Doing The 92

My name is Steve Hall. I am a Brit who loves football and travel.

In 2010 I cycled to all the 92 football league clubs in England and Wales. I set off in May 2010 and finished on 23 September. I was met with almost universal kindness, hospitality and friendship.

I had great plans for retracing the route in 2020/2023. Sadly Covid and then a long spell in hospital scuppered my plans.  I am delighted to announce that I start a new 90 day trip on 6th January 2024.

“Steve is a seasoned traveller – 50 countries, 700 flights – but this trip will be unique. Is he back in the saddle and cycling? No. Is he running? No. Horseback/canoes? Dream trips but not this time. No, this one will be in a digital tuktuk! He will be virtually visiting the many football clubs in England he loves so much! Yes, the motorised rickshaw much beloved of travellers in Thailand and India will be visiting Old Trafford and Villa Park, Elland Road and St James …. and many, many more! 

So, what is this journey? Why is he doing it?  There are two main reasons. The number one priority is to raise money for Prostate Cancer  Like all charities, Prostate Cancer had a torrid time during the Covid 19 crisis. He is keen to raise many thousands of pounds for the charity and has set himself various targets.
He is sharing his fundraising this time 50-50 with his friends at FC Deportivo Galicia from Heathrow, London. Again Covid was tough for this Combined Counties side but with some luck and Galician pluck they are punching above their weight again this season. The first task is to get £500 to them both asap.

If you want a mention, just shout! If you write about football, just shout! If you want to sponsor a club, just shout! If you want some promotion for your business, please shout! You get the picture.

People can sponsor per mile, per club, per stadium etc. Anything from literally £1 will be gratefully received. Alan at The Worlds Most Expensive Link (check it out!) immediately offered to sponsor the 90 days. I am eternally grateful to him for that.

The JustGiving page is now live for Prostate Cancer as is the BuyMeACoffee page for FC Deportivo Galicia. 

My point of departure is confirmed. It will be at 5pm on Saturday 6th January 2024 from Bedfont Sports on Hatton Rd, TW14 9JR. It’s by Hatton Cross station on the Piccadilly Line. I will be leaving after the Combined Counties game between FC Deportivo Galicia and Langley. All welcome at the game. Want a free ticket? Just txt or Wapp me on 0044 7950 656654 For anybody in business, £5 is a trifling amount to get quality links to their websites. If a business pledges £50, I will also add it to The Worlds Most Expensive Link 

Remember you can get involved from just £1 so hopefully we will be able to raise a tidy sum.

I have updated the main website and poster, so hopefully all the information is now in the one place. (Full details here) .

Please check through the site to learn more about the project, the people involved and how you can also help and get involved.

Thanks

Steve

DoingThe92

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Tuktuk Day 142


Hednesford Town

Hednesford Town – Jack Bevan

Fellow Groundhopper and all-round-good-guy, Christian Obray, pinged me yesterday to say that FC Deportivo Galicia was on his “Must Visit” list for the new season. Welcome! As you saw from Day 140 all are welcome whether it is for a single visit or as a regular supporter. We are a broad church of Fulham, QPR, Chelsea, West Ham, Portsmouth and Gillingham fans and I hear that we even allow Arsenal fans through the gates as long as they don’t ramble about “Title contenders” or other such silliness. For the sake of transparency, I should mention that our avuncular Presidente is indeed a lifelong Gooner. Welcome, Christian!

For those who don’t know Christian, he has a busy blog, TTTONLF, spotlighting his groundhopping trips. Take a look here and this week he has been with the guys and gals at Hednesford Town. I thought the overview deserved more eyeballs and Christian kindly allowed me to cover it.

TTTONLF MEETS…JACK BEVAN

Name – Jack Bevan
Age – 37
Favourite Team – Hednesford Town and Wolves
Occupation – Operations Manager at Hednesford Town
One thing I love about football is – The release from everyday life on a matchday (result dependant!) and how it brings communities together creating friendships and unique bonds Football pet hate – VAR and how the professional game has almost become to a point non contact! Best player you have ever seen play in real life – Steven Gerrard or Ronaldinho

“Can you share your career journey and what led you to become the Operations Manager at Hednesford Town?

So my journey began at Wolves back in 2007 when I worked in the commercial department overseeing commercial operations such as corporate hospitality, advertising and events. I was at Wolves for nearly 5 years and then had a career change where I worked in Social care and Education before returning to Football as Operations manager at Hednesford Town. I follow Hednesford Town home and away and with the club recently being taken over by new owners, an opportunity presented itself to get back into football and utilise my past experience of working in the Premier League with Wolves at my home town club; one im extremely grateful for.

What does a typical day look like for you as the Operations Manager at Hednesford Town?

