Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2019/20 campaign.
Total Matches Attended: 175 (last game of the season was 14.03.2020)
New Grounds Visited: 123
Total Goals Scored: 708 (Average of 4.05 goals per game, down on 4.10 last season, I saw four 0-0 draws this season)
Biggest Win: Brodsworth Main 12 Dearne & District 1
Biggest Crowd: 77,277 England v Montenegro
Grounds Abroad: 19 (Romania 6, Serbia 5, Israel 3, Ukraine 3, Belgium 2)
BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK IN 2019/20
1. RAITH ROVERS – Stark’s Park
Quite why it has taken me so long to go here is beyond me as I knew it was a classic old school, hemmed in, football ground. That “L” shaped main stand is sublime and the view of the houses over the open side gives a real sense of community.
2. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
All parts magnificent as a structure and I can forgive the travails of getting there for remaining in their heartland. Impressive enough that I went twice in it’s nascent season. However, it was denied top spot for choosing to call its stands “atriums”
3. ABERTILLERY EXCELSIORS – Jim Owen Field
Who doesn’t like sweeping Welsh vistas? I’ll wait.
4. NEWPORT CORINTHIANS – Coronation Park
The picture does the talking, the backdrop of the Grade I listed transporter bridge, opened in 1906, is just immense.
5. HORSHAM – Hop Oast
Perfect sightlines from an elevated main stand, superb clubhouse, leafy surroundings, what’s not to like? A fine new build.
BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD IN 2019/20
Slimmer pickings than usual due to the curtailed season but here are the best ones.
1. DYNAMO KIEV – Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium
A real bucket list tick from boyhood memories of great and mysterious clubs from the old Soviet Union. It does not disappoint in any way, other than that Dynamo don’t play there!
2. BEITAR JERUSALEM – Teddy Stadium
I wanted to dislike it because of their notoriously racist ultras but the stadium itself is just magnificent. Bit of a shame the iconic multi coloured seats are gradually being replaced by ordinary blue ones.
3. OLIMPIC COMARNIC – Stadionul din Comarnic
Not much of stadium in a very depressed town. However, the welcome and hospitality afforded by the locals will stay with me always.
4. ROMANIA – Arena Națională
A truly beautiful modern arena that looks even better at night.
5. NAPREDAK – Stadion Mladost
Really neat and attractive “English” style stadium in central Serbia.
BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2019/20
(Based on status, resources, effort and originality)
2. Winsford United
3. Kimberley Miners Welfare
4. Rainworth Miners Welfare
5. Hinckley AFC
BEST FOOD IN 2019/20
- Stovies (Raith Rovers)
2. Pasta (Whittlesey Athletic)
3. Curry (Cheadle Heath Nomads)