I have compiled a FAQ type section to explain what the site if about (if that’s needed at all).
What is Football: Discovered?
In short, it is a ‘journal’ recording my groundhopping experience, which began at the start of the 2017/18 season. It is mostly concerned with Welsh domestic football, but there may be occasional posts about grounds in other countries. If I’m on holiday anywhere I’ll try and catch a game.
Why did you start groundhopping?
I’ve always been attracted to the idea of groundhopping and ‘doing the 92’ was a childhood ambition that never got realised for various reasons. Mostly because I have generally just followed the club I support – Cardiff City – at home, with the vary rare venture away.
Last summer Cardiff played a pre-season friendly at a local club, Taffs Well AFC of the Welsh Football League. It was one of my favourite occasions supporting Cardiff, even if the game itself was pretty meaningless. Feeling guilty that I knew very little about the Welsh football scene of the last 20 years (I used to follow the League of Wales in its early years), I decided I would use Cardiff’s ‘away days’ to watch some Welsh League games.
After 2-3 visits I was hooked and every Saturday when Cardiff aren’t at home I’m at a Welsh League game. I also decided writing match reports for Y Clwb Pel-droed (a web magazine dedicated to Welsh domestic football), as I was at the games it seemed like a good way to give something back by giving clubs coverage. That has since developed into a deeper interest in the Welsh League, which admittedly has become a little bit obsessive.
This blog was a way of me giving a bit of extra coverage to the clubs I visit from the perspective of a spectator, as well as trying to offer summarised history of the club, its current status, and where I could get it a perspective from inside the club. The style here is more informal than the writing I do for Y Clwb Pel-droed. It’s not a case of one being better than the other, just different.
What is the ‘Welsh League in 2018 Challenge’?
My wife asked me to make a New Year’s resolution, which is not something I do. To avoid an unnecessary bicker I told I would try to visit every Welsh League ground in 2018 and write about it. So that’s it really.
There are 46 grounds at the time of writing (which could rise with promotion/relegation into the Welsh League). I realise 46 different grounds in a calendar year is a very modest target for a serious groundhopper. However, there are logistical restrictions given I can only really do Saturday and midweek matches, Welsh League fixtures are generally only scheduled on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, there are Saturdays ‘booked’ by Cardiff City fixtures etc.
What is the Welsh Football League (aka Welsh League)?
It’s the largest senior league in Welsh domestic football, comprised of three divisions of 16 teams, operating at tiers 2-4 of the Welsh domestic football pyramid. It covers the whole of the south of Wales. In theory the Welsh League champions (Division One winners) should promote to the Welsh Premier League, but this is dependent on licencing criteria. Below the Welsh League are regional feeder leagues which include the South Wales Alliance League, the Gwenty County League, the Swansea Senior League, the Carmarthenshire League, the Neath & District League and the Pembrokeshire League.
Are there any specific rules in the ‘Welsh League Challenge’?
I haven’t set any. Ideally I will visit each ground for a competitive senior first team match, however I’m open to the possibility of including reserve and youth team fixtures as part of the challenge. The latter don’t count as matches on the Groundhopper app, which is why I say ‘ideally’ visits will be senior first team games.
Useful Welsh football links (this list is not exhaustive and will be amended over time)