Every day is different and so are the working hours! I am based at the ground every day and each day starts with a strong coffee and a re-cap of previous days events and what is in my diary. My role is extremely varied but predominantly covers 4 strands; Ticketing, commercial operations, Press and Media and Fan Liaison. Some days it could be a day of season tickets and helping organising logistics for an upcoming match, another it could be back to back meetings with businesses around advertising and partnership deals. A lot of my time at the moment is spent around press releases for new players and the content that goes with that. We are very much in the process of creating an open and regular communication line with Fans so I am doing a lot of work in fan chats, organising meet the manager , responding to emails and queries from fans, interviews with players and managers and doing regular updates for the fans via our social media channels.



What are the most challenging aspects of your role, and how do you navigate them?

I think there are challenges in most aspects of working life however right now as a club we are going through a transition period with the new owners and a new staff team which is new for us all! With so much work going on at the club it can often seem like you don’t know which way to turn! However I believe communication and an open and honest line of dialogue creates a positive working environment that allows you to work collaboratively and achieve the goals you set.

Can you highlight some of the key achievements or milestones you’ve reached since taking on this role?

I’m extremely proud of the fact that we are close to doubling our seasonal ticket sales from last year; a potential 25 year record here at the club. We have implemented a new online ticketing system which fans have really brought into and I am particularly proud of the feedback I get from the communication line we have created and being told that it’s the best its ever been. It has been a difficult 10-15 years for the club and I was extremely keen to help rebuild that trust with fans and repair at times what have been damaged relationships. The feedback and general response that I have had is that we are well on our way to achieving that.

How do you foster a positive and productive working environment among the team at Hednesford Town?

I touched on it before in the above question but I am big believer in open , honest and regular communication between colleagues. I am extremely fortunate that I work closely with Terry McMahon, club secretary , who has been at the club longer than I can remember and that I have known Terry personally for 30 years and we have a fantastic relationship. I am very like minded to our new CEO Marvin Robinson and we work really well together and most importantly I have a great relationship with the owners Craig and Amanda who are incredibly supportive of any ideas I have and look to encourage innovative based working. It’s a great working team.

How important is community engagement to the club, and what initiatives have you implemented to strengthen this relationship?

Community is at the heart of what we do here at the club. We have a fantastic Supporters association who do a huge amount of work within the community which is lead by a great guy called Trevor Edwards. Our owners work with a huge amount of charities and are looking to do more work with local charities on top of what they currently. We have plans to start working closely with local schools and have community based events that are accessible for us. From a football perspective we have tried to be as affordable as possible and have a number of initiatives in the pipeline to really connect with the local community. I am Hednesford born and bred, I understand the importance of both this football club and the local community and I am extremely passionate about bringing them both together.



Have there been any innovative strategies or changes you’ve introduced that have significantly improved operations at the club?

Errm, I wouldn’t go as far as to say innovative or anything crazy special; but the new online ticketing platform has really smoothed out our ticketing operation, meaning we have been able to work smarter. I am quite an old school kind of person, I believe hard work and dedication can naturally create innovative strategies and since coming into the role having that open line of communication with fans and fellow staff members, being accessible at flexible times and always looking for ways to improve the club means we have made great strides off the pitch. I am also keen to mention our volunteers who I work closely with and speak to regularly; without them clubs would struggle immensely and having those guys around in my eyes beats any fancy strategy!

How would you describe your leadership style, and how has it evolved over your career?

I am someone who is understanding of everyone’s individual situations and like to think I am open, solution based and someone people can look up to and trust. My leadership style is based around the way I was brought up; Honesty, hardworking, empathetic and doing things the right way. I believe having the right values and being a people person is the best way to create trust from your colleagues and throughout my career people have generally responded really well to this.

What are your long-term goals for Hednesford Town, and how do you plan to achieve them?

My long term goal is to help create a sustainable, community focused and successful football club that has the fans at the heart of what we do. There are always plans and strategies in place long term but my initial remit is day by day, working hard for the club and to not only learn from any past mistakes but also put into practice some of my experiences particularly from my time at Wolves. Hednesford is a lifeblood for so many fans, including myself, my wife and children who are first and foremost fans first!, and people work hard all week to come and watch this team spending their hard earned money. That is my motivation; be a voice for the fans, be someone that fans can say ‘ Yeah, JB (as im known to many) is doing things the right way’ and help transform this club into one of the best non league clubs in the country; an inspiring goal that is one we all want to achieve. The owners are fantastic people, as is the workforce both on and off the field. The goal is to become better day by day; that will ultimately take us forward.



What steps are you taking to enhance the fan experience on match days and beyond?

There are a number of initiatives that are in the pipeline (some I cant talk about yet) but we are always looking at ways to improve fans match day experience. We have recently had TNT sports installed after years without any such sporting TV in the club, we have a new scoreboard on order, we have engaged the fans in having a say in new banners to be placed around the stands, we are proactive with things such as family days, ticket offers and drinks offers and as I say we have some really exciting plans in the pipeline that will hopefully be released soon. Fan engagement is key for us and I am always keen to hear from fans around ways we can make things better.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in football club operations?

