Groundhopping: The Ultimate Guide

Groundhoppers outside football stadium before groundhopping tour

The world of sport has become a wonderful place for people to congregate, to meet new people, and to enjoy a day out. However, as the years have gone by, sport – especially association football – has become globalised. Many people today look to follow their chosen football team all across not only the country, but the world. As this culture of traveling with the club has become more and more popular, a new activity has been formed from doing so: groundhopping.

If you are someone who travels to and from stadia across the country or even the world, you are known as a groundhopper. If you want to know more about this intriguing past-time, then read on. In this article, we will try to break down everything you need to know about what groundhopping is, how you get started, and something known as the ’92 Club’. So, let’s take a look at why so many people today see touring football stadia as their hobby.

Frequently asked questions about groundhopping

What is a Groundhopper?

Groundhopper noun [ C ] /ˈɡraʊnd.hɒp.ər/
  • Someone who engages in groundhopping, the hobby of attending football matches at as many different stadiums or grounds as possible.
  • an avid Groundhop user

Groundhoppers are football fans who travel the world in order to attend matches of any level in as many stadiums as possible, many Groundhoppers have a neutral opinion about football clubs and focus on attending matches from various teams in as many stadiums as possible, seeing the whole process as a leisure activity.

What is groundhopping?

Groundhopping is a popular pass-time that involves visiting as many football stadiums as possible. Practitioners are called groundhoppers.

The Cambridge dictionary defines groundhopping as “the activity of going to watch football games at many different places”.

The term groundhopping itself comes from the late 1980s when groundhopping first came up in Great Britain and is based on the concept of ‘hopping’ from one ground to the next. While most fans just visit their teams home stadium every second weekend, groundhoppers are people who ‘hop’ from stadium to stadium, seeing their team (or simply a football match) to say they have attended that particular ground.

However, groundhopping is not an English-only concept; many people in Germany, for example, take up the same challenge today. It is a hobby that is mostly enjoyed in both countries, though, as the UK and Germany have strong away support cultures and thus fans are used to the concept of travelling to new stadiums and grounds around the world.

Indeed, some people today who are committed groundhoppers would probably say they support no team in particular. Though similar to an Ultra in that their entire hobby is built around supporting football, they tend to support football as a whole. They define themselves as a groundhopper; someone who looks to see the sport as a whole, regardless of the two teams playing. It’s a really intriguing concept and one that has grown massively in popularity in the last few decades.

Generally, groundhopping is not officially organised. With Club 92 in England and Vereinigung Der Groundhopper Deutschlands(VdGD) in Germany, there are existing official clubs for groundhoppers but they tend to fulfil more of a symbolic role than an organizational one.

Groundhoppers usually organize themselves as a group of friends or through online forums or social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Other groundhoppers do not organise with others at all and visit stadiums alone by themselves.

What's the history of groundhopping??

Groundhopping originated in football in the 1970s in England. From the end of the 1980s, fans in Germany also started groundhopping.

Today, you will probably see groundhoppers at almost every major (and often minor) ground you enter. It is currently particularly popular in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

How did groundhopping begin?

Groundhopping first started off in earnest in the 1970s, when fans would start travelling to grounds to support their team. While away day culture feels like something that has existed forever, it really is a product of the 1970s and beyond. Interestingly, though, while many fans might have travelled with their team to numerous grounds across England, the idea of describing the term as groundhopping back then would have been odd.

To these men and women, they were simply following their team up and down the UK to watch them play football! By the mid-70s, Geoff Rose had suggested creating a commemorative tie for anyone who has attended all grounds of the 92 clubs in England playing in the Football League. Gordon Pearce went on to establish the idea of groundhopping as a concept by 1978, forming the Club 92 community. However, many stick to the concept of groundhopping but started to take themselves abroad. The 1990 FIFA World Cup had inspired many Germans, for example, to get involved in the concept of groundhopping. The Vereinigung der Groundhopper Deutschlands (V.d.G.D.) was formed in 1992, and includes a whopping 300 grounds to tick-off on the list – to qualify, you either must have seen all 300, or have been to football stadia in at least 30 nations.

Its humble beginnings in Britain, then, soon spread to Germany. While groundhopping is an activity that many people now take part in across the globe, it is much easier to find groups who are committed to the practice in the UK and in Germany. Part of this stems from their strong away day football culture, as well as the number of historical teams in their league systems that offer interesting days out for football fans.

The term groundhopping itself comes from the late 1980s and is based on the concept of ‘hopping’ from one ground to the next. While most fans just visit their teams home stadium every second weekend, groundhoppers are people who ‘hop’ from stadium to stadium, seeing their team (or simply a football match) to say they have attended that particular ground.

However, groundhopping is not an English-only concept; many people in Germany, for example, take up the same challenge today. It is a hobby that is mostly enjoyed in both countries, though, as the UK and Germany have strong away support cultures and thus fans are used to the concept of travelling to new stadiums and grounds around the world.

Indeed, some people today who are committed groundhoppers would probably say they support no team in particular. Though similar to an Ultra in that their entire hobby is built around supporting football, they tend to support football as a whole. They define themselves as a groundhopper; someone who looks to see the sport as a whole, regardless of the two teams playing. It’s a really intriguing concept and one that has grown massively in popularity in the last few decades.

What are the rules of groundhopping?

There is no universal set or fixed rules of rules for groundhopping, and how to count 'hopped grounds’. Although a generally accepted unwritten rule is that a groundhopper must have seen a full 90-min football match in the stadium to tick it off your list

As you might imagine, the concept of groundhopping does come with some rules that you need to try and stick to. However, these rules are entirely unofficial and are typically just there to add a bit of humour and fun to the whole experience.

