Lincolnshire has a long and proud footballing history. Its broad acres are home to dozens of clubs, from the Football League to local parks football. Come on a journey to discover those grounds and find out more about the county’s clubs, both present and past.

Includes club information, admission prices, team colours, logos, maps, road and rail travel details, pictures of more than 50 grounds plus an enthralling history section of former clubs and grounds.

(Publisher: Penny for Your Sports Publications. August 2022. Paperback: 166 pages)

Book Review: Island Hopping – the football grounds of Lanzarote by Steven Penny

Whilst football fans looking for a Spanish football fix are often drawn to the mainland to watch the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Valencia, football and travel writer Steven Penny took a different path, by looking at the football scene on the volcanic island of Lanzarote during 2021/22.

The Island of Eternal Spring (as Lanzarote is known), is a Spanish island, located approximately 125 kilometres (80 miles) off the north coast of Africa, with its all year round sun attracting visitors from all over Europe since the 1980s. In terms of size of the island in UK terms, think the Isle of Man times four, with Lanzarote measuring approximately 37 miles (60 km) long by 12 miles (20km).

Given the size of the island and the fact that with a lack of grass due to the volcanic soil, you’d be forgiven for thinking that football pitches and stadiums would be scarce. However, in Island Hopping – the football grounds of Lanzarote, the author shows that it is a location with more than its fair share of teams and venues.

The main part of the book provides a colourful guide to the various clubs on the island with useful information showing a location map of the venue, ground address, entry price, club badge and home shirt as well as a number of images of the venue itself. The grounds themselves won’t win any awards for design, as many have a templated feel, with an artificial pitch, sometimes with a running track, and generally just one main stand. However, the dramatic volcanic backdrop of the island makes up for that in many cases.

What is also included and very useful to anyone unfamiliar with the Spanish pyramid, is that Penny provides a brief guide to the where the 17 Lanzarote clubs play their football in 2022/23 additionally adding colour coding to show the level. So readers are shown, taking La Liga as Level 1 (i.e. the league Barcelona and Real Madrid play in), the islands two current highest ranked teams, are UD Lanzarote and CD Union Sur Yaiza, who play at Level 5 in the Tercera División (with 18 Groups – Lanzarote and Union Sur Yaiza plating in the Canary Island Group). Penny though doesn’t just detail those grounds in use and like any good journalist seeks out other grounds and those no longer in use, providing an extensive record of facilities on the island.

This well research bulk of the book is supplemented by a short piece on Penny’s journey round the island as he attended a number of games, a brief history of football on Lanzarote, and a major high in UD Lanzarote’s footballing history when on 27 November 2001, they hosted Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey), with Madrid winning 3-1 with Luís Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Steve McManaman all appearing at some point in the game. There is also a brief noting of abbreviations used in the club names, and this reader was please to learn what the prefixes often used in Spanish team names, such as CD, CF and UD mean.

It’s a cracking guide for anyone visiting the island or indeed with an interest in Spanish football.

Lanzarote – sun, sea and…….soccer. Who would have guessed!


(Publisher: Penny for your Sports Publications. July 2022. Paperback: 120 pages)


Buy the book here: Island Hopping

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Book Review: Tarts, Trams and Tuk Tuks – A Lisbon Football Weekend by Steven Penny

Groundhopping: a hobby that involves attending matches at as many different stadiums or grounds as possible. Participants are known as Groundhoppers.

In my early days of watching football back in the 1970s, I wasn’t aware that Groundhopping was a ‘thing’ so I’m grateful to the www.nonleaguematters.co.uk site forum for the following which is partially reproduced below and helps to provide some background to its origins.

“So how did this slightly eccentric hobby develop and grow? Back in the 1950s and earlier there is no evidence that Groundhopping existed. Football fans tended to be loyal to one club or one city. In Edinburgh, for example, many people would watch both Hearts and Hibs at home at a time when both produced sparkling football and enjoyed success. Travelling support for away games tended to be small in number.

From the 1960s onwards, as car ownership became more widespread, more fans were likely to travel to away games. The developing motorway system meant that travel, either by car or supporters bus, was quicker and easier. Without realising it many football fans began to pick up ‘ticks’.

By the 1970s a few real enthusiasts were emerging who were the proto-hoppers, travelling far and wide both within and beyond the UK to visit new grounds. In 1964 a letter appeared in the ‘Football League Review’ magazine, from a Bristol City fan, suggesting that a special tie be produced for those who had seen football on all 92 Football League grounds.