My advice would be work hard, take any opportunity that comes your way and always follow your heart. There are always opportunities in and around non league in volunteer roles that can often lead to further opportunities. There are so many varied roles within football clubs from ticket office, club shop , finance, and commercial to match day roles and safety. I would always recommend looking out for roles, applying even if you don’t think your qualified and be confident to give something new or different a go. Football is nothing without fans , volunteers and staff.

———————————————————————————————————————

A massive thank you to Jack for taking the time to sit down and answer these questions. It sounds like these are some exciting times down at Hednesford and Jack and the team are making a real difference in communicating to the fans and making them feel like they truly are a part of everything that is happening.

I for one agree that communication is key to alot of things in life but especially so in football clubs, the lack of communication can lead to voids being filled by others who may not have the clubs best interests at heart and can ultimately lead to a disconnect between the club and fans. The open channel between club and fans is a HUGE factor in my opinion in what seperates the ‘big’ clubs from those in non-league, non-league clubs realise that they are just the temporary custodians and the real owners of the club are the fans.

Football could learn a lot from how most non-league clubs are run and its sounds like alot of non-league clubs could even learn a thing or two from Hednesford too.

Until next time!!”

I thought Christian was absolutely correct, “Football could learn a lot from how most non-league clubs are run.” Looking through his blog and social media feeds I spotted an interesting article about how a non-league club is run. I will chat about this with Christian in the days ahead because I think he raises a lot of very interesting points. If you are involved in grassroots or non-league football, I think you will enjoy this. Here at FC Deportivo Galicia there is a strengthened management team and I will be introducing you to the heroes in the near future. Everyone is geared for success on and off the field.
Christian is also very excited about his new pin-badges he has and a complete range of merchandise. You heard about it here first (well, maybe second!)

Hope you all enjoyed the article and are looking forward to the England v Netherlands and Spain v France games. I am banking on a Spain v England final. Mr Tebbit is knocking at my door!

In the meantime, please remember the purpose of the tour which is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club.

A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate or sponsor. If you can’t, any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received.



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Tuktuk Day 141

So, yesterday was all about FC Deportivo Galicia and today we are back to the women’s game. What a healthy state it is in in 2024! Clare at She Can Kick It has sent me her newsletter and as always I am happy to share.

News: Frantic article writing & the book moves on


The last couple of weeks have seen me frantically writing articles for The Women’s Football Magazine (TWFM). This month is one of those where the quarterly print issue coincides with the monthly digital issue, so there’s lots to do.

After speaking to several girls’ teams, I wrote 2000-words about what’s next for girls’ grassroots football. We have the interest, but is the infrastructure there to support it? The short answer is no. The longer answer can be found in the July print edition of the magazine out in a few weeks. [https://thewomensfootballmagazine.com/]

My editor then asked me to write a short piece on the good, the bad, and the ugly of women’s football – she sensibly gave me licence to make it longer if I felt inclined to rant. She gets me!
Then there’s a 1000-word article on Reading Women for the digital issue, a player profile of Lauren James, and my monthly column on being an Accidental Coach.

All that hasn’t left much time to write my book but that’s OK, because I’ve finished the first draft! I’m sure I’ll add a couple of bits here and there but in my mind, I’ve officially moved onto the editing stage. Whoop whoop.

The first edit pass will be to decide on the order of info I give in the chapters and to make sure it flows.

Flo Bilton: unsung hero of women’s football in England.

History: Flo Bilton

Flo Bilton was instrumental in the setting up of the Women's Football Association (WFA), but her first administrative role was putting together a factory team in Hull in 1963. She started the team at Reckitt & Colman so they could play another local team, Smith & Nephew. Despite by then being in her 40s, she also played in goal for the team.

In 1968, she helped form Hull Women's FA and then in 1969 the WFA. She continued with the WFA until 1993 when it moved under the control of the FA.

Flo played a big role in the early England teams too. In a bid to ensure they were awarded caps like the men's team, she borrowed a cap from a neighbour and worked out how to make them for the women.

She also helped young players on their football journeys. One of these was Carol Thomas, England captain at the 1984 Euros and the first woman to 50 caps. When I spoke to her recently, it was clear she was still very grateful for all Flo had done for her.

My footballing story: University Football

My official playing career was very short. The only option available to me when I was younger was playing in the park or on the school playground. But when I went to university in the mid-1990s, a whole new world was open to me.