The only really set in stone rule is how you count the grounds that you have ‘hopped’. Typically, you must actually watch a football game – turning up for the commercial tour is not the same as groundhopping in the classical sense. You also need to stay for at least one half of football, though most consider a true groundhopper someone who takes in the full game.

Most of the time, though, you also need to go to see a competitive club match. Friendlies are only counted if you are managing national teams as part of your groundhopping experience. The rules and behaviours change almost entirely, though. Some groundhopping experts give you more kudos for travelling abroad, while others look to only stick to their own country. In short, there are no cut-and-dried rules for getting started as a groundhopper; you just need to be ready to travel. A lot!

What is the point of groundhopping?

The point of groundhopping is basically to go out, have some fun, and see the world. The point is to meet others, to embrace football culture, and to see the sport outside of your own team’s stadium. It allows you to meet new people, travel around the country (or countries), and engage in more enjoyable adventures.

Really, the point is to enhance your culture, to help you see football from new perspectives, and to meet new people. In a way, it’s no different to being a tourist who visits major landmarks around the world, or people who go on trips for things like trainspotting adventures around the globe. The main point is to have fun!

Are there official clubs for Groundhoppers?

Yes there are some offical clubs for groundhoppers, for example: 92 Club: For people have visited all current 92 Premier League and English Football League (EFL) club football grounds in England and Wales.

In Scotland:

38 Club (Deprecated): Based on the 92 Club, there used to be a second British groundhopper club, the "38 Club", for Scottish professional grounds.

In Germany:

Vereinigung Der Groundhopper Deutschlands (VDGD): Germany is one of the few countries that has its own groundhopping association. VDGD was founded in 1993.

In order to become a member, you have to be proposed by one of the members. In order to be suggested to the members for admission, you have visited 300 stadiums at minimum or have visited grounds from 30 different countries.

At the beginning of 2008, there were around 75 official members in VDGD.

What is the 92 club in football?

You might already know that in English football, there are 92 clubs that make up the English Premier League and the English Football League. Across the 20-team Premier League and the three 24-team divisions below, we have 92 storied clubs – and each year, a few fall out of the league to be replaced with new teams entering from the Conference.

People who attend games at all of the 92 available teams at any given time are known as people who are part of The 92 Club. This is a key groundhopping society that means you must attend a game at not one stadium, but all stadiums. This means you need to make as much effort to go to Forest Green Rovers as you do to go to Manchester United.

This has become a major ‘club’ within groundhopping circles that people wish to be part of. It was founded by Gordon Peace, a Bristol Rovers supporter. Given The Gas have jumped from division to division for years, the idea was likely bred from that constant movement from division to division, league to league.

The stadiums change every year, too, because teams are relegated out of the Football League while others come up. A true member of the 92 Club will attend these new grounds as soon as they can into the new season. In terms of being a big part of the groundhopping industry, it would be fair to say that the club has become a key social concept for groundhoppers across the English league.

How do you become a member of the 92 Club?

There is only one main rule for joining 92 Club in Football. Basically, you must have seen a football match at each current stadium in the 4 major football leagues in England: Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two.

If you want to become a member of the 92 club you can use Groundhop to keep track of the grounds you've visited, and see have many of the 92 current grounds you've visited.

The members of the "92 Club" are expected to have basic statistics in which all stadium visits are recorded with date, teams involved, result and number of visitors. However, there is no strict obligation to provide proof.

What is Groundhop and how does it work?

Groundhop is a community of groundhoppers and football enthusiasts socially sharing their football experiences. Groundhop provides a platform for groundhoppers and football enthusiasts to log and rate stadiums they have visited, share pictures of grounds and see what grounds their friends are visiting. It's a crowdsourced database of football stadiums where you can find the information you need to plan your next football trip.

Our mission is to build the most comprehensive guide to football, ever created.

Groundhop is also a good place to research and discover new grounds to visit. You can find guides to popular football stadiums which will help you plan your next football trip, like:

  • How to get tickets for popular matches
  • Travel directions and public transport options
  • Tips and recommendations on where to stay if you are travelling abroad
  • Great bars and other activities near the stadium

Why?

By using Groundhop - you will be opening your eyes to the world of football and give yourself the chance to discover new stadiums at different locations around the world.

What are the main features of Groundhop?

Discover nearby venues and matches

Explore football clubs and stadiums from all around the world.

Find guides to popular football stadiums and clubs

We spend days and weeks gathering infromation about football stadiums. Our goal is to provide all the information you need to plan the perfect football trip.

Collect experiences

Tick off the stadiums you've visited and show off your accomplishment to your friends..

Get recommendations from our community

Read short tips and recommendations written by people all over the world.

How do I get started with groundhopping?

If you want to get involved in the art of groundhopping, then you have many ways that you can do so today without any issue. We recommend that if you want to get started, though, that you look to get involved with clubs in your local vicinity. Let us say you are taking on the English route for groundhopping; what are the 10 most localised stadia to you that are in the EPL/EFL?

Start there, and then use Groundhop to tick off the grounds you have been to. This popular platform gives you an easy way to track and share your progress, but also a pretty simple way for you to get inspired for new grounds and stadia to go and visit in the future.

You should always look to take in the local area, too, when you are groundhopping. If you happen to take on the German stadium groundhopping tour, then you should look to use their excellent public transport system. For the UK, it is likely easier to take the train or, if you can, to drive yourself to each stadium. If you wish to make the experience even more fun, join a groundhopping club or get a friend involved and turn it into a social activity of exploration and adventure.

You’re invited to join the world’s largest community of groundhoppers. Create a free account to get started

Join a community of groundhoppers from all over the world.

Sign up for free