I’ve visited more than 200 football grounds across the world…the UK’s best stadium isn’t even in the Premier League


ONE football super fan has visited more than 200 grounds in the world and claims the UK’s best stadium isn’t even in the Premier League.

Sam Mills, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, spends his weekends travelling to new grounds and says he has watched a match at every step of the English football pyramid.

CatersNon-league-loving Sam Mills has visited over 200 football grounds in his lifetime[/caption]

CatersThe 23-year-old has now reviewed over 130 non-league grounds in the UK[/caption]

CatersSam says he has watched footy at every step of the English football pyramid[/caption]

The 23-year-old has now reviewed over 130 non-league grounds in the UK and has set out on a mission to visit them all.

The footy fanatic has since spent over £3,000 on the hobby and has travelled over 13,500 miles.

Sam said: “My real love for groundhopping came once lockdown restrictions were lifted. Then, I started driving to and watching non-league football.

“I’ve watched football all around Europe, but when it comes to non-league, I’ve watched football at every step, from the very top at the Premier League all the way down to free village football all over the UK.

“I have visited over 200 grounds in my lifetime so far from the likes of Lyon in France, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, Stade Nyonnais in Switzerland to Watford!”

Sam decided to set himself the challenge of visiting every single non-league stadium in the UK.

There are estimated to be 7,000 non-league men’s teams in 57 leagues across 84 divisions, according to the FA.

He has already ticked off a whooping 130 of them, spending about £3,000 on his travels.

Sam started a social media account to review the stadiums and he has gained over 30,000 followers with five million views.

He aims to encourage more people to give non-league football a watch and hopes that his series has helped some of the clubs that he has reviewed gain some exposure.

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Sam said: “I want to encourage people to get out there and help support grassroots football by visiting some of these non-league grounds. I have currently visited over 130 non-league grounds, filming all around the UK.

“I do it to help publicise the local football clubs, encouraging people to support their local clubs. These local communities rely on public support.

“The characters you meet along the way – the volunteers, the fans etc., all whose lives revolve around their local team. They have stories they could talk about for hours that are so interesting.

“To this day, I still get blown away with some of the history and tales behind clubs.

“I could talk about non-league for days, I live for it! Getting messages from people saying that off the back of one of my videos they’ve gone along to a game and have now started watching their local team is the best feeling ever!

“The original idea came from visiting Watchet Town FC [Somerset] when I was on a weekend away with my family. We stood on the ground behind one goal, not too far away from the edge of a cliff.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world! Just travelling around eating, drinking and watching footy is the dream.

“The major difficulty is fitting the games in around my full-time job.

“To be honest, it’s a hobby that I enjoy, so it’s hardly a chore researching about football, travelling to games, watching a match, meeting new football fans and having a burger and a pint!

“At the moment I go at least once a week consistently, but over this Bank Holiday I managed to squeeze in 5 games in 5 days!”

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Sam judging criteria includes atmosphere, the quality of the ground, and food and drink.

Sam’s top 10 visited stadiums

1. Ribbesford Meadows (Bewdley Town) 9.8/10
2. Doniford Road (War Memorial Ground) (Watchet Town) 9.7/10
3. Cadbury Recreation Ground (Cadbury Athletic) 9.5/10
4. The Recreation Ground (Llansantffraid Village) 9.4/10
5. Deva Stadium (Chester FC) 9.3/10
6. Latimer Park (Kettering Town) 9/10
7. St James Park Brackley (Brackley Town) 8.9/10
8. HDAnywhere Community Stadium (Malvern Town) 8.7/10
9. Haig Avenue (Southport) 8.6/10
10. Homers Heath (Buckland Athletic) 8.5/10

CatersSam at Stourbridge FC in West Midlands[/caption]

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