I am a fanatic groundhopper and have been since my mid-teenage years. Obviously, I am also a big football (soccer) fan, but groundhopping is something very distinct.
Groundhoppers try to either visit each football stadium/ground at least once, or they have a list of grounds/stadiums they wish to visit and try to complete that list. They literally “hop” from ground to ground.
Groundhopping does not have a fixed set of rules, groundhoppers each set their own rules for when a ground or stadium is “visited”. Some consider a ground to visited as soon as they have been to the ground or stadium, others only consider the ground/stadium as visited if they have attended an actual game there. Some others add additional criteria.
Personally, I consider a ground as visited as soon as I actually visited the ground (I tend to make lots of photos of each ground I visit). This means I also include grounds I visited without an actual game.
Some people visit only real stadiums or games from a certain level onwards. I however try to visit all grounds I can. This means I will visit the Camp Nou, Old Trafford or Johan Cruyff ArenA, but just as well grounds used by teams in the lowest divisions of a country’s football pyramid, or even grounds used by so-called “pub teams” (recreational teams). To me, it all counts, from huge beautiful stadiums to small grounds without any stands or facilities. As a lover of Futsal, I also include indoor sporting arenas where Futsal is played, to me that is a “ground” just as well.
Some people try to visit all grounds within a certain league or division. It is popular amongst groundhoppers to try to visit all grounds of the 92 clubs in the English Football League, or to visit all grounds in the professional league divisions of a certain. Some groundhoppers expand this into the amateur divisions and lower leagues of a country, trying to visit all grounds in a certain division. Other groundhoppers don’t try to complete divisions, but make up lists of grounds and stadiums that interest them personally, with the aim of visiting all of those. I am in the latter category.
I will add that I am a bit of an atypical football fan. I love the game a lot, but I have experienced enough hardships in life to put football in perspective. I love attending games, and I love seeing a team I love win games, but I won’t cry or be in a bad mood when a team I love loses a game. I also think it is perfectly fine to support several teams, especially when they don’t play in the same division or same league.
What I love about groundhopping is the discovery of new grounds each time I hit the road, meeting people at the game I would have probably never met otherwise, and visiting towns and villages I would have never visited if it wasn’t for their football ground.
Below is a series of reports I made of games I attended. Note these are no tintending to be professional match reviews, they are reports of my personal experiences visiting these games.
All of the reports are in Dutch, unless specified otherwise.