Tuesday, 4 June 2019

MY 2018/19 SEASON REVIEW

It's been another enjoyable but expensive season. Over a total of 138 games, the costs have been a whopping £3563. Tickets have not been too pricey - a total of £968 which have included 16 games for free, the most expensive being a still fairly reasonable £22, this equates to an average of £7 a game. 'Extras' costs have been £382, though I have been sneaky with this - not including any real cider or times where I have had something special for food and also omitting some costs when Wycombe gain a positive result. It does include programmes though and works out at just under £3 per game. The big killer has been travel - fares for trains, buses and coaches, any hotels needed for overnight stops, petrol and for the first time ever, servicing and parts costs. I've not included tax, insurance or car depreciation in this, as some costs of owning a car are unavoidable. But it's by far the biggest cost factor, at £16 per game and is something that I am looking to fix next season. Certainly, I've not taken the servicing costs into consideration when asking my fellow hoppers for 'petrol' money and in some cases, I'll have ended up paying more than they did. I've worked out my costs to be 20p a mile, around 13.5p a mile in fuel and 6.5p in servicing and parts and will be using that as a barometer of both what to ask for in 'petrol' money and also when making a decision to go via public transport - or indeed whether to go to a game at all.

Surprisingly out of my two regular hopping partners, given that one hopper has a limited budget and the other is pretty generous, they both work out at the average cost of £26 or £27 a game. I assume that's because the more generous hopper lives much further away (meaning I have to spend more to get to them) and also the fact that our trips are much longer means that the servicing costs that I didn't factor in until season end are much higher. Driving to games on my own also works out at an average of £27 a game, this is due to me keeping costs down by driving fewer miles. Going via public transport (be it supporters coach, Groundhop UK coach or normal public transport) has cost me on average £30 a game all-in - the costs being pushed up by a long trip to Scotland with a plush hotel to pay for too. By far the cheapest way, unsurprisingly, has been walking to Wycombe games at an average of £15 all-in. This equates to £12 ticket cost and £3 on food and drink. Due to the dire pub selection in Wycombe, this is often cans from Lidl which keeps the odds down, as does 'treating myself' should we win. Overall, on average, football is costing me £26 a game - a figure that I want to get down next season. But now onto something more positive and the awards for the season.

FAVOURITE NEW GROUND - RAMSGATE
I've been looking to visit here for some while and when I got around to finally visiting Southwood, I was not disappointed. Extensive terracing and plenty of character as well as being close to a great town with a wide range of pubs were the main good points.



BEST DAY OUT - DONCASTER v WYCOMBE
A 3-0 defeat for my team might not sound like a great day out, but this was about so much more than the football. I went on the Independent Supporters coach, which always stops at a pub. These vary in quality but are generally reasonable. The one we stopped at before this game was excellent, with a great range of cider and superb. The best part of the day though was catching up with my mate Ben and his Dad, both of whom I'd not seen in a few years, these factors meaning that the result didn't matter, especially given the respectable performance.



BEST PROGRAMME - ROYAL WOOTON BASSETT TOWN
There's a lot of love for programmes on Twitter, although let's be honest, most of them are pretty dire with plenty of adverts and minimal reading material. It just seems like clubs are forced to put them out as a token effort and this shows. As a result, I don't always buy one now. One happy exception to this is Royal Wooton Bassett Town. This well-presented issue had plenty of stats, a good amount to read and was available for a very reasonable £1.50.



BEST GAME - AFC UCKFIELD 4-3 LANGNEY WANDERERS
This fantastic and pulsating contest was part of a Bank Holiday double and was the morning game. It was played in the right spirit, the referee letting the game flow and those in attendance being rewarded with rich entertainment. Sadly most games were run of the mill, though that does make games like this all the more special.



BEST GOALS - KINTBURY RANGERS
Either two of the ones for Kintbury Rangers against Shrewton United in a Friday night game I went to. One of 16 games where I got in for free, I was lucky enough to get both of the efforts on camera.


BEST TEA BAR - WORCESTER PARK
Not much debate here, Worcester Park were the clear winners with a superb range at great prices. You had to wait for everything to be cooked, but what came out was delicious.



BEST PUB - THE HARP, COVENT GARDEN
As usual, club bars were much of a muchness this season. But pubs on the other hand. There's probably been a couple with a better cider selection, but for overall consistency, my regular London pit stop of The Harp in Covent Garden is hard to beat. The landlord is very friendly and it's also very easy to check out what is on tap before I visit.



BEST SOCIAL MEDIA - SHEPPEY UNITED
As well as keeping people informed, Sheppey was also one of the few clubs that were kind enough to retweet this blog, meaning that I got a mammoth 1,616 views for this entry. By comparison, my second most read blog was my Bemerton Heath Harlequins on with 426 views, the latest one at Eton Wick getting 93 views which just shows what sharing can do. Sadly, most don't bother, which is a shame.

PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON

I've already been putting plans into place for next season and I'm hoping to start with Retford United v Mansfield Town on Friday 28th June, should it not be called off or my planned passenger has something come up. I also plan to be more cost-effective next season - a local team Prestwood, have a railed pitch and this is one that I plan to visit with the day out costing next to nothing as it is walkable from home and free entry. Overall, I plan to go for quality over quantity - the new Tottenham Hotspur ground will hopefully see me re-complete the 92, whilst Scarbrough Athletic will see me complete down to step 3 as things stand at this time. Megabus was a great find last season with a return to Newcastle being around £20 from London and it's certainly something I'm planning to use again. 

I had a great time on Groundhop UK's hops last season, although the dates didn't always fall as I'd like with Wycombe home games - a shame, as it's cost-effective 'ticking' multiple grounds for one lot of travel costs. In terms of Wycombe away games, there are 10 that I really fancy going to, the most anticipated being Blackpool, now that the Oyston's have finally departed - I've not been for around 16 years and accommodation up there is plentiful and cheap. Abroad, I'm hoping for a revisit to Frankfurt, a Eurostar to 'any Belgian station' -possibly covering multiple countries. I'd also like to do a really cheap country - somewhere over the Eastern side of Europe, although I've not really set my sights on anywhere in particular.

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