Non League Daily

A groundhopper with a difference!

Ramsbottom United's Harry Williams Riverside Stadium provided the setting for a dedicated Groundhopper's 108th different ground, but this is no ordinary Groundhopper.

Every season Joachim Aasan makes several trips across the North Sea from his home in Oslo, Norway.  His latest saw him take in three different games, including Mossley's Evo-Stik Northern Premier League fixture with Spennymoor United and the Northern League game between Morpeth Town and Marske United.

His trip to see the Rams face Blyth Spartans saw him notch up his 108th different ground since he began groundhopping in the 90s and his reason for such dedication is simple.

"I love football, I love English football and I love Non-League football.  I have a general interest in Non-League football and in particular in the North East. I enjoy the Northern League and of course the Northern Premier League.

It started when I started a Supporters Club for Hartlepool United but soon after I became interested in the Non-League game.

I was reading about these Non-League clubs in the local newspapers and that got me intrigued. I had to see what they were like and experience them for myself. I just had to keep coming back"

Aasan was on hand to witness an entertaining affair between the Rams and the Spartans, with the visitors snatching a 3-3 draw with two goals in the last three minutes of the game.

He took his place amongst a hardy band of travelling Spartans and admitted that he feels an afinity with North East supporters.

"The North East feels a bit different to elsewhere, maybe it is just me. The fans are so passionate and I know that might be a cliche, they love their football and they love their clubs so I can relate to that"

In over twenty years Aasan has seen many types of different stadiums. From Northern League to Conference there have been a whole host of clubs who have redeveloped their grounds, however he admits that, when it comes to stadiums, he is something of a traditionalist.

"I do like the old fashioned stadiums.  Places like Mossley, where I was on Tuesday night for their game against Spennymoor and I have always had a soft spot for Cambridge City. I like the traditional stadiums because they have a character about them, they have history and a meaning to them"

Taking on such a commitment is no mean feat for the Norweigan.  Every trip is packed with different matches around the country and he revealed he is already looking forward to his next one.

"Home for me is Oslo and it always will be but I try to make at least five journies to England every season. I only come to England to watch games, nothing else, that's what I enjoy doing.

Its over twenty years since I have started doing this and Ramsbottom United is my 108th ground I have visited in England and I am already starting to look forward to my next trip over here"





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