I dutifully wandered around the Fresher's Fair, knowing full well my shy persona wasn't matched to signing up for a load of exciting and vibrant clubs. Meeting new people in new circumstances was excruciating for me. Then I found the women's football club. Social discomfort was one thing, but being able to play football in a team of women, well, that trumped the shyness. I signed up. After a few weeks of training, we played our first match. Inexplicably, I got put on the wing (I'm not the quickest). I had fun and we won, but I don't remember much about it really - which is a shame, especially as it was the only match I played. It soon became clear that some trouble with my knee was going to make playing difficult, and now I'm ashamed to say I gave up without much of a fight. I didn't get my knee looked into and I didn't try hard enough to overcome my social awkwardness around the other players. It was over before it started. 

I try not to have regrets, we make decisions based on the info we have at the time, but this one would be very close.

As always, I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch on Facebook


So, that's goodbye (and a good buy) from her and goodbye from me but before I go....

Please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club.

A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate or sponsor. If you can’t, any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received.

Thanks again.
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Tuktuk Day 140

FC Deportivo Galicia Away Kit – a shirt of infinite beauty as Jane Austen might have said.


Oh, things are hotting up in Germany. England beat Switzerland on penalties and suddenly we have a feel good factor in the UK. I might add that Labour decimating the Tories could have something to do with it but there again, it might be the first pre-season friendlies taking place.

As you know this tuktuk tour is to raise money and awareness for FC Deportivo Galicia from Heathrow and Prostate Cancer. It was so good to see the Step 6 team step out on the hallowed turf yesterday, even if it was a cage at a local college. There were some old faces and some welcome new additions. Several have already got nicknames due to their uncanny resemblance to Gérard Depardieu, their ear-studs, lack of hair or butterfly physique! I nominated myself as MOTM (as the ball boy) ….think we might need some more shooting practice this week. Whatever, it is good to be back.

Which leads me nicely to a request I got from the manager for funds. Running a team at this level is tough. Gates are low, costs are high and sponsors are not always easy to acquire. Jose Luis Granja writes, “FC Deportivo Galicia is a community-based semi-professional football club based in West London and we are aiming to raise funds through sponsorship for the upcoming 2024/25 season.

We are a club with a deep-rooted connection to West London since 1968, and have been helping offer young people a warm sense of community through football for almost sixty years. I was welcomed with open arms by the club almost 20 years ago and have been part of it ever since. Our objective now is to ensure we keep offering these wonderful opportunities to the next generation of youngsters for another 20 years and more!

Unfortunately, our expenses have increased by almost 30% for next season and this is why fundraising has become even more important than ever, as we look to keep the club’s future intact. We’re looking for contributions to help raise funds to ensure the club continues competing in the Combined Counties Division One, its respective cup competitions, and the FA Vase. But also, to keep offering young, aspiring footballers in London a community-based group to help them thrive and become part of something special.

Thank you!
Jose Luis Granja
Committee Member

Below is a breakdown of how your sponsorship and support will be rewarded:

£25 Season ticket
£50 Season ticket & player sponsor
£100 Season ticket, player sponsor + home shirt
£250 4x Season tickets, player sponsor, home shirt
£500 6x Season tickets, 2x player sponsors, home shirt + scarf
£2,500 – training kit sponsor for the season, 6x Season tickets, 2x player sponsors, home shirt + scarf
£5,000 – home & away shirt sponsor for the season, 6x Season tickets, 2x player sponsors, home shirt + scarf
*a season ticket entitles you to free entry to all home league games and membership of the Centro Galego de Londres (10% off food bill)
**player sponsorship entitles you to a prize whenever your player receives the player of the match award
***all sponsors will be listed on the club’s website, Budget London and www.TheShirt2010.co.uk”

A little birdie told me that it you had other suggestions, Jose Luis would be delighted to accommodate your requests. I know he is keen to attract supporters from the big clubs so the adult season ticket at just £25 for the WHOLE season is something we hope anybody can acquire. Even if you only attend one match, that’s cheaper than a single game at any local PL or Championship club.

Our unique story has lead us to good exposure on social media and even the main Spanish sports’ newspaper, MARCA. We have had video production companies film our games and I know the UK’s two top vloggers Through The Turnstile and Darren Ashley have both been invited down for early season games. Steve Hall features us on www.TheShirt2010.co.uk several times every week.

And in the spirit of inclusiveness and because I will be sharing this on London Spanish news groups i continue in Spanish.



“FC Deportivo Galicia es un club de fútbol semiprofesional comunitario con raizes en el oeste de Londres y nuestro objetivo es recaudar fondos para la próxima temporada 2024/25.

Somos un club con una conexión profundamente arraigada con el oeste de Londres desde 1968 y llevamos casi sesenta años ayudando a ofrecer a los jóvenes un cálido sentido de comunidad a través del fútbol. El club me recibió con los brazos abiertos hace casi 20 años y formo parte de él desde entonces. Mi función ahora es garantizar que sigamos ofreciendo estas maravillosas oportunidades a la próxima generación de jóvenes durante otros 20 años y más

Desafortunadamente, nuestros gastos han aumentado casi un 30% para la próxima temporada y es por eso que la recaudación de fondos se ha vuelto aún más importante que nunca, mientras buscamos mantener intacto el futuro del club. Estamos buscando contribuciones para ayudar a recaudar fondos para garantizar que el club continúe compitiendo en la Combined Counties Division One, sus respectivas competiciones de copa y el FA Vase. Pero también, seguir ofreciendo a los jóvenes aspirantes futbolistas de Londres un grupo comunitario para ayudarlos a prosperar y convertirse en parte de algo especial.