This idea coalesced into the formation of the 92 Club in 1978. At that time the membership of the Football League was fairly stable. Clubs only dropped out through the re-election process so, having “done the 92” it was straightforward to keep it up to date.”

This has continued to develop down the years with websites, apps and publications all dedicated to Groundhopping, with certain leagues now creating special weekends of games so that Groundhoppers can attend, such as that for the North West Counties Football League in March 2022 https://nwcfl.com/news-articles.php?id=8579

Companies too have got in on the act, with https://footballweekends.co.uk/ offering football breaks alongside their highly successful magazine. Tarts, Trams and Tuk Tuks by Steven Penny centres on one of Football Weekends trips that took place in February 2022 in and around the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, with Penny and his son, attending five games in their four-night break.

This consisted of two Primeira Liga (Portugal’s Premier League) fixtures, Belenenses v Paco Ferreira and Benfica v Vitoria Guimaraes, two Liga 3 (Portugal’s third level – i.e. League One in England) games, Alverca v Torreense and Amora v Caldas as well as a Liga Revelacao U23 (an U23 league competition) Play-off fixture between Estoril and Leixoes.

Penny takes readers through the break in diary form on a day-to-day basis, with the events of each day detailed, whether this be attending games or taking in some sightseeing. Despite its small number of pages, this is a useful read for those yet to embark on a trip watching the game abroad at whatever level and who maybe considering a football weekend away. In addition to Penny’s descriptions and brief (and interesting history) about the clubs he visited, it well served by various photographs from the trip and additionally there is a useful Appendix which provides information for those looking to visit the Lisbon area. A more than useful guide which offers a personal viewpoint in addition to information available on-line.

(Publisher: Penny for your Sports Publications. July 2022. Paperback: 58 pages)


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Enjoy a journey around the clubs, grounds and footballing history of the Island of Eternal Spring.

Features more than 20 grounds on Lanzarote, with details of all its clubs and the history of the sport on the island.

Includes more than 170 colour pictures, guides to the grounds, maps, team shirts, club logos, statistics and mileage charts.

(Publisher: Penny for your Sports Publications. July 2022. Paperback: 120 pages)


Read our review here: Island Hopping

Book Review – Towering Tales & a Ripping Yarn: Yorkshire Football’s Grassroots Legends by Steven Penny

This is not Steven Penny’s first book looking at football in Yorkshire, as he took a look at the soccer scene in the White Rose county with, Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, featuring the 2002/03 season. Penny had hoped to revisit many of the Clubs featured in that book, but COVID put pay to that as football at non-league level was effectively shut down, with the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns in many divisions made ‘null and void’. As a result the author had to rethink his plans as the country and football, stopped and started, around the various lockdowns.

What Penny has produced is a record of the game as it learned to live with the restrictions that COVID brought. This saw socially distanced sitting and standing, temperature checks for players, officials and spectators, e-tickets, face masks, hand sanitiser stations and in some instances playing behind closed doors the new ‘normal’. It seems strange some two years on since the first lockdown that the game and indeed life in general has pretty much returned to as before, therefore this book is a good reminder of the hoops that needed to jumped through for players and fans alike to get their football fix.

As with Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, Penny uses a diary format to record each game, with details about the Clubs taking part, some interesting associated storis about past players and some brief match details. In terms of the time-line, August 2020 marks the starting point with chapters through to December 2020 before lockdown and a resumption of games in April 2021 through to June 2021. Whereas Penny focused on the steps taking in the Northern Premier League, Northern Counties East League and the like in 2002/03, in Towering Tales & a Ripping Yarn, he has to step down even further in the English football pyramid, where COVID restrictions allowed the playing of games in non-enclosed ground. As a result readers are introduced to the grassroots levels of the Yorkshire Christian League, Humber Premier League and Doncaster Saturday League amongst others, as well as the cup competitions of the Huddersfield League and Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League.

Once again Penny finds points of interest at all the games he attends, making links between the fixtures he attends and tales of ex-players such as England World Cup winner Gordon Banks and Manchester United legend Dennis Law, as well as renowned musician Paul Heaton and even Michael Palin from the classic Ripping Yarns tale of Golden Gordon shown on the BBC in 1979. This is another winner from Penny to follow-up on the success of Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, taking readers back to a time, we hope we don’t have to endure again.

