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Around four years ago I (Adrian Taylor) decided to fulfil a long time ambition of mine to join ‘The 92 Club’ and visit/attend a first team match at all of the 92 Premier League and Football League grounds.
I worked out that I had already visited 31 grounds whilst following both Halifax Town and Manchester United home and away during the 1990’s and 2000’s. I had actually been to several more grounds than 31 (43 in fact) including Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield, Leicester City, Arsenal, Huddersfield Town, Rotherham United, Reading, Manchester City, West Ham United, Southampton, Stoke City and Coventry City but these clubs had all built new stadiums that I had to re-visit.
In the last week of season 2012-13 I started my quest by knocking off Accrington Stanley and Huddersfield Town. During the 2013-14 season I went to a further 10 grounds taking the total to 43. At this stage there was no science behind the order in which I visited grounds; with so many to go at I scoured the fixtures a few weeks ahead and then started looking at the cost of trains and obtaining a ticket etc. I enjoyed deciding where to go on a particular Saturday and then planning the trip.
“Only 6 grounds left to visit – Grimsby Town (who had just been promoted back into the Football League), Southampton, Yeovil Town, West Ham United, Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth”
I decided to hit the 2014-15 season hard and managed to do 25 grounds including Reading where I met Bill Oddie. And another 18 grounds followed in 2015-16 including Wycombe Wanderers where I almost missed my train back into London but managed to get a lift to the train station with a chap who turned out to be one of the Directors of the club.
So with the total standing at 86, the 2016-17 season arrived with only 6 grounds left to visit – Grimsby Town (who had just been promoted back into the Football League), Southampton, Yeovil Town, West Ham United, Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth. I did the first 5 without too much trouble although I had to become a member at Arsenal even though the likelihood is I will never go there again.
DO YOU HAVE A SPARE TICKET?
And that brings me to AFC Bournemouth and The Vitality Stadium, being stranded on 91 grounds and hence this article. Unfortunately, due to the relatively small capacity at The Vitality for a Premier League stadium it’s proving to be very difficult to obtain a ticket. I have written to the club ticket office and spoken with them and I have also tried websites like Viagogo and have even tried buying a ticket in the away section through visiting clubs. All to no avail and hence this article. So if you have a spare ticket for any of the Middlesboro, Stoke, Burnley games then send Adrian a text or ring him on 07941897670.
THE WORST AND BEST STADIUMS
In terms of the worst and best stadiums visited, I would say Kenilworth Road and Fratton Park were the worst with The Emirates being the best (although the padded seats did not make up for the lack of atmosphere and cost). The longest trip was Swansea City by train which seemed to take forever on a cold and wet February day and the best atmosphere/experience I would say was at Leicester City in their Premier League winning season, unless Bournemouth can top this!?!? Memorable experiences/highlights have been a 4-4 draw at Carlisle United and seeing a very impressive AFC Bournemouth crush Blackpool 6-1 at Bloomfield Road which I think must have been in their Premier League promotion season.