Last updated: 4 months ago

Groundhopping: The Ultimate Guide

Groundhopping: The Ultimate Guide

If you're a football enthusiast with a sense of adventure, then groundhopping might just be the perfect hobby for you. Groundhopping, also known as stadium hopping, is the practice of visiting various football stadiums to experience the unique atmosphere, architecture, and culture they offer. In this ultimate guide to groundhopping, we'll provide you with all the essential information you need to dive into the world of groundhopping.

Introduction to Groundhopping

Groundhopping, a captivating pursuit for football enthusiasts, goes beyond the boundaries of traditional fandom. It involves a thrilling journey that transcends the mere act of watching matches. Groundhopping invites individuals to explore the diverse and vibrant world of football by venturing into various stadiums, each with its own unique character and charm.

In this exciting endeavour, groundhoppers become intrepid travellers, navigating through a tapestry of cultures, traditions, and architectural wonders. The allure of groundhopping lies not only in the game itself but in the entire experience – from immersing oneself in the unique atmosphere of different stadiums to engaging with passionate fans who share the same love for the sport.

As you delve into this ultimate guide to groundhopping, you will uncover a wealth of insights, tips, and strategies to make the most of your journey. Whether you're a die-hard football fan or a curious traveller seeking new horizons, groundhopping offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of football across the globe. So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on a captivating exploration of the world of groundhopping.

What exactly 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”.

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.

Groundhoppers generally 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 the point of groundhopping?

Groundhopping transcends the boundaries of a mere spectator sport, offering a rich tapestry of experiences that extend far beyond the confines of the football pitch. It's a journey that allows you to immerse yourself in the essence of different cultures, forge connections with fellow enthusiasts, and create lasting memories that go well beyond the final whistle.

Cultural Immersion: Groundhopping is an opportunity to become a cultural explorer. It enables you to delve into the unique traditions, customs, and rituals that surround football in different regions. From the lively chants of passionate supporters to the local delicacies enjoyed at stadiums, each aspect contributes to a deeper understanding of the communities that breathe life into the beautiful game.

Architectural Marvels: Football stadiums are more than just venues for matches; they are architectural marvels that reflect the history and identity of a place. Groundhopping allows you to appreciate the intricate designs, structural innovations, and historical significance of stadiums, showcasing the convergence of sports and art.

Global Connections: As you traverse different stadiums and engage with fans from various walks of life, you'll find yourself building connections that transcend borders. The universal language of football creates an instant bond, facilitating interactions and friendships that can span continents.

Collecting Memories: Each groundhopping adventure leaves you with a treasure trove of memories. From the exhilaration of witnessing a last-minute goal to the laughter shared with newfound friends, these moments become cherished stories that you can recount for years to come.

In essence, groundhopping is a gateway to a world of discovery, connection, and enrichment. It transforms the act of watching a football match into an immersive journey that broadens horizons, deepens cultural appreciation, and reinforces the notion that the universal passion for football knows no bounds.

The point of groundhopping is basically to go out, have some fun, and see the world. The point is to meet others, 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. The main point is to have fun!

The history of groundhopping.

Groundhopping, as a phenomenon, emerged during the 1970s in England and later gained momentum in Germany from the late 1980s. Today, the presence of groundhoppers is a common sight at both major and minor stadiums, particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

Origins and Evolution:

The concept of groundhopping began to take shape earnestly during the 1970s when fans started travelling to stadiums to support their teams. This culture of "away days" emerged as a product of the 1970s and onwards. Despite the widespread practice of travelling to various grounds across England, the term "groundhopping" wasn't commonly used back then. Fans were merely following their teams across the UK to witness football matches. By the mid-70s, Geoff Rose proposed the idea of commemorating those who attended all 92 clubs' stadiums in the English Football League, leading to the formation of the Club 92 community by Gordon Pearce in 1978. While many embraced the concept of groundhopping, enthusiasts began venturing abroad as well. The 1990 FIFA World Cup inspired Germans to join the groundhopping movement, culminating in the formation of the Vereinigung der Groundhopper Deutschlands (V.d.G.D.) in 1992, which features an impressive list of 300 grounds to visit.