(Publisher: Victor Publishing. January 2022. Paperback: 248 pages)


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Football writer Steven Penny takes you on a journey across the football fields of Yorkshire during the 2002/03 season.

From the multi-national squad of Premiership club Middlesbrough to the six-year-old boys of Wheldrake Junior FC playing their first game. The book concentrates on the non-League clubs of the county, from Barnoldswick – playing in Lancashire competitions – to Easington – tucked away on Spurn Point. And from Northern League sides Marske United and Northallerton Town to the world’s oldest club, Sheffield FC, now based in Derbyshire.

Penny reports on more than 40 matches, including Harrogate Railway’s remarkable FA Cup run and Doncaster Rovers’ return to the Football League. As well as reports and match details from every game, included are club histories, interviews with fans and club officials

(Publisher: Victor Publishing. February 2021. Paperback: 269 pages)


Read our review here: Book Review: Soap st (footballbookreviews.com)

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Football writer Steven Penny takes you on a journey across the football fields of Yorkshire during the 2020/21 season, discovering some incredible links to the game’s greats.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal are among 90 professional clubs from the UK who have links to the lower-level Yorkshire clubs featured in this book. Add a sprinkle of overseas clubs and international teams, including England’s 1966 World Cup winners, and the grassroots scene in the Broad Acres has given much to the global game.

Discover the story of the world’s first black professional footballer, the pop star who arranged his gigs to carry on playing Sunday football and the White Rose apprenticeship served by managerial legends Bill Shankly, Joe Harvey and Herbert Chapman. Read about the schoolboy footballers who conquered the world and the fictional team that went down a storm in a TV classic.

Penny digs up dozens of tremendous tales of life on the White Rose county’s lesser known football fields.

(Publisher: Victor Publishing. January 2022, Paperback: 248 pages)

Book Review: Soap stars and burst bubbles: A season of Yorkshire football by Steven Penny

This book from Steven Penny was born out of his record of matches he attended during the 2002/03 season, documented on his website www.tyketravels.co.uk and which focuses on the game below the top four professional leagues in England. The book produced at the time proved popular but then went out of print, so prompted by repeated requests since, it was republished in February 2021.

Structure wise the book follows a timeline from August 2002 through to May 2003, and within each month, each game attended is afforded its own chapter. Given this format, it would be all too easy to fall into the trap of this being another book which just provides match reports, team line-ups, scorers etc. Penny’s great advantage that as a journalist he provides an interest story within each game, so that readers get interviews with players, managers, club officials and fans, which gives a wider perspective on the clubs featured, the realities of football at this level and some interesting tales indeed.

One such gives rise to part of the title of the book, with Helen Worth (soap star, Gail from Coronation Street), the Honorary President of the Ossett Albion club back in 2002/03 featured in the opening chapter. Another features a Goole supporter who was banned from attending matches at their Victoria Pleasure Grounds venue, but still bought a season-ticket!

The book very much focuses on life in non-league with trips to games within the Northern Counties East League dominating, however, this is supplemented by games featuring Yorkshire clubs, in the Northern Premier League, Humber Premier League, Northern League, and Central Midland League, as well as County Cups and the FA Vase and FA Cup. There are a handful of trips to watch games in the top four divisions, but in the main are not experiences that Penny enjoys, and his love for the non-league game which affords him his living as a journalist is evident.

Penny had intended that there would be a follow-up, in which he revisited and updated events at the various clubs he had taken in back in that 2002/03 campaign, however the global pandemic has had other ideas. Instead, his intentions are that a second volume will be produced once football at all steps of the National League System returns, with visits to completely different clubs to those featured in Soap stars and burst bubbles, and further down the line a third book, re-visiting and updating clubs’ stories from the first two volumes.

Reviewing this republished version, eighteen years after its first publication, it is evident that any follow-up will have many tales to tell and be able to reflect on much that has changed. For instance, there are clubs featured from 2002/03 that are no longer with us, even a new club in the form of Ossett United, from the merging of Albion and Town, and others that have either plummeted through the divisions or have equally soared to new heights. Fingers crossed that 2021/22 will see an uninterrupted return of football allowing Penny to tell the stories of those changes and bring fans once again more entertaining tales of his travels.

(Victor Publishing. February 2021. Paperback 267 pages)


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