¡Gracias!
Jose Luis Granja
Directiva

A continuación se muestra un desglose de cómo se recompensará su amable donación y apoyo:

£25 abono de temporada
£50 Abono de temporada y patrocinador del jugador
£100 Abono de temporada, patrocinador del jugador + camiseta de local
£250 4x abonos de temporada, patrocinador de jugadores, camiseta de local
£500 6x abonos de temporada, 2x patrocinadores de jugadores, camiseta de local + bufanda
£2,500 patrocinador del kit de entrenamiento para la temporada, 6x abonos de temporada, 2x patrocinadores de jugadores, camiseta local + bufanda
£ 5,000 patrocinador de la camiseta local y visitante para la temporada, 6 abonos de temporada, 2 patrocinadores de jugadores, camiseta local + bufanda
*un abono de temporada te da derecho a la entrada gratuita a todos los partidos de la liga local y a ser miembro del Centro Galego de Londres (10% de descuento en la factura)
**El patrocinio de un jugador te da derecho a un premio cada vez que tu jugador reciba el premio de jugador del partido.
***Todos los patrocinadores aparecerán en la página web, Insta y X del club

y si tienes alguna duda no te lo pienses y ponte en contacto con nosotros por Facebook, X o nuestra pagina web.

Please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club.

A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate or sponsor. If you can’t, any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received.

Thanks again.

EDIT: The Slough HL game has been reversed. It is now at HOME at 12 NOON. Bedfont Sports, Hatton Rd.
Free parking – Tube to Hatton Cross. bus from Heathrow etc. Easy, peasy!

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Tuktuk Day 139


Peter’s Fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK

Regular visitors to these pages will know that the purpose of the tour is to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer UK and my local football club near Heathrow (see below.)

On a Prostate Cancer forum I was delighted to meet another fund raiser, Peter Carr from Co Durham.

He says, “I am doing 10,000 steps each and every day for a full year. Yes, to raise money for PROSTATE CANCER UK I am doing this sponsor walk, which consists of 10,000 steps a day for a full year. I started this challenge on the 2nd January, I will finish it on the 1st January 2025 if you want to see my progress you can visit my page or if you would like to donate hit my link below.”

I’m helping raise money for PROSTATE CANCER UK! Support me by clicking here

I wish him every success and hope on this day of days with a new government and a new start some of you may choose to support Peter. I will be sharing updates and hopefully next time he will tell us a little of his football love. Good luck, amigo.

As I always say, the purpose of this digital tour is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Peter.

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received.

Thanks again, everyone.

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Tuktuk Day 138

Day 137 showcased TTTONLF with Darren Ashley. Today it is with Danny Pickering who I am ashamed to say I did not know. I do know, and so do you!

Christian says,” So this time we are joined by the Non-league Dad (Danny Pickering) , you may or may not have seen Danny across social media sharing his adventures with his two sons Marley (2) and Rudy (1). The three of have racked up the games and recently passed the 100 games total as a trio. We sit down with Danny to discuss what made him want to do this and also what he has found some of the best moments and also some of the challenging moments in making these trips happen.”

Name – Danny Pickering (AKA: NonLeagueDad)
Age – 32
Favourite Team – Barwell FC
Occupation – Plant Machinery Repairman (Diggers)
One thing I love about football is – The community feel around your local club, everyone knows everyone, everyone’s welcoming I think no matter who you support you get this at any level.
Football pet hate – Plastic pitches. I get why teams have them but the football is not the same
Best player you have ever seen play in real life – travelled with my eldest Marley (2) to go see Cristiano Ronaldo last year but Non League has to be Ben Stephens, we finished 3rd from bottom and he was leagues top scorer, joy to watch

Q) What inspired you and your sons to start groundhopping, and how did you get into visiting different non-league football grounds?

I’ve always been into Non League. I’m from a little village called Barwell who have a team that play at Step 3 in the Southern Central Premier Division and so I got bought up by my dad taking me there. Unfortunately he’s no longer here as he passed away when I was 8 but I knew the joy I had from him taking me that when I became a dad myself almost 3 years ago I wanted to take my children. Barwell were having a new pitch laid at the time and so all their games were away, we travelled everywhere father and son and I really enjoyed the different grounds we visited and different standards of football that I took a step back from following Barwell home and away and each week we picked a new place or team to go watch then Rudy came along and we carried on going still and it’s been a really great journey

Q) Can you describe the bond that groundhopping has created between you and your sons? How has it influenced your relationship?

