Around the Grounds...
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
One of the ways in which British football fans demonstrate their passion and commitment is by religiously attending away games, following their team through travel chaos, weather madness and financial ruin to sing for their team. This dedication has generated a curious challenge for the ulimate obsessive fan, to watch games at each ground of the 92 football league teams in the English league pyramid. Those who complete the challenge become members of a special club, The Ninety-Two Club.
A club founded in 1978, nicknamed "The Happy Wanderers" for those who have completed the strange and complex challenge. At the beginning the club had a mere 39 members, currently the number stands at around 1,500, a testament to the difficulty in completing the list.
People can take the best part of their lifetime collecting their attendance checklist. Former Goalkeeper Dave Beasent is often credited as having "played" at every league ground as his career saw him rise through the leagues with Wimbledon.
This group of supporters are a committed, select bunch, but they have their elite, the best of the best, those who aim to collect all 92 grounds in record time, the speed 92.
The speed 92 challenge actually involves 93 grounds as the original world record set in 1969 also included Berwick Rangers who now play in the Scottish league.
Until last Saturday the Guinness World Record stood at 237 days, but then 51 year old Derby County fan Ed Wood reduced that total by 48 days when he attended the Rochdale League One three all draw with Charlton Athletic.
Ed himself admits that such a feat takes a large amount of planning, and he did previously hold the record in 1992. He confessed his motivation to reclaim the record was a response to his Dad dying in 2014.
Read an interview with Ed on the BBC website here where he shares the highlights of his epic journey. The challenge requires participants to attend all 90 minutes of the game and collect written statements from stewards to confirm attendance.
He collected money for charity along the way and home and away fans up and down the land encouraged, assisted, donated and sang his name as he completed his list.
Congratulations to Ed for his success, we hope his record stands long enough for him to stay home for a few weekends this year!!