Paul’s Soccer Stories

Author Paul Gerald shares his adventures from seeing more than 100 games all over England.

Going to a Game at Luton Town FC

December 7, 2019

There’s a funny thing that happens when one says the word “Luton” to English people. Almost as a reflexive response, and virtually without fail, they wince, and one of the words they then say is “shithole.” And that’s just about the town; ask them about the football ground, and they look like they might be sick.…

My English Soccer Pin Badge Collection

November 17, 2019

Here is my pin badge collection, as of February 2020, from the English soccer clubs I have visited since 2014--in the order I went to them. As of February 2020, I have seen 126 games at 69 different grounds around England and Wales, including 63 of the 92 league grounds and all of the clubs…

A football stadium with the words The Den written on the seats.

English Soccer Connections: When I Met a Sober Millwall Fan

November 15, 2019

Among the great traditions of my English soccer trips is meeting friends of friends on arrival in London. My first night in London, mostly to stay awake, but also to meet some locals and maintain my sanity a bit, I went to a 12-Step meeting in Tottenham. There, I had the usual conversation -- what…

Vanishing Tradition: Talking Footy at UK Customs

November 15, 2019

I'm starting to really miss going through customs in the UK. The new kiosks are screwing everything up -- and making life simpler and smoother. Whatever. Other than the excitement of arriving in my tied-for-favorite country, the U.K. Border Force was also my first chance to talk footy with English blokes. (Sometimes it's a lady,…

Groundhopping Adventures: From London to Birmingham, Feeling at Home

November 15, 2019

As I get a little better at these groundhopping football trips, I find myself getting into the groove with UK transit. For example, second morning of this trip, it's off to Birmingham to see the Blues play Cardiff. I started in West Norwood, the South London home of my English family, and without giving it…

Re-Post from 2014: I’m an Honorary Mackem!

November 15, 2019

Re-posting this from one of my first English soccer trips, back in January 2014: I have a friend who refers to her higher power as "perfect timing." You know the feeling, when everything clicks into place and magic flows? Well, that has happened to me on this trip, and I didn't even know it was…

My MLS Cup 2015 Diary:
Or, The Timbers’ Big Night in Columbus

November 15, 2019

A re-post from 2015 ... What is it like when your team wins the championship? Beyond description, really -- but that didn't deter me from writing this diary of my experience watching the Portland Timbers win the 2015 MLS Cup in Columbus, Ohio. Saturday 5 p.m. I finish a 12-hour shift driving a taxi, hand…

English Soccer Tour: Into Bolton

November 15, 2019

Friendly little Bolton is like many medium-sized English cities I've been to on my soccer tours. Imagine a college town like Eugene, Oregon, but with an industrial past and an active train station in the middle of it. (Update: This post was written in December 2015, and I haven't been back to Bolton since. So…

Seeing a Game at Bolton Wanderers FC

November 15, 2019

(This post was originally written in December, 2015, and updated in September 2020. Bolton are down in League Two for the 2020-21 season.) I have always said that if you're going to watch an English soccer game, don't sit with the away fans unless you're one of them. Generally, this is true because the away…

European Super League teams manchester united

Different Worlds: Seeing a Game at Manchester United

October 6, 2019

Sitting up high on the Stretford End at Old Trafford feels like being in the middle of several worlds at once. In my immediate surroundings, my village if you will, are others like me, folks who bought a hospitality package because it was the only reliable way in, or maybe because we wanted a warm,…

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