It’s been a really positive experience all round. It helped me out hugely mentally in getting me out the house and spending some quality time with both kids at such a young age. Gave me the confidence with them both to go out and do stuff on my own as a father, and it was nice to just be father and son and show them my interests etc. I’d say it’s made us closer as come the weekend Marley will now ask “is it football day today” which is really nice.

Q) What is it about non-league football that you find particularly appealing compared to higher league matches?

The accessibility especially with the young ones. The cost and the family friendly atmosphere, Pushchairs for example I can go and take a walk round, you’re not tied to one seat etc and you can mingle and chat and the kids also have the freedom to run around and mix with other kids or on their own. Just really welcoming atmosphere and you feel part of whichever club you go and see and people seem grateful for your presence even the players

Q) How do you plan your groundhopping trips? Do you have a specific strategy or criteria for choosing which grounds to visit next?

There’s no real plan, since starting the Instagram and X profiles we get invited a few or recommended games that we go see I’ve even sometimes planned them around a day out with the family much to the partners surprise. We use the Futbology app so have access to a whole list of teams and games every day across the UK so I’ll have a look on there if we have a free weekend. I did however for milestone games such as 50 or 100 look for a special ground so we actually visited the Marley stadium of Steeton AFC to commemorate the achievement.

Q) Can you share a memorable groundhopping experience or a favorite ground that you and your son have visited?

Memorable one, great question there’s been so many, one of my favourites because it was something I’d always wanted to do was we planned a last minute trip to Portugal to see Al-Nassr Vs Celta Vigo and got to see Ronaldo, past his peak but I’d always wanted to see him play live so that one stays with me and I’ll never forget that.

Q) What are some of the unique aspects or traditions of non-league football grounds that you enjoy the most?

I like the fact you can meet most the players in the club house after a game. You see a lot of fans talking to them about their games some good some bad but it’s such a nice thing to see, I also really like the fundraising ideas for non league clubs as I know every little helps. My thing is I always buy a pin badge from the home team we go and see, we’ve got so many and put them on a special display banner

Q) How do you and your sons make the most out of each visit? Are there any specific activities or rituals you always follow on match days?

Whoever we pick I like to visit something in the area, either a soft play for the kids a park or something, or we head to a pub/restaurant for dinner just to make a full day out of it, however since we went Portugal I really enjoy making it into a mini break either UK or abroad, we’ve been Cyprus and Nantes, France but as long as the kids enjoy it then it makes my life so much easier

Q) Have you met other groundhoppers or made friends along the way? How has the community aspect of groundhopping been for you and your sons?

Yes. I’ve met a few. Because I post on twitter and Instagram I get a lot come up on a matchday introducing themselves or recognising me and the boys, I actually went a game in Cyprus with Marley and got recognised by someone. It’s a really friendly community who offer so many tips etc if you have any questions. I’ve also planned to meet another groundhopper next season for a trip to Scotland for a game with my boys

Q) What challenges have you faced while groundhopping, especially with a child, and how have you overcome them?

Simple answer, Nappy Changing. I took a 3 month old Marley to the CBS Arena to watch Coventry City, no stewards or staff knew where I could change a baby so they actually put me in the back of a bar and I had to change him on a keg of beer. To be honest most the matchday volunteers are so helpful. Wherever we’ve been people are so thoughtful and kind towards us we’ve had no issues, you get the occasional “why would you bring a baby to the football” but usually everyone is so nice and welcoming

Q) What advice would you give to other parents who are considering taking up groundhopping with their children?

Do it, especially non league, if it’s your thing anyway, Groundhopping or non league then carry on doing it. People are so friendly and helpful and I think people are really grateful to see new faces through the turnstile. It’s great to have a bond or a “thing” to do with your child. But just enjoy it whatever you do.

———————————————————————————————-

So that brings another “Through the Turnstile Meets” to a close.

Thanks to Danny for taking part and showing the power of football and how it can not only be entertainment for everyone but also a magical opportunity to create memories for life.

I hope that you found it interesting to learn about some of his journey so far and will keep an eye out in the future for some of the other grounds the trio end up visiting!

Until next time!”

What a terrific interview. I really enjoyed it. Delighted to “meet” you Danny and you will always be welcome at FC Deportivo Galicia with or without the boys. We are near Heathrow Airport and Groundhoppers are always welcome!

…. and talking about enjoyment, I hope that you are enjoying my digital tour of the grounds but please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again, everyone.



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Tuktuk Day 137

BIG DAY

Yes, today is another big day. It is the day when the fixtures for all three divisions of the EFL were announced. Gillingham play Carlisle in what is obviously the tie of the round!

Of course, one “novelty” is that ALL games in the Championship kick off at 12,30pm and ALL games are going to be screened. You really don’t need me to comment on this, do you? Sadly, the match-going fans are again being sold down the river by the EFL. I had better calm down.

