Recently, I was given a fantastic opportunity to interview Groundhopper and Youtuber Adam Thurston. Adam is a 20-year-old from Bristol who has been vlogging his matchday experiences from games such as Chelsea vs Manchester City in the Premier League to Team Solent vs South Shields in the FA Vase. Here’s what Adam had to say.
Adam Thurston at Bath City vs Partick Thistle Pre-Season Friendly 2016. Credit: Adam Thurston Twitter
1. What/Who first got you into football and what was the first game you attended?
– I’ve been into football since the age of about 7 when I played for my first team, a club called Wick Youth in Bristol. It was through this club that I went to my first ever game, an International Friendly between England and Denmark at Old Trafford in which we lost 3-2. However, I wouldn’t go to another game until approximately 2008 when I became a Bristol City Season Ticket Holder for the first time. This would last two seasons before I actually discovered Groundhopping for the first time in January 2015 at the Cardiff City Stadium in an FA Cup 3rd Round match between Cardiff City and Colchester United on a freezing cold Friday night.
2. What made you decide to start groundhopping?
– I’ve been asked this a number of times and my answer remains, I have no idea. It was just an idea to “go to more games” and it happened that Cardiff were at home that night. That next Sunday, some friends and I went to Aston Villa vs Blackpool, again, in the FA Cup. Then it just continued like that until I discovered there was an actual hobby called Groundhopping a few weeks later!
3. What made you begin to vlog your groundhopping experiences for YouTube?
– Again, it was the influence of others. I had wanted to do it as soon as I began completing the 92 which was probably around February 2015. However, I knew I didn’t have the confidence or the creativity to do it. I started off with written blogs, which were successful, mainly due to the following I had amassed on Twitter & Instagram. Then, on the 2nd of April 2016 (over a year later!) I made my first video with a close friend of mine, this did well, so I continued! It would be foolish to not give some credit to a number of people who inspired me and have helped me, mainly Ellis Platten (AwayDays). He did what I wanted to do for a long time and showed that with hard work, there was certainly a market for it!
4. What’s the video that you’ve had most fun creating?
– Hmm, very good question and a tough one to answer. I’d probably say Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Grimsby Town at Wembley in the National League Play-Off Final. It was quite simply the best 90 minutes I’ve spent in a stadium and it resulted in a return to the Football League for Grimsby, a club which I have made some incredible memories with on my journey.
5. What’s the furthest distance you have travelled to watch a game, inside and outside of England/UK?
– In England, it was very recently when I jumped on a coach in Bristol and made the 550-mile round trip to watch a 1-1 draw between Hartlepool United and Yeovil Town. I left home at 6:30am and arrived home at 11:30pm. In Europe, it was Switzerland, it was a two-day trip to Basel to watch Arsenal play in the Champions League. Our flight home was cancelled, resulting in a three-hour train to the next airport to catch a flight to London. Nightmare!
Adam at the FC Basel vs Arsenal U19 Champions League game. Credit: Adam Thurston Twitter
6. What’s the best game you’ve been to?
-Easy. January 1st 2017. I decided last minute to go to Forest Green Rovers vs. Torquay United in the National League. I nearly didn’t go… the score was 5-5 and it could have easily been 8-8. Best decision I ever made was going to it!
7. What ground do you want to visit most which you haven’t yet been to?
– Another tricky question and one I’m probably going to pass on because there are so many. I’m excited to visit Manchester City eventually but there are hundreds of grounds I’m excited to visit. One that I am gutted about is Athletico Madrid, they move at the end of this season and I am slowly running out of time to get there before they close the doors.
8. Out of the Somerset & Bristol clubs, which ones do you follow most and why?
– In all honesty, I follow the vast majority of clubs in Bristol and a lot of the South West, both major Bristol clubs included. One of my Groundhopping targets is to complete the Western Premier Division and Division One which included clubs throughout Bristol, Somerset and Devon. I tend to follow both league clubs as it gives me opportunities to tick grounds off the 92. I also closely follow Bath City in the National League South as they are the closest club to home.
9. Which ground has the best atmosphere from your experiences?
– Ground? There are many. None of which are in the Premier League which may surprise some, but definitely not others! In terms of a club, I’d say Grimsby Town away games but if I needed to answer this from a specific stadium, I would probably have to say Bayer Leverkusen or FC Basel. The atmosphere across the pond is so much better than in England, some fans need to take note! I will give shoutouts to a number of clubs in England though. Derby County, Leeds United, Bristol Rovers & Swansea City all have decent atmospheres on their day.
10. What’s the best goal you’ve witnessed scored live?
– I’m lucky enough to say I’ve seen some cracking goals in the last two years or so. Three stand out in my mind as incredible and have all been this season. The first being an extra-time screamer by Chris Lines against Cardiff City in the League Cup. About 30 yards out he just smashed one into the top corner to put Rovers through. The second that sticks out was very recently, Julio Arca (remember him?!) scored from at least 40 yards in the FA Vase for South Shields when he noticed the keeper off his line. Finally, and perhaps the best… Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool at the start of the season on a Friday Night. A corner was taken and fell to Jordan Henderson about 25-30 yards out and he placed it to perfection into the top corner against one of the best keepers in the world. Incredible strike.
11. What is the best League ground you’ve visited and which is the best Non-League ground you’ve visited?
– I find it hard to separate because each ground is so different. I think my favourite is probably Old Trafford. It oozes class and history which I love, similar to Anfield. I will point out that I am making these choices based on the stadium, nothing to do with the team or the fans/atmosphere. I also love a number of other grounds including Bristol Rovers, Fulham, Cambridge United, West Ham (Upton Park), Brentford & Chelsea. The worst? I’d say MK Dons or Reading. In terms of Non-League, my favourite is the closest to home, Bath City.
12. What are your future plans for the next six months to a year?
– I don’t really have many. To keep going to games, visiting new places, meeting new people and developing myself and my YouTube channel. Who knows where it will take me?! I have had a blast over the last 24+ months and can’t wait to see what the next 12 bring. All I will say, I have some things in the pipeline which will be announced in due course! Watch this space!
Adam’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGA9bKTQqOnki9Oz_InnOA
Adam’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/athurston_1996
Adam’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamthurstongroundhopping/