Let's go to the hop !

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Let's go to the hop !

Post  dellwood on Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:04 pm

It seems the League have shot themselves in the foot with the 2 hops arranged for September & March. The hop in September clashes with another one in North Berks. The target of getting a large number of turnstiles is going to be now down by quite a few. This in turn means that planning the match day programme is going to be difficult because last season I believe every club ran out of programmes & may have upset a few people along the way. This time do you do a lot more just in case ?
The main problem it seems is that the league were advised over a month ago of the existence of the other hop by more than one person & to date it appears the league have not even acknowledged them. It also appears that this is not the first time that the league have not responded to contact from beyond the league either.
All in all the lack of organising skills from within the league will not help any of its member clubs but at least I get to watch Friday night football !

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Backfour on Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:44 am

 By the sounds of it Dellwood, the league have an in tray, an out tray and i cannot be bothered tray  Embarassed 
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  sammy on Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:57 am

Backfour wrote: By the sounds of it Dellwood, the league have an in tray, an out tray and i cannot be bothered tray  Embarassed 

Perhaps an e-mail to the League Chairman might help , his e-mail address can be found on the Thurlow Nunn website ( only a suggestion ) probably too too late to change fixtures now !!!


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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  spongebob on Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:43 pm

OK guys, enough's enough.
The League has come up with a groundhopper initiative that has been welcomed on all sides. Now because they have done so again, it draws criticism because it clashes with another League!!

Ever since the Thurlow Nunn League announced it's first groundhop, League Officers have been plagued by emails and phone calls from groundhoppers about the choice of dates and grounds so that they can plan their season accordingly. It got so bad that the League were not going to have any more, but have decided to give it another go because all of our clubs were keen on it.

September 20th was deliberately chosen because it was virtually the only Saturday before the winter when there was not a round of the FA Cup, FA Vase or a County Cup. Therefore the only Saturday when it could be guaranteed that the matches scheduled would go ahead. The date has the added bonus that Ipswich Town are not at home.

The League has NOT shot itself in the foot, it's was the only realistic date available. It's either then or not at all. Which would you prefer? Why do you think the other League has chosen the same date?

Dellwood, I'm surprised at your comments. There is no "lack of organising skills" within the TN League, quite the opposite in fact, and any continued unjustified criticism received over the groundhopper days will only lead to one thing.......no groundhopper days next season. Is that really what supporters of Clubs in our League really want, or indeed the Clubs themselves?

It's my opinion, and only my opinion, taking into account all contributory factors, that we should do what WE want to do and not be too concerned with what other Leagues are doing. Groundhopping days are great and should be encouraged by all concerned, whether they be League Officials, Clubs or supporters. Any criticism of previous days or the dates of future ones, is in my opinion, unjustified.

Rant over.
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Felixboy on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:05 pm

Fair point about the dates SpongeBob, never going to be easy. But I went to 3 of the hop games last season and didn't spot a League official at any of them, they might have been there, but they certainly weren't wearing their blazers. At the first and last games the progs sold out very early, and the clubs had to go to the expense of posting them. When we got to Norfolk for the 2nd one, the same thing happened, no communication between the league or the clubs. Maybe the clubs should have made an effort, but surely the league could have advised. I've been to many hops over the past 20+ years, and you always see league officials. promoting their league and answering any questions.
But I haven't come on here just to whinge, I intend to help the clubs sort out the programme fiasco of last season. Almost all hoppers want to cuddle a piece of paper, with this in mind I will be contacting the South Suffolk clubs and if they can guarantee me they will have the progs ready for the Thursday night, then I will advertise programme packs will be available. This way I can advise the clubs how many to print. Had the dates not clashed and based on what happened last season, 120 for the early and late games and 70ish for the afternoon game have been advisable, but as we have a clash of hops, this route appears to be the best way.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  homer on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:50 pm

It's an old adage but you can't please all of the people all of the time!

I did the Essex hop last season and it was great, chatting to folk who had come from as far away as Fleetwood and Morpeth, those sort of hardened hoppers will have to make a choice I know, but from a selfish point of view I and other fans will get to see more football locally in 24 hours than we normally do, so am looking forward to the South Suffolk one.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  spongebob on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:30 am

Felixboy, there were certainly League representatives at the Essex Groundhoppers day last season. I can't answer for the Norfolk one because I didn't attend.
Fair points raised about communication with the Clubs and also League representatives being available to promote the League and answer questions and generally chat to the hoppers. I will take this up with the League and see what can be done.
Remember, last season was our League's first effort at a Groundhoppers Day and what the League officers need is feedback on what can be done better rather than criticism.
I will advise the forum what the League decides.
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  welshwatcher on Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:53 am


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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Ratchet on Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:38 pm

I'm a groundhopper who travelled down for the first two hops last season. What I saw can only be described as a shambles. I've attended many of the organised hops over the years, and they were the most badly organised of the lot. There was no guidance from the league, there were shortages of everything that could make the clubs money, ie programmes, badges, food, drink etc.
I'd make the comment that these weren't groundhops, merely staggered kick-offs.