Full details here.

Much more important is that two of my favourite vloggers have put a piece together. You will have seen regular posts on here about Christian Obray of “Through the Turnstile of Non-League Football” and Darren Ashley. Today Christian meets Darren in a great reworking of “When Harry met Sally.” No, they are not working together a la Morecambe and Wise or “The Saint and Greavsie.” It is not a Netflix franchise show but it’s a fascinating one-off. I am sure you will enjoy it. Have a look here and if you like it do, please, subscribe at no charge to their respective channels. They both know they are welcome at FC Deportivo Galicia at any time. Pre-season games have recently been announced and all are welcome at our impressive ground near Heathrow. Well, “our” is not totally accurate as we are hosted bu Fedfont Sports of the Isthmian League.

…. and talking about enjoyment, I hope that you are enjoying my digital tour of the grounds but please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

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Tuktuk Day 136

Carol Thomas – National Football Museum

Clare “She Can Kick It Out” sent me her latest newsletter. As always, it is very readable and I am happy to share. Let’s hear her thoughts on the women’s game

News: Giraffes, Lionesses & Milestone

“I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. I have a few updates from my last newsletter, so here goes. 

Last weekend my family and I went to Longleat Safari Park. My mum had never seen giraffes in real life, so we took her to see some. Not only did she get to see them close up, with the sun shining (one of the few moments on Saturday that it did), but she also got to feed one a branch of leaves (for the slightly extortionate price of £2 per branch or 10 seconds of giraffe chewing time). We all had a wonderful day and the monkeys didn’t steal anything off the car!

Last time, I mentioned that ex-Lioness captain Carol Thomas was about to send me her answers to my questions about her career. I now have her 5000 words and it makes for riveting reading, here’s an insight into playing for England in the 1970s: 

” I worked for Northern Foods from the age of 15, with a full-time 9 to 5 job and football fitted around that, until I made the England squad in 1974. Once there, they were very good and allowed me time off, sometimes with pay, sometimes by holidays and sometimes without pay, but they were always eager to help facilitate my England career in any way they could. This was in total contrast to some of the England players, who sometimes missed out on internationals due to work commitments.”

Finally, you’ll see at the bottom of this newsletter that I’ve hit the 50,000 word mark! I’ve still got some work to do to get the last bits of the first draft down and then the next step is to find an order I’m happy with. I’m keen to put it in decade order with each country housed within that, but maybe you’d prefer it split up into country chapters? If you have any thoughts, hit reply and let me know.”

News: Giraffes, Lionesses & Milestone

I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. I have a few updates from my last newsletter, so here goes. 

Last weekend my family and I went to Longleat Safari Park. My mum had never seen giraffes in real life, so we took her to see some. Not only did she get to see them close up, with the sun shining (one of the few moments on Saturday that it did), but she also got to feed one a branch of leaves (for the slightly extortionate price of £2 per branch or 10 seconds of giraffe chewing time). We all had a wonderful day and the monkeys didn’t steal anything off the car!

Last time, I mentioned that ex-Lioness captain Carol Thomas was about to send me her answers to my questions about her career. I now have her 5000 words and it makes for riveting reading, here’s an insight into playing for England in the 1970s: 

” I worked for Northern Foods from the age of 15, with a full-time 9 to 5 job and football fitted around that, until I made the England squad in 1974. Once there, they were very good and allowed me time off, sometimes with pay, sometimes by holidays and sometimes without pay, but they were always eager to help facilitate my England career in any way they could. This was in total contrast to some of the England players, who sometimes missed out on internationals due to work commitments.”

Finally, you’ll see at the bottom of this newsletter that I’ve hit the 50,000 word mark! I’ve still got some work to do to get the last bits of the first draft down and then the next step is to find an order I’m happy with. I’m keen to put it in decade order with each country housed within that, but maybe you’d prefer it split up into country chapters? If you have any thoughts, hit reply and let me know.

Number of book words written so far… 50,792 …it’s coming home-ish!

If you like Clare’s newsletter please feel free to subscribe and share the subscribe link to your friends and followers 

…and talking about enjoyment, I hope that you are enjoying my digital tour of the grounds but please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again.



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Tuktuk Day 135


“Lazy Sunday Afternoon,” as the song goes. Everyone waiting to see Scotland bid for a place in the last 16 in Germany. Spoiler? No, I don’t think they will do it!

Delighted to be back at Villa Park, Birmingham as a guest of Dave Baldwin of Papilios Creative fame! Continuing the musical theme, “….So this is Villa
And what have you done?
Another great picture
And a new one just begun.”

With apologies to John Lennon and the Small Faces.

Yes, Dave has surpassed himself with a new Villa Park piece of art. Tragically, I cannot draw a straight line and I have long been an admirer of Dave’s work but I think this is taking it to the next level. Congratulations.

