hungary 3, Sweden 3, Bulgaria 2, France 2, Ireland 2, Switzerland 2, Georgia 1)
BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2016/17
1. GARW SBGC – Blandy Park
A revisit but what an enduring beauty this ground is, hewn in to a valley and all stunning vistas and wonky pathways. A pearl of the Welsh valleys.
2. HAWICK ROYAL ALBERT – Albert Park
A classic grandstand with a clubhouse underneath, so few examples of this type of stand left. It felt an honour to be there.
3. ATHERTON COLLIERIES – Alder Street
Much has changed since my last visit, a friendly vibrant place and monument to a few people rolling up their sleeves and getting behind their local team.
4. BOSTON TOWN – Tattershall Road
For the level this is a fine ground, a little tatty around the edges but aren’t those the ones we all love?
5. OXFORD UNIVERSITY – Iffley Road
I’d always wanted to see a game here, such a pantheon of British Sport. Yes the old grandstand has seen better days but oozes history from every joist.
BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2016/17
1. FC GANDZASAR KAPAN – Vazgan Sargsyan Republican Stadium
A stunning stadium, beautifully crafted in a neo-classical style with a modern roof that doesn’t detract in anyway from the original design, if anything it improves it.
2.BKV ELÖRE – Sport utca Stadion
I had always known this was a belter, but what caught me by surprise was its’ vastness, a real leviathan of a grandstand. Perfection in every detail, a truly must visit.
3. FC DINAMO TBILISI – Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena
A club steeped in history, mystical men from the east that caught my imagination as a child. Seems almost inconceivable that I have now seen a game here. What a hobby this is.
4. ROYAL ANTWERP – Bosuilstadion
A perennial favourite on the hopping circuit, deliciously run down, loud raucous fans, what more can you ask for?
5. SLAVIA SOFIA – Vasil Levski Stadion
Abysmal crowd for a club, like Gandzasar, having to play away from their own ground. The Levski has undergone an impressive revamp, despite the meagre crowd and racist fans, this is a fine stadium.
BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2016/17
(based on status, resources, effort and originality)
1. RUSHALL OLYMPIC
2. CARDIFF CORINTHIANS
3. ATHERTON COLLIERIES
4. LINCOLN UNITED
BEST FOOD IN 2016/17
1. ASHTON TOWN – Lancashire Hot Pot
2. CAMPION – Chilli con carne
3. CARDIFF CORINTHIANS – Faggots