Around this time last year I wrote my 2010/11 preview post for what I expected my season to be. It was hard to write anything substantial as I really didn’t know what I’d be doing with my life after graduating from uni. Fast forward to now and again this season preview will be hard to write but for completely different reasons! With a job in the big city and spare time really at a premium, here’s what you regular readers (it’s probably just me, to be honest) can expect from The Travelling Fan for 2011/12.
1) London Town, London prices
As I’ll actually be living right in London, I will have to pay a shit load out in rent, bills and the like. Therefore, I really don’t know how many games I will be at this season, although the target is to match last season’s haul of 39. What will also stop me occasionally is my study towards an accounting qualification which means so weekends spent in the classroom learning about stuff like FRS 4 and how that affects shareholders’ funds. (It’s a good read actually FRS 4, check it out)
2) New Leagues!
There WILL be football though, so don’t worry regulars, reports from some places you have never heard of and never visit will be coming. There is also some new leagues that I will be getting into as the highlights of the South East are now within touching distance. 2010/11 saw lots of SWPL and Western League grounds and this season will see some Hellenic League, Wessex League, Combined Counties and the famous Essex Senior and Olympian Leagues.
(Essex Ladz! Coming to Travelling Fan for 2011/12)
3) New Sports! (Honestly this time)
When I wrote my season review in June last year I mentioned that I would be taking in new sports to write some more reports about and in the end, I only got to one, in July. This season, I do intend to get to some new places and take in sports that I know little about and see how it goes! Along with the normal Rugby League, I’m aiming for; Basketball, Ice Hockey, Horse and Dog racing and hopefully some others that might just turn up along the way!
4) Danger! Danger! Grounds in trouble!
Over the years, some absolutely classic grounds have sadly left us as teams have moved onto more modern grounds while others have been very lucky to move away from some utter shitholes to better things. That being said, I have missed some classic grounds since I started writing this blog (e.g, Chesterfield’s Saltergate and Hayes & Yeading’s Church Road) mainly due to the fact I didn’t have the money or the time to have a trip to these grounds. Now I do though (in theory) so this will not happen anymore! And the following grounds are high on my visit list this season due to their short expected life span:
- Worcester City (St George’s Lane) – Ground is an absolute classic and in danger as Worcester have problems between them and property developers St Modwen who they have sold the ground to.
- Kentish Town (Copthall Stadium) – Ground may not disappear but with Rugby Union side Saracens looking to move in and upgrade the athletics ground, KT may be kicked out. They do have some land they and a local youth team can build on, but with no money, will this ever happen?
- Livingston (Almondvale Stadium) – Late last season some news from way left field came out that Livi were set to sell their Almondvale Stadium (only 16 years old) to a supermarket to finance a new ground a mile away. This means it could be a scamper up to Edinburgh to take in a Scottish 1st Division match or, hopefully, vs Hearts in the Scottish Cup.
- Harwich and Parkeston (Royal Oak) – I hear y’all now, “WHO!?” H&P are a club currently struggling in Essex and Suffolk Border League and play at their classic Royal Oak ground. However, a club who reached the FA Amateur Cup Final in 1953 but lost to Pegasus AFC in front of a crowd of 100,000 are not looking in good shape and a visit to their run down ground is also high on my list.
5) There’s still some Devon games!
My season officially kicks off on 16th July, although I don’t know where yet! I do know however that it will be in Devon as July & August will see me visit some of my last Devonian grounds for some time and bid good-bye to a region that I have found some absolute gems in.
6) Current List of games (subject to a LOT of change and awaiting fixture lists!)
16th July – PSF (either Liverton Utd, Budleigh Salterton, Topsham Town or Bideford)
26th July – Ottery St Mary vs Exeter City XI
30th July – Wadebridge Town vs Hallen (unlikely if I go to Otters on 26th)
6th Aug – Heavitree Social United vs Budleigh Salterton
9th Aug – Exeter City vs Yeovil Town (Carling Cup R1)
20th Aug – Sidmouth Town vs Exeter Civil Service
27th Aug – Galmpton United vs Ottery St Mary
10th Sep – FA VASE QUALIFYING ROUND 1
17th Sep – Dag & Red vs Morecambe
5th Nov – 4 Nations Rugby League @ Wembley
28th Jan – Crawley Town vs Morecambe
11th/18th Feb – Livingston vs Partick Thistle/Raith Rovers
17th Mar – Barnet vs Morecambe
24th Mar – Millwall vs Leeds United
21st Apr – Gillingham vs Swindon Town
7) And Finally…
Hope everyone out there enjoys the football this season! And if you do read my blog or follow on Twitter, leave some comments! I read them all and take them into consideration! Lets get going!