As he says, “Now finished my latest football stadium watercolour – ‘Villa Park’ as seen facing the Holte End entrance. 25 hours of drawing and painting to get to this. Prints available from my website
Use promotion code ART20OFF for 20% off any order site-wide.”

Whilst I am in the area, it would be remiss not to mention Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. Both of these clubs have been drawn by Dave. Great work.


Incidentally, despite his passion for Villa, Dave no longer lives in the city and his nearest club is Cheltenham. You will not be surprised to see that here too!

Here it’s a coaster but you can also have a poster, a keyring etc etc. Enjoy!



…and talking about enjoyment, I hope that you are enjoying my digital tour of the grounds but please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I do hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

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Tuktuk Day 134

New Shirts 2024/2025

Well, they are beginning to come on fast and furious. Yesterday we mentioned Accrington Stanley’s new shirt and today it is the turn of QPR.

You may remember that QPR has one of the most iconic shirts of all time with its Guinness classic. This season they are staying loyal to the hoops in their traditional blue and white. The only thing that spoils it for me is a betting company logo but that is the norm nowadays, sadly!

As I was uploading the image I chanced on last season’s away shirt which, in my opinion, was one of the very best of the season. Check these bold red and black hoops with Convivia, a housing company looking very impressive. I quickly looked at QPR’s away form last season. Mmm, not many win bonuses in this shirt!

There will be more shirts in the days that come. I got a preview of Gillingham’s offer for 24/25. I was impressed. Let’s hope the results match the shirt. New manager, new squad, new shirt. Exciting times!

As always, please remember that the purpose of this 180 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

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Tuktuk Day 133

So, today it is off to sunny Accrington. Well, not sunny but welcoming. Over the last 15 years I have continually complained about the price of shirts so it was good to hear of the new Accrington Stanley shirt. It was even better to hear of the great story behind it.

Accrington Stanley have launched three new kits ahead of the 2024/25 season, all of which highlight a key part of the town’s heritage.

The new home red kit commemorates the Accrington Pals, one of the best remembered of the battalions raised in the early months of the First World War.

Groups of friends from all walks of life in Accrington and its neighbouring towns enlisted together to form a battalion with a distinctively local identity.

In its first major action, the battalion suffered devastating losses in the attack on Serre on 1st July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

The shirt depicts the Pals marching into battle, as well as including the official Accrington Pals logo.

USEStanley Kit Launch 2024_29 SMALL.jpg

Stanley’s new blue away strip has been inspired by the largest Tiffany Glass collection in Europe, based in the heart of Accrington at Haworth Art Gallery.

One of the great expressions of the Arts & Crafts Movement, Louis Comfort Tiffany created new ways of working and glass combinations not seen before, distinguished by brilliant or deeply-toned colours, which are displayed on the new Stanley kit.

Stanley have also launched a new black third kit, which celebrates Accrington Town Centre and the historic Market Hall.

An outline of the Market Hall and its architectural significance can be seen on the front of the black shirt with yellow trim, with the borough of Hyndburn boasting a strong market tradition dating back to the early 1300s. 

USEStanley Kit Launch 2024_45 small2.jpg

The club’s Official Partner, Wham, remain as front of shirt sponsor for an eighth consecutive season, with the logo of back of shirt sponsor, Sundown Solutions Ltd, displayed below ‘ASFC’ on the nape of the neck.

Having been manufactured in direct collaboration between club staff and the Macron design team, the embroidered crest and Macron Hero take pride of place on the left and the right of the chest respectively. Meanwhile, Fagan & Whalley continue to sponsor the club’s shorts.

Stanley’s Managing Director, David Burgess, said: “We are delighted to launch three brand new kits which highlight three key parts of Accrington’s history.

“As a club we felt it was particularly important to respect and celebrate our town’s heritage and we feel that the final product does just that.”

Cath Holmes, a Pals historian, said: “To see the Accrington Pals on the new Accrington Stanley home shirt is a proud moment for us all and we would like to thank the club for their support.”

The new Accrington Stanley home shirt is now available online here  and via the club’s retail shop from 10am on Friday

The away and third kit will be available at a date in the near future – check our social media channels for details.

Prices are: Adults £44.99 and Juniors £34.99

Those prices seem very realistic to me ….especially compared with the new England shirt for the European Championships hitting the £150 mark!

Of course, Accrington Stanley have a bit of a tradition to keep up with shirts as their shirt for the season just gone had a nice story too. Read it here

As always, please remember that the purpose of this 90 day challenge is to raise funds for Prostate Cancer and an equal amount for my local club, FC Deportivo Galicia. As always, I hope that you are all enjoying this digital tour of the UK and that you will consider a donation to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK 

If everybody chipped in with just £1, I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier at the club whilst the charity could continue its great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t any shares of this site or even this post would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

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