Stair Park the end goal for ground-hopper

On Saturday Pete Bishop will have visited all of the league football clubs in Scotland ending at Stair Park in Stranraer
On Saturday Pete Bishop will have visited all of the league football clubs in Scotland ending at Stair Park in Stranraer

Saturday’s match at Stair Park will be the final Scottish stadium to be ticked off a ground-hoppers list.

The game between Stranraer FC and Stenhousemuir will also be the 750th league match that avid football fan, Pete Bishop has attended.

Although now living in Lymington on the south coast of England, 62-year-old Pete used to live and work in Stirling where his Scottish ground-hopping began.

He said: “While I was working in Scotland I thought it would be a good opportunity to see some of the Scottish teams play and visit the grounds.

“Being in Stirling was perfect, because it’s quite central it made it easy to travel to the different grounds.

“I managed to visit 37 out of the 42 grounds before moving back down to England.

“I made a few trips back up to check off the last few grounds and now Stair Park will be the final one.”

Pete who now works freelance in IT, is making the trip to Galloway to visit his sister and brother-in-law, Pauline and Adrian Paterson, at their home in Port William, where he will also be celebrating his birthday on Sunday November 8.

An avid Aston Villa fan, Pete’s love for football saw him begin travelling around the country for every home and away match as a young man.

As his quest developed Pete realised he needed a system to track where he had visited.

He said: “I have spreadsheet set up on Excel on my computer at home so I can see exactly where I have been which is how I know this will be match 750.

Although this is the final Scottish ground Pete will have visited, he has ticked off a large majority of the English Football League.

He explained: “Over the years I have visited all of the grounds from the Premier League down to level four at Football League Two.

“I’m currently working my way through level five, realistically I will have to stop at some point but I only have around a hundred left to visit.

“The nature of the sport means that teams change positions within the leagues and they can change to a different ground which means there are a couple that need updating.”

When visiting the grounds Pete says that he doesn’t tend to pick a side to support.

He said: “I usually go by myself to matches because my wife and son aren’t really that interested, but I usually get chatting to the local supporters on each side and just soak up the atmosphere.”