Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2015/16 campaign.
Total Matches Attended: 244
New Grounds Visited: 200
Total Goals Scored: 885 (Average of 3.63 goals per game, up on 3.45 last season, though still eight 0-0 draws this season!)
Biggest Win: KFC Uerdingen 12 TSV Bockum 0
Biggest Crowd: 46,781 Combined attendance for Non League Finals Day (Wembley Stadium)
Games Abroad: 50 (Belgium 9, Sweden 9, Germany 7, Serbia 7, Romania 5, Malta 4, Estonia 2, Netherlands 2, Spain 2, Italy 1, Finland 1, France 1)
BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2015/16
1. AYR UNITED – Somerset Park
A visit to Somerset Park is a 90 minute wallow in the way things used to be. An utterly brilliant ground.
2. BARROW – Holker Street
Finally managed to get to Holker Street after several previous attempts failed due to poor weather. Great ground that has retained character along with modernisation.
3. MERTHYR TOWN – Penydarren Park
A weather enforced revisit but a timely reminder of this majestically ageing leviathan, not a minute too soon as bulldozers loom over the old main stand like vultures over roadkill.
4. BILSTON TOWN – Queen Street
A very well maintained big ground at odds with the declining fortunes of the team. One of the many great grounds of the Black Country.
5. WENDRON UNITED – The Underlane
Not often a ground in the UK catches me by surprise but this one did. Such a welcome panacea to see something different to the usual kit made stands favoured by so many progressive clubs. Built on an audacious scale for the the level club not to mention with sustainable energy incorporated into the construction. Magnificent!
BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2015/16
1. RFC TILLEUR – Stade du Bureaufosse
Massive weed strewn terrace, big pitched roof main stand, sizeable covered terrace. A truly magical place.
2. KFC BERINGEN – Mijnstadion
Tenant free for a number of years the chance to this fantastic stadium for a reunion match was too good to resist.
3. RAYO VALLECANO – Campo de Vallecas
Hemmed in among the urban sprawl of the Vallecas, working class, passionate and resonant. An absolute must do venue.
4. RRC BOITSFORT- Stade des Trois Tilleuls
Built on a preposterous scale, huge sweeping terraces immaculately crafted. A quite wonderful arena.
5. KFC UERDINGEN – Grotenburg Stadion
Built on a vast scale before the club collapsed financially, the Grotenburg is big on concrete and floodlights.
BEST ATMOSPHERE 2015/16
Olympique Lyonnias v Angers SCO
MOST UNUSUAL GROUND VISITED 2015/16
Fratia Bucharest, home to the lost and lonely, seemingly bonded by uncommon blood. An utterly unique and life affirming experience.
BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2015/16
(Criteria being status, resources, content, effort and value)
1. Whitehill Welfare
2. AFC St Austell
3. Elstow Abbey
4. Airbus UK
BEST FOOD IN 2015/16
1. Sporting Khalsa – Chicken tikka wrap
2. Brackley Town- Sausage baguette
=3. GoIF Kåre – Reindeer kebab
=3.Coventry Sphinx – Pasta and chips