2016-2017 – Season Review

Despite feeling quieter than the previous season, the 2016-2017 season has seen me attend a total of 181 games. From the Croatian National Team to Dallas Baptist University Women, Manchester United to Windscale, East Stirlingshire to The University of Bradford Women, the array of teams I’ve watched is very broad.

The 2016-2017 season has seen me leave what was Horden CW and join Easington Colliery. Travelling to Darlington every week wouldn’t be something I would have wanted to do and I knew a good club at Easington were wanting someone to do their media work.

New grounds are something I haven’t done a great lot of this season. I suppose I’m slightly drifting away from the idea of being a groundhopper. I’m still going to quite a few different grounds but there isn’t many of them that are new grounds.

As always, I’ll use this post to look back on the best bits of 2016-2017 with quite a few statistics attached!

Total matches: 181

Total goals: 661

Average goals per game: 3.6519337

Average attendance: 1,533.98

Highest attendance: 65,798 (Manchester United vs Hull City)

Lowest Attendance: 5 (University of Sunderland Women 1sts vs University of Sheffield Women 2nds)

Number of grounds visited: 69

Number of new grounds visited: 17

Number of different leagues watched: 17

Number of different cup competitions watched: 17

Team watched most: Easington Colliery (36 times)

Number of programmes bought: 124

Money spent on programmes: £183.90

Most expensive programme: 10 Euros (Croatia vs Portugal)

Cheapest programme: Several free

Most expensive admission: Of what I’ve actually paid for, it would depend on the exchange rate! Either 25 Euros for Croatia vs Portugal or £21 for Sunderland vs Swansea City

Highest scoring game: University of Sunderland Women 1sts 3-9 Teesside University Women 1sts

Amount of 0-0’s: 9 (Plus another two that were 0-0 before extra-time)

Number of home wins: 81

Number of away wins: 63

Number of draws: 37

Games since a 0-0: 14

Games since the turn of 2017: 86

Televised games: 5 (plus one or two on the Red Button)

Most memorable games:

1) Croatia 0-1 AET Portugal

It couldn’t have been anything else really. The game itself was very dull but it was an occasion I’ll never forget. I keep it saying it but I’ve now been to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and EURO’s. The World Cup would make it a nice package. We travelled over on the day of the game and left Durham at 6:30 in the morning. It was a 21:00 kick-off and meant we wouldn’t get back to our hotel until nearly 1am but it was certainly worth it. An experience I’ll never forget, and I can now say I watched Portugal on their way to winning the EURO’s.

Portugal

2) Manchester United 2-0 Hull City

If I was just in the normal crowd, this certainly wouldn’t have made this list. Football at that level just isn’t my thing but being in an executive box at Old Trafford was quite something. It was an experience in itself to watch a game through glass and have a button which echoed the atmosphere into your box! Again, the game itself wasn’t anything to write home about despite it being a semi-final but it was an enjoyable experience. Mind, I wouldn’t recommend it if you were paying – it’s quite costly!

Manchester

3) Sunderland U23s 0-5 FC Porto B

Picking third for this list was a tricky one but I’ll go with this for two reasons. Firstly, it is because of Porto’s sublime performance and secondly, it is because we were in the press box for quite a big game with 18,000 people in the crowd. Some of the lads who were playing for Port that night will go a long way in the game and were a joy to watch.

Porto3434

Best grounds:

1) Hawick Royal Albert

I didn’t actually get a picture of the stand at Hawick but it is a lovely traditional stand which almost reminds me of Crook Town. Grass banking consists of the rest of the ground with the mass of tree’s behind the far side giving it an almost forest-like appearance.

Hawick

2) To be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of new grounds I’ve done this season which I have really liked. Hawick would always be the winner but I’ve struggled to pick after that. I’ve went with Berwick Rangers as it is quite quirky. Also a speedway stadium, Shielfield Park is not your typical football ground. The terrace on the far side is quite nice and the main stand has something about it while being quite modern at the same time. The only downside is that you’re a distance from the pitch with the speedway track in your way.

Berwick

Biggest surprise

Preston Athletic

Much alike Edinburgh University last year, I wasn’t expecting a great deal from the opening game of the Scottish hop at Preston Athletic but they delivered well. It was organised very well and they did well to cope with the crowd. The main stand was quite a nice seated stand and the rest of the ground was quite simplistic yet effective. It was a fine start to the Lowland League/East of Scotland League groundhop.

Preston

Best goals

Much alike last year, there’s been too many to remember them all! From memory, Michael Osbourne’s goal for Whitehill Welfare at Vale of Leithen was a good strike. I probably have seen better goals but I can’t remember them! I’m sure Beth Hepple will have scored a few screamer.

Best food

Newcastle Benfield for me. Fine chilli and chips.

Best programme

I’ve just quickly flicked through them all and picked a fair few good ones good. They are: Darlington 1883, Preston Athletic, Billingham Town, Cheltenham Town, South Shields, Consett, Hawick Royal Albert, Sunderland and Whitehill Welfare.

1) Cheltenham Town

I know I didn’t manage to get one on the day and I did pick a few things that I thought could be improved about the whole club but this programme was a very good one. It was a special bumper edition and I haven’t seen any of the other editions but 80 pages at £3 in League Two is very good. It’s got a very good design and some very professional content which would keep you reading for quite some time.

Che

2) Darlington 1883

I went for them last year too but their programme really does impress me. I’ve had two copies this year and they’ve both been very good. The Altincham one was outdated but they did put a new cover and manager notes in with it so it was still very good value. It is printed on good quality card and is well designed and easy to read throughout. It’s the sort of programme I wish I could design for Easington but my resources are a bit limited with Microsoft Publisher!

Darlo

3) Hawick Royal Albert

It was far from the thickest programme I’ve had this season but I really liked the front cover. It may have only been 12 pages but they were 12 very good pages and the back cover with the squads was very nice too.

Hawickkkk

Next season

I’ll be once again committed to Easington Colliery next season but I’m bound to still get to quite a few games and a few new grounds. I will still do the Scottish groundhop and possibly another. I’ll be in Holland next month for the Women’s EURO’s where I’m watching England vs Scotland and hopefully some other men’s pre-season friendly. It’s doubtful, but I may even get to Greece vs Estonia in late August.

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who has taken time to read my posts throughout the 2016-2017 season and I hope you follow my journeys next season too.

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