A Lewisham football fanatic is boldly attempting to go to a match every single day of September in a quest which will see him tour south London and beyond.
Toby Palmer, who watches Lewisham Borough FC home and away, said it had been so long without football that when lockdown was finally lifted he came up with the idea of groundhopping across as many football grounds as possible in one month.
The 31-year-old, originally from Wrexham in North Wales but currently living in south east London, said he “wasn’t sure why because it’ pretty stupid,” but that he always wanted to try a ‘month of football’.
So Toby decided to put together a plan for September, mapping out a match of football for every day of the month, consistently mostly of teams within south London, although he has had to widen the net slightly to fill all 30 days.
The games include days out at AFC Wimbledon, Cray Wanderers, West Ham, and even a derby between South West Railway and the British Transport Police, as well as his beloved local team team Lewisham FC.
Toby did have plans for a similar adventure, or a ‘month of football’, in April 2020 with a Dutch fan he knew through work, but this was unfortunately cancelled.
When lockdown was finally lifted and stadiums reopened to fans, Toby launched his plan, and said slowly the fixture lists starting filling up. Luckily, his girlfriend has been “surprisingly” supportive of the venture.
The fun part, Toby said, is getting to go somewhere new pretty much every day, planning the route, checking out the area and the local food, and of course the football.
“As a kid, I got into watching Wrexham and during my time in North Wales I used to travel around the country watching them.
“I loved the idea of supporting my local team and since moving to London eight years ago, it made things hard to see them every week, so I would follow my local London team outside of Wrexham games I could get to.”
He said he followed Wingate and Finchley for around five years, and after moving to Lewisham he started religiously following Lewisham Borough FC.
But “I wouldn’t call myself a ‘groundhopper’, he said.
“For me, the part I love about local football teams is the fans you met and the closeness you can get to the club, it almost feels like a family and you see them every week.
Plus, you can have a pint with the players after the game. Half the premier league players don’t even drink.”
Toby added: “As I expected, I’ve met some great people along the way so far and although tiring at times, it’s been enjoyable.”
The journey ends at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on September 30, but Toby said he’ll likely be back at a game on the Saturday.