SpongeBob, I assume you are a league official. No the league hasn't shot itself in the foot, I my opinion you've shot yourself in both feet. The first shot in the foot is for scheduling twice in two years against another hop. Yes, I appreciate cup dates but why oh why didn't you contact the other hop organisers before announcing these dates? Perhaps the other hop could have been rescheduled? Instead the ECL looks like a bully, and the clubs suffer as some hoppers who would have visited your clubs will now head for the other hop reducing both attendances and takings of the ECL clubs.
The second shot in the foot is not learning from the mistakes of the first hop. Why was expertise not brought in to run the second event more smoothly? Has the league sought advice to help clubs, and their volunteers who on the previous hops floundered?

As it is the events attendances are nowhere near what they could have been. Just look at the attendances the Northern Hops got last season.

I've been visiting non-league hops for many years, right back to the original Northern League hops 25 years ago. These events have multiplied over the years, and have become more professional. Each league seems to put their own spin on it, but none has ever clashed until now. Sad to say the ECL is in danger of becoming a pariah league, because of its "Screw you, I'm doing my own thing," attitude.

I have a tough decision to make now. I need most of these clubs on these dates, but I really don't want a repeat of the shambles of the previous dates, and I find the league's attitude off-putting to put it mildly. I'm no fan of off-pyramid football, but I think I'll stay away from the ECL's dates until the events are run properly, and league works to avoid clashes.

If I decide to go to any of the other hops at least I'll at least know the event is being run properly.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  welshwatcher on Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:11 pm

Ratchet - I think you have some valid points, although you appear to have ignored Spongebobs last post.
We are all Non-Leaguers who come on here, we all love the Non-League game and we all want to share what we have with as many people as possible, we want to hear what Groundhoppers want, like, need as part of their love of the Non-League Game.
The vast, vast majority of us on here who are involved with individual clubs work very, very hard, in some cases just to survive from week to week so it is a bit harsh to come on and be completely negative.
I'm sure (I certainly would) we would all like to hear what you guys want, how many plan to come etc. As you see from my poster we are making the effort to encourage you guys along.
Tell us what you want we will try and accomodate and the league will I am sure learn from the experiences.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Ratchet on Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:56 pm

Welshwatcher. It is difficult to be positive when the ECL seems hell bent on alienating itself.

However, here's how I would improve things for your clubs.

Point 1. Contact the other hop organisers and negotiate! Clashes will alienate the league and reduce the spectators visiting. The attitude of SpongeBob here is odd. "we should do what WE want to do and not be too concerned with what other Leagues are doing..." Actually that is exactly what you should be doing.
Last year the ECL clashed with the Beds hop. The Beds hop moved, but this time its the North Berks. A similar kind of league but the hop is run by GroundhopUK. Love them or loath them, they are a commercial enterprise and expect North Berks to run like clockwork. They will not run out of programmes. In fact Felixboy's suggestion of programme packs is one they've been doing for years.
This time its North Berks, if the "we should do what WE want to do," carries on, what if you clash with the Notts Senior League hop? That's run by Rob Hornby, who has run both that and the Central Midlands League hop for many years. Again, it runs like clockwork, and Rob despite serious ill-health is one of the nicest blokes out there, and people turn up to his hop because its Rob. Run against him and you'll be lucky to get 20 hoppers, never mind 70. Next season the South West Peninsula League will run a hop, run against that, and you'll get no hoppers at all.

Point 2. Learn how to run a hop. Over the years the hops have learned how to cater for a hopper's needs. Programmes, badges, transport, food etc. SpongeBob, you say you want feedback, not criticism, the problem is that the events were so badly run, the feedback has to be criticism.

I suggest you try and build some bridges with the other hop organisers, and try and bring in the expertise to make these things run better. IMHO I think the September hop may well have to be written off to some extent. The clash is going to reduce the attendances for all of the clubs, which is a real shame as if this was run properly you could have seen 400+ crowds as was the case in the Northern Hop last year.

