Have you ever counted the number of football grounds you have visited? Have you ever wondered how many you could go to in one season?
Route 66, is the story of Michael Mowbray's challenge to visit all 66 football grounds in Yorkshire during a single season was published this week. The book launch is the culmination of a very busy 18 month period, which ended at the Don Valley Stadium. The book was written following the journey around the 66 football grounds of Yorkshire during the 2011/12 season.
The 66 clubs are from the basement of Step 7 of the Non-League pyramid up to the 9 clubs in the Football League. Chapter 1 started at Eccleshill United in July 2011 and Chapter 66 was in May 2012 for Rotherham United’s last match at the Don Valley stadium. An additional chapter was written following Michael visit to Rotherham United’s New York Stadium in July 2012.
Michael states " as an adopted Yorkshireman I wanted to discover the real Yorkshire through its football clubs and meet the people who depend on their existence. Route 66 will appeal to those fans who understand what supporting a club really means and I hope that my book will tempt others to make that giant leap beyond their Premiership or armchair comfort zone to their local teams. The final game was particularly special so Rotherham United fans will certainly enjoy my book".
Michael watched games from many different perspectives as he toured the 66 grounds in a season. Where his story also differs from a normal ground hopping book is how Michael used the medium of Twitter.
Anyone has been able to follow his journey and the book as it was written. Football fans became involved through social media and in some cases accompanied him to matches so therefore now feature in the book.
The book, which tells the story of each ground, the people he meets, the towns he visits, and of course reports on a few games of football, is a balance between the humour, which was definitely needed attending so many matches, and more serious subjects, such as racism issues in football today and women’s football. This really is an incredible story of one man’s transformation from serial groundhopper to author.
The book will be available from a variety of bookshops priced at £15.99 or at the cheaper price of £9.99 plus P&P by visiting website
Meanwhile, you can do your own route 66 as the clubroute66.co.uk website is due to be launched in the next couple of weeks. The site will allow ground hoppers to create an account and then record the Yorkshire grounds that they have visited towards gaining Bronze, Silver and Gold membership of the club.
Due to the growth in the summer of Step 7 Leagues, and extending the border to historic Yorkshire, there are now 119 clubs to ‘bag’. The aim is to promote Yorkshire football on the world stage, with links already in place with Dutch and German hoppers, and encourage Premiership/Football League fans to try Non League Football.