The Groundhopping Hub spoke to Sion, aka ‘The Groundhopper’, about his experiences groundhopping in addition to his ever-growing YouTube channel, and life being a Swansea fan.
The avid Swansea City supporter began by discussing his favourite groundhopping experience, which took place in Georgia. “We organised a game with a bunch of locals in a stadium that was totally surrounded by a castle” enthused Sion. “As it was an unofficial match I got to play and scored at a unique ground that nothing else comes close to so far on my travels.” He added: “In the UK I always love going to Craven Cottage as it’s very unique with the cottage in the corner along with the river Thames on the other side.
Watch Sion’s video here:
Rather contrastingly the YouTuber then stated that his least favourite groundhopping experience was at Portman Road, the home of Ipswich Town.
He explained: “I went in the Ipswich home end when they played Newcastle, and even though they won I had a bad experience. Some of the fans started pushing me when I was filming on goal.” He humorously added: “Some of them have an arrogance like they are a big club, even though they have spent over 10 seasons in the Championship!”
As many of you will know, Groundhopping has its potential complications ranging from transport issues, to unhelpful staff at the ground you’re visiting. Some of Sion’s experiences are no exception: “Complications I find as a vlogging YouTuber is some people look at you strange if you are filming out in the open, so I try to do it more discretely.”
“Finding the ground can sometimes be hard too, and using the Groundhopper app can sometimes send you to the wrong stadium. This happened to me in Hungary where I went to a ground that was in fact 100km away from the real game, but I can only blame myself for not checking location beforehand!”
Sion then talked about why he began groundhopping: “I was getting bored of watching Swansea in the Premier League as we were fighting survival every season and our style of play went. I noticed a popular YouTuber called ‘Away Days’ and felt like I could do a different style to him. Originally I started doing the 92, but after doing all the London clubs which was very convenient as I was living in London at the time, I starting dabbling with different teams.”
Sion then explained how groundhopping has helped him out in instances: “In December 2017 I was going through a rough spot with work and the weather was affecting my mood and admittedly, I hardly left the house.”
“Groundhopping was great as it forced me away to do something creative for an 2-3 hours and I got to meet a lot of great new people”
“I enjoyed filming lower down the echelons of football as there was less scrutiny and you were welcomed for putting a spotlight on their club. Being Welsh, I went to our leagues a bit more and it was a untouched gold mine with some funny stories and it also taught me more about my country. I created a lot of good friends who have helped me with tickets for Wales’s away matches which I wouldn’t have otherwise!”
Conversation then turned to his YouTube channel, which has now amassed over 4,100 subscribers.
“My short term target is to get to 5,000 subscribers by the end of the year which is quite crazy to say as I had 800 [subscribers] in August before a video went viral. To now get 1,000 views on every new video I produce is fantastic and I love to engage with everyone who leaves comments and subscribes!”
“In the long term, I’d love to create a self-sufficient channel where my costs are covered. If I get into a position to make it a full time job of it, I can turn my attention to also produce football manager videos to have varied content.
Finally we talked about his beloved Swansea City. The Swans, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are currently in ninth place in the Championship and Sion conceded that his side were “outperforming themselves”.
“Our squad are mostly youth team players and avoiding relegation was honestly the target before the season started. After all, we went into the season with one centre back who had played at this level or higher before! I think we’ll finish 11th, which I’d be happy with as we’re building our passing style of play again following in Fulham’s footsteps a little bit. I think in maybe 3 or 4 seasons we’ll be going for promotion again.”
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