As it stands I believe what will happen as that the clubs will work extremely hard, but with little useful guidance, and as a result get a far smaller reward than their work deserves. And the blame for that, I afraid will lie with the league's management. A real shame.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  spongebob on Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:07 am

Ratchet,

Our days are called groundhopper days so as to give our fans a name that they can recognise. We are merely giving the fans of our Clubs the opportunity to go to three games in a day by staggering kick offs. We are not, at the moment, really catering for fans of other Leagues or groundhoppers who have no real allegiance to any of our clubs. If people like you want to come along to visit new grounds, great. If you don't want to come along, then thats no problem either.
I believe all of the home Clubs in our days last season had their biggest or very nearly biggest crowds of the season, so we must have done something right?? This is really no bigger deal than Clubs staggering kick offs over Easter, Christmas and the New Year periods. These fixtures are also well attended.
I don't intend to demean what you're saying, but its not really what we are about. As I said above, we are staggering kick off times so as to give anybody who wishes to attend 3 games in one day (or 4 in the weekend) the opportunity to do so. No more, no less.
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Ratchet on Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:57 am

Then SpongeBob, by failing to understand groundhoppers and groundhopping you will continue to let down yourself, your clubs and your league. Why settle for a few hoppers, when with a little effort and co-operation there is a real windfall there for your clubs.

Other leagues have grasped the concept, why can't you?

As for your comment "We are not, at the moment, really catering for fans of other Leagues or groundhoppers who have no real allegiance to any of our clubs," pull the other one, if you aren't doing that why are you calling them "Groundhopper days?"

Remember a groundhopper only visits a ground once, so a club gets one opportunity to make a right impression.

The definition of madness after all is doing the same thing over and over expecting to get a different result.

I won't be back until the league realises this, and neither will many others.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  bergh1 on Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:39 am

Rachet,

Brantham Athletic would welcome you and any other non league supporters at any time to our ground, we have a ground hopper day this season, and I thought the whole point of ground hoppers days was to have as many fans from other non league teams from around the country as possible and not just fans from our league, at your ground, so am I missing something here or are we all missing something.

Be good to have a good crowd at our game.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Ratchet on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:21 am

Brantham, I'd love to visit your ground. and yes, I would have thought a groundhopper day would be for fans of non-league football, not just fans of the ECL. Perhaps that point should be made to your committee who seem to be trying to ruin your big day.


No you've hit the nail on the head.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  dellwood on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:39 am

Sorry SpongeBob but I totally agree with Ratchet . What is the point in having a day called "groundhopper day " when it seems that the league committee etc can't  actually grasp what it means. As a groundhopper myself having "done" about 1000 grounds & Felixboy who has done probably five times as many I think we can actually talk for the average groundhopper. When these are organised well at levels from ours downward they are very popular. As already mentioned the annual Northern hop can bring 400 extra through the gate. Last year the ECL attracted about 100 extra & a number of those found the organisation very poor with lack of programmes, badges & food. The clubs were given no or very little guidance on what to expect. Now of those 100 how many are going to come back to experience what they think will be the same ?
Felixboy is organising a programme pack so that groundhoppers will know in advance that they will get a programme. Believe me there are a number out there who will not go to a match without knowing that a programme will be available.
Word does get around & if you can't organise these days well, the next time nobody will go !


Last edited by dellwood on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spealling mistookes)

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  spongebob on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:32 am

I'm not quite sure how I've got dragged into this to the extent that I have!
All I'm saying is our League has had ONE season at this, and had nothing but criticism. Those responsible for organising the days have, very likely, never experienced them before and have lots to learn in how to improve on last season.
I'm not disagreeing with anybody who has posted their views on this forum BUT I do object when League Officers are pilloried for their efforts.

No League officer should be vilified, but those who choose to criticise should do so with a bit of decorum and not act like a bull in a china shop.
I attended all 3 Essex matches last season and had no problem getting a programme at Wivenhoe, Clacton or Brightlingsea. Obviously some people did and chose to voice their anger at the League Officials. Is this the right thing to do?

There is a way to criticise.
For example: Ratchet (I'm not picking on you, honest!) states "Learn how to run a hop" If that had said "Your first effort wasn't that great but I think it could have been improved if you did (insert your own experiences and advice") I'm sure it would have been a bit better received. The same point made, but in a less confrontational way.

Last season was our League's FIRST attempt and Ratchet also states "Over the years the hops have learned how to cater for a hopper's needs" But our League