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English Soccer Guide

Paul Gerald, author of “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland” and “Breakfast in Bridgetown,” will publish a book about English soccer in the summer of 2015. It will cover all the clubs in the Premier League plus many others: where they are, what they’re about, and how to immerse yourself in the culture of English soccer. This blog is Paul’s English Soccer Tour — aka his research.

English Soccer Tour: Into Bolton

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 21, 2015
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Friendly little Bolton is like many medium-sized English cities I’ve been to on my soccer tours. Imagine a college town like Eugene, Oregon, but with an industrial past and an active train station in the middle of it. Like many of these towns, Bolton has turned its old downtown into a pedestrian mall, and like…

Saturday Morning, Football Train

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 20, 2015
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I love Saturday mornings on English trains. In addition to the ladies going shopping, old couples sitting quietly, families sometimes bickering, and pods of teenagers going who knows where, there are always groups of 20- to 40something men, with beers, talking football. Listening to little snippets here and there, I realize that I — a Fulham…

Seeing a Game at Birmingham City FC

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 20, 2015
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A trip to the (I must say it) third team in England’s second city. Walking out of my hotel in Birmingham, bound for Birmingham City Football Club, I asked a staffer hot to get to the ground. He gave me what turned out to be mediocre-at-best directions, then asked how an American came to be…

From London to Birmingham, Feeling at Home

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 19, 2015
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As I get a little better at these football trips, I find myself getting into the groove with UK transit. For example, second morning of this trip, it’s off to Birmingham to see the Blues play Cardiff. I started in West Norwood, the South London home of my English family, and without giving it a whole…

English Soccer Trip: How I Met a Sober Millwall Fan

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 18, 2015
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Among the great traditions of my English soccer trips is meeting friends of friends on arrival in London. My first night in London, mostly to stay awake, but also to meet some locals and maintain my sanity a bit, I went to a 12-Step meeting in Tottenham. There, I had the usual conversation — what…

English Soccer Trip: Talking Footy at UK Customs

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 18, 2015
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I’m starting to really look forward to hitting customs in the UK. Other than the excitement of arriving in my tied-for-favorite country, the U.K. Border Force is also my first chance to talk footy with English blokes. (Sometimes it’s a lady, and that’s even better of, course.) They always ask what I’ll be doing in…

English Soccer Trip: Flying Business Class

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 18, 2015
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For the first time in my life, I got to board an international flight — and turn left. At some point I think that’s really what it’s all about, that moment of ego gratification from getting to sit up front. At least it was for me, since I’d never been up there before, and I…

My MLS Cup 2015 Diary: Or, The Timbers’ Big Night in Columbus

  • Paul Gerald
  • December 9, 2015
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What is it like when your team wins the championship? Beyond description, really — but that didn’t deter me from writing this here diary of the experience of watching my Portland Timbers win the 2015 MLS Cup in Columbus, Ohio. Saturday 5 p.m. I finish a 12-hour shift driving a taxi, hand off the car…

Watching Soccer in England: Big Holiday Plans

  • Paul Gerald
  • November 13, 2015
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Watching a soccer game at Burnley FC is a trip back in time.

I just love planning trips to see soccer in England. And right now I’m planning a doozy for December and January. Since people have been emailing me lately about planning their own English soccer trips, and since I have already offered some general trip-planning advice, I thought I would follow up with the details of…