exterior of The Glassblower Pub on Brewer Street London holiday lights

I am about to embark on another festive season soccer run to England, and this one is another perfect example of why the holidays are such a great time to be in England for soccer games.

And it’s not just me. From December 22 to January 3 I’ve got 33 consulting and ticket clients going to games, as well!

Here is a rundown — not for bragging (much) but mainly to explain why this is one of the best times to go over for a trip.

Home ground of Dulwich Hamlet, a National League South side in South London.

Boxing Day: Dulwich Hamlet, back in their home ground, host Eastbourne Borough in the National League South. Non-league action! And here’s a great story from The Guardian all about The Hamlet’s saga.

Meanwhile, I have clients at Spurs, Liverpool, Fulham and Manchester United.

December 27: Southampton v West Ham. I’ve been to Southampton before, but this is mainly to check out a new hospitality package we’re offering. Stay tuned.

December 28: No games. I guess I’ll just have to entertain myself in London!

December 29: Groundhop 1 kicks off, with a crew of us meeting for breakfast, taking the stadium tour at Arsenal, then heading out to Wembley Stadium to see Spurs host Wolverhampton. Other clients on this day will be at Liverpool and Fulham.

When in London, be sure to get to Selhurst Park to see Crystal Palace.

December 30: It’s Day 2 of Groundhop, with several of us attending Crystal Palace’s game with Chelsea.

December 31: No games. More London.

January 1: I will be doing more of Groundhop 1, with a non-league London doubleheader. The National League (tier five of the pyramid) is doing this great thing where local derbies are happening on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. We’re catching Leyton Orient v Dagenham and Redbridge, followed by Bromley v Sutton United. Each of those are rematches from December 26 at the opposite ground. Several clients will be at Arsenal-Fulham.

January 2: My buddy and I take a train to Manchester, then spend the evening seeing Huddersfield Town host Burnley. Clients are at Chelsea-Southampton.

We’ll be in these seats for Man City v Liverpool on my tour!

January 3: The Big One. Groundhop 1 continues again, with a trip to the National Football Museum in Manchester, followed by a tour of Old Trafford, dinner in Chinatown, then a potential title decider in Manchester City vs Liverpool. They can’t have another 0-0, can they?

January 4: The Magic of the FA Cup enters, as Tranmere Rovers — a League Two outfit in the Liverpool area — host mighty Tottenham Hotspur. Tickets will be super hard, but I have faith. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always London again!

The Valley at Charlton Athletic.

January 5: If Ticket Miracle #1 came through and we’re still in the northwest, we’ll shoot for Ticket Miracle #2, as Blackpool of League One host mighty Arsenal in the Cup. Otherwise, we will be waking up in London and heading for one of these games:

  • Charlton v Sunderland, where thousands of Mackems will be filling The Valley with noise.
  • Gillingham v Cardiff, League One hosting the Premier League again.
  • Brentford v Oxford United, mainly to see grand old Griffin Park again before they tear it down.
  • Chelsea v Nottingham Forest, if only because my top-tier Centenary hospitality package is $150 for this one.
  • Bristol City v Huddersfield Town, Premier League visiting Championship in a very cool town not far from London.
  • Norwich City v Portsmouth, because Norwich is an amazing town and because Portsmouth sold 2,700 tickets for this one in a matter of hours.

Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers.

January 6: If I can get tickets for Woking v Watford I’m all over it. That’s a Premier League club dropping down five divisions to face a National League South side that doesn’t even have online ticket sales! Seriously, they had a note on there saying that season ticket holders looking for a Watford FA Cup ticket should just talk to some lady in the club bar! Plan B on this day is probably QPR v Leeds, because Leeds will pack their end of the very fun Loftus Road.

January 7: I might try to swing up for Wolves v Liverpool in the FA Cup, but that ticket will be hard, and at some point you just want a day off … don’t you?

January 8: My buddy leaves, and if I’m hardcore I might actually talk myself into Southend United v Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy. Is that worth a two-hour trip?

January 9-11: London. Resting.

January 12: A fairly full slate of league games, and I will probably stay close to London to save money and effort while checking off a new ground. This probably means a trip to Ipswich Town, one of two Championship grounds (with Middlesbrough) I haven’t been to. But it could mean Wycombe Wanderers, Swindon Town, Bath City, Bellericay Town, Dartford, Hampton and Richmond, or Oxford City.

January 13: Rest.

January 14: Fly home.

Buy The Groundhopper Guide to Soccer in England

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