Watching Soccer In The UK: FAQ

Going to a soccer game is a truly enjoyable experience. Our founder and owner, Paul Gerald, has been to over 150 games at almost 100 different grounds in the UK and Europe. Along the way, he has learned the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about watching soccer, which we are sharing here. If you’d like to know more and perhaps get some help in planning your soccer adventures, check out our consulting services.

 

COMMON QUESTIONS

When is the English soccer season?

The season runs from early August to late May. In the summer, many clubs tour the US as part of their preseason training and exhibition season. Others will have some preseason “friendlies” in the UK in July.

Which leagues and competitions are there?

The Premier League is the one you’ve almost certainly heard of; that’s where you find Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, etc. Beneath that level, there are three more fully professional leagues, known collectively as the English Football League, or EFL. They are called the Championship, League One, and League Two. There are many more levels below that.

Throughout the year there are also Cup and League competitions that overlap the regular league seasons. The FA Cup is a tournament for all clubs in England. The EFL Cup (aka League Cup or Carabao Cup) is for all professional clubs. The Champions League is a European championship. The Europa League and Europa Conference League are lesser European championships.

There are other, smaller ones; for an explanation of how all this works, including how teams move from one league to another, read this much longer post:

A Guide to the Leagues and Cups of English Football

or check out our video:

Why are there some weeks with no league games?

Generally that’s because of an International Break, when players go to play for their home countries. It could also be due to a big weekend of Cup fixtures.

When Are the Next International Breaks in English and European Football?

Do these schedules change?

Absolutely. The Premier League initially announces everything for Saturday at 3 p.m., then a couple months out many of them get moved to Sunday and Monday for TV. Championship games occasionally go to Friday night. Sometimes a team will advance in a Cup and have to move a league match.

When Does TV Change the Premier League Schedule?

How do I decide which game to see?

If you’re set on seeing a particular club, then you’ve made your decision. If you just want to see a game, here is Paul’s process for deciding which games to go see:

Picking The Best English Soccer Game to See

Where should I sit?

If you have a choice on this, it makes all the difference. The short answer is either (A) with the rowdy fans or (B) with a good view of the away fans. Here’s more about how to choose your seat location.

Where to Sit at an English Soccer Game

Is it safe? Are hooligans going to kill me?

Almost completely and without reservation we can say that it’s safe to go to soccer games in England. Just follow these simple suggestions and you’ll be fine.

Is It Safe to Go to English Soccer Games?

 

How can I find out more about each club?

You can become an Ultras member which will give you exclusive access to all of our Club Profiles with detailed information about the history, stadium, songs, and rivals of over 100 clubs in the UK and Europe. You’ll also receive a downloadable copy of the latest edition of our English soccer guidebook.

How do I get tickets?

Buying from Groundhopper Soccer Guides is one great option! We sell tickets and hospitality packages along with the consulting and tours we offer.

For UK leagues other than the Premier League, you can almost always get them straight from the club’s website. For the Premier League, for almost any club you’ve ever heard of, you will probably need to buy a club membership. Even then, it could be tough, and getting more than two regular seats together is virtually impossible.

You can also look into getting a hospitality package, which is a regular seat plus some kind of benefit like access to a lounge. This is our specialty, so be sure to check out all of the clubs where we sell tickets and request a customized quote.

If my trip is truly soccer-focused, as opposed to just working a game into my schedule, when is a good time to go?

Every season, we update this post with a week-by-week overview of when games will be played. Look for times when there are games mid-week.

The holidays are also a great time to watch football in the UK, although beware of some potential travel hassles.

Watching Soccer in England Over the Holidays? Beware These Travel Hassles

This video sums it up:

What does all this cost?

It varies, of course, but we have a whole post about the cost of seeing a game in England.

English Soccer Hospitality Packages: What Do They Cost?

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