Groundhopper Carter’s Reader Report: 7 Games in 10 Days

Carter Lawson · Profile
Groundhopper Carter’s Reader Report: 7 Games in 10 Days

After a slight change of plans, Groundhopper Carter and his dad decided to go on an amazing groundhopping adventure around England, catching 7 games in 10 days!

My name is Carter Lawson and I am the Content and Social Media Director for Groundhopper Soccer Guides. For as long as I can remember, soccer has been a huge part of my family’s life.

My younger brother and I grew up playing soccer, my dad has followed his favorite Premier League team, Arsenal, for over 20 years, and we have been season ticket holders for our hometown team, Sporting KC, for over 10 years. This is all to say that we are really into the game!

Because of this we had made plans earlier this season to see my dad’s favorite team Arsenal, as well as my favorite team Everton when they were scheduled to take on their big Merseyside rivals, Liverpool. This game was also very important for us because we wanted to see Everton’s historic stadium, Goodison Park before they move into the new Everton Stadium following the 2024-25 season. However, as many of you may know, scheduling in English football is a fickle thing, and when Liverpool continued to advance through the FA Cup, their Merseyside Derby with Everton was postponed, meaning we were now left with quite the predicament!

Not many know this, but Everton has spent the most seasons (125 and running) in the top flight of English Football and was a founding member of the Football League in 1888.

Given this new information, we decided to pack as many games into 10 days as we could while traveling through England, starting in Liverpool and ending in London. This not only allowed us to see a ton of teams we had never had the chance to see but also visit several new English cities and towns as well.

Our first game was at my longtime favorite Premier League team, Everton, as they took on West Ham in an attempt to drag themselves away from the relegation zone. Unfortunately for them and me, they fumbled their chances and fell 3-1 to the visitors, which was honestly not a surprise given Everton’s results over the past season. As we left the People’s Club hospitality area (which you can purchase tickets to through Groundhopper Guides) we saw some players driving by and even got a wave from James Tarkowski.

The Royal Dyche, named for former Burnley manager (current Everton manager) Sean Dyche.

Following our Everton game in Liverpool we continued north to the small English town of Burnley for the Burnley vs Bournemouth match. Burnley has gained some American attention recently following the announcement of former American Football player JJ Watt purchasing ownership in the club. Burnley is an interesting situation because the population of the town is near 94,000 and the capacity of their home stadium, Turf Moor, is just under 22,000, meaning on games days nearly 1/4 of the town is at the game! We certainly enjoyed our experience at Turf Moor and even managed to grab a pregame pint at the Royal Dyche, a pub created in honor of their now former coach Sean Dyche. Our seats were in the front row right near the tunnel so we had a great view of the players and of current Burnley manager and former Man City legend, Vincent Kompany.

From Burnley, our journey continued southeast to Sheffield to see newly promoted Sheffield United take on the mighty Arsenal. Our seats in the Tony Currie suite had a great view of the pitch and part of the pregame activities included an interview with former Arsenal and England keeper David Seaman. As my dad is a huge Arsenal fan, we of course had to grab a photo with him following Arsenal’s 6-0 thrashing of the home side.

I’m sure Arsenal was pleased with the goal differential in the table after this one!

Our final game in the northern region of England was in the fifth largest city in the country, Leeds. Leeds had always been high on our groundhopping list simply because we had heard great things about the environment at their home stadium, Elland Road. Our expectations were definitely met when we saw them play Stoke City for a chance at pushing themselves closer to a Premier League promotion. The stadium erupted for the lone goal in their 1-0 victory and they sang “Leeds are falling apart again” in the tune of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a sarcastic response to the Stoke away fans.

Following Leeds’ 1-0 victory we took the train south to London for our next set of games. That day we headed to West London to see QPR take on West Brom. This game had it all: 4 goals, rough fouls, and of course it wouldn’t be an EFL Championship game without a blatant miss from the ref which cost QPR a penalty and a chance at winning the game. Ultimately it ended 2-2, but I’m sure QPR felt a bit robbed by the result.

A piece of history in the Queens Tavern pub, located right next to Loftus Road, home of QPR.

Our groundhopping led us to North London two days later to see Arsenal host fellow London club Brentford. This game was quite significant because if Arsenal managed to win they would go top of the table, clear of both Man City and Liverpool. Arsenal took the lead within 20 minutes, but just before halftime their keeper had an absolute howler of a play resulting in a Brentford goal and ending the half 1-1. For the entirety of the second half, Arsenal attempted to break down the Brentford defense, until Kai Havertz scored Arsenal within the last 10 minutes of the game. The Emirates was absolutely rocking and when the final whistle blew, the celebrations only grew with everyone now knowing they had jumped into 1st!

A rocking Emirates Stadium following the Gunners 2-1 win over Brentford, sending them top of the table!

The next day my dad and I made the impulsive decision to pack in game number 7 on the final day of our trip, by seeing Brighton play Nottingham Forest. Travel from London to Brighton is very simple and all we had to do was catch a train at Victoria Station and the train ultimately drops you off just down the hill from Brighton’s stadium. Although the game itself lacked quality, and Brighton’s 1-0 victory was less than deserved, we both agreed that it was a great decision to travel there to see a game and a great way to end our amazing trip.

This trip was really something quite special to me and I will always cherish those memories I made with my dad enjoying the game we love.

 

 

Written By Carter Lawson
Carter Lawson, Content and Social Media Director · Profile

Post Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered By MemberPress WooCommerce Plus Integration