Global Reach and Impact:

Initially born in Britain, the culture of groundhopping quickly found its way to Germany, where it also took hold. While this phenomenon has extended worldwide, its strongest foothold can be observed in the United Kingdom and Germany. This prevalence owes itself to the robust away day football culture and the historical significance of teams within their respective league systems, providing captivating journeys for football aficionados.

What are the rules of groundhopping?

There is no universal set or fixed rules for groundhopping, and how to count 'hopped grounds’. However, a commonly acknowledged unwritten rule is that a stadium can be ticked off the list only if a full 90-minute football match has been witnessed there.

While the concept of groundhopping carries a sense of playfulness, there are informal rules that enthusiasts often adhere to. Chief among these is the requirement to genuinely engage with the experience. Attending a commercial tour doesn't equate to traditional groundhopping; instead, one must actively watch a football match, preferably staying for at least one-half of the game, if not the entire game.

Moreover, groundhopping typically entails attending competitive club matches rather than friendlies, though variations exist. In essence, there are no rigid prerequisites for becoming a groundhopper; readiness to embark on extensive journeys remains a defining characteristic of this engaging pursuit.

Official clubs for Groundhoppers

There are some official clubs for groundhoppers, for example, The 92 Club: For people who have visited all current 92 Premier League and English Football League (EFL) club stadiums 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 football stadiums in Scotland.

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.

How do I get started with groundhopping?

If you want to get involved with groundhopping, then you have many ways that you can do so today without any issues. We recommend that if you want to get started, though, you look to get involved with grounds 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.

Planning Your Groundhopping Adventure(s)

Embarking on a football trip opens the door to a world of passion and exploration. Here, we outline essential steps to make the most of your groundhopping experience.

Finding Matches to Attend:

The heart of groundhopping lies in attending live football matches. Whether you're drawn to local league clashes or international showdowns, staying updated with match schedules is essential. Utilise online platforms, club websites, and fan forums to access accurate and current information about upcoming matches. This step allows you to curate your itinerary and select matches that align with your preferences and availability.

Researching Stadiums and Locations:

Each stadium boasts its own distinct charm and history. Before setting out on your groundhopping journey, delve into the architectural marvels, historical significance, and cultural attributes of the stadiums you plan to visit. Understanding the local context enhances your appreciation for the experience. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the locations of the stadiums, considering factors such as accessibility, transportation options, and surrounding attractions. This knowledge enables you to navigate seamlessly and make the most of your time.

Popular Destinations for Groundhoppers

An integral facet of the groundhopping adventure involves traversing a diverse array of stadiums. Groundhoppers take immense satisfaction in "ticking off" stadiums from their lists, weaving together a rich tapestry of football memories. If you're curious to discover the stadiums that have captured the attention of fellow groundhoppers, you can delve into the comprehensive list of Most Visited Stadiums. This compilation highlights the stadiums that most groundhoppers have visited.

Common Questions About Groundhopping:

How do I find matches to attend during my groundhopping adventure?

You can use online platforms (such as Groundhop), club websites, and forums to discover upcoming matches.

Is groundhopping suitable for solo travellers?

Certainly! Many individuals embark on solo groundhopping journeys to fully immerse themselves in the experience.

Can I participate in groundhopping even if I'm not a die-hard football fan?

Yes, groundhopping offers a lot more than just football – you'll experience local traditions, architecture, and more.

How do I ensure a safe groundhopping experience in unfamiliar areas?

Prioritise safety by researching local surroundings beforehand and refraining from wearing merchandise of the opposing team, especially in potentially passionate crowds. This will contribute to a more seamless and secure groundhopping adventure.

Remember, groundhopping opens the door to novel experiences and the creation of lasting memories. Don't hesitate to delve into the world of football from an entirely fresh perspective!


8 months ago