The cover is all done for the 2020-21 edition of my English soccer guidebook.
The Groundhopper Guide to Soccer in England gets an update for every season, with new club profiles added annually to go with information like a look at the current schedule, a history of the game, a guide to all the leagues and cups, some of my stories and many other tidbits.
The goal is to help you know more about what you’re seeing when you watch English soccer, and inspire you to travel over there, go to games in person, and connect with the people around you.
This year’s edition profiles 68 clubs plus Wembley Stadium. The new entries since last season are Grimsby Town, Luton Town, Oldham Athletic, Preston North End, Tranmere Rovers, and Wycombe Wanderers. I was hoping to add a lot more, but, you know…
So, looking at this year’s cover (right):
The upper-left photo is part of my badge collection, which now has more than 70 items in it (I’ve been to more than 100 games all over the UK.) Top-center is from a Crystal Palace home game against Southampton, sitting in hospitality seats I sell at Selhurst Park. Top-right, of course, is from Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
Across the bottom row, left to right:
First up is a favorite photo of mine that seems to capture the old-fashioned nature (flat caps!) of lower-league football, the community aspect, the excitement of a derby (packed stands) and the spirit of getting beyond the big six clubs. Anyway, it’s from my trip to Grimsby Town of League Two for their derby with Scunthorpe United.
Bottom-center would be equally hard to figure out, unless you’re a Charlton Athletic fan and might somehow recognize the away end at The Valley. Those are Leeds United supporters behind their goalkeeper. And the bottom-right image, yum, is from Tottenham’s new stadium, where the food options are truly on a different level from any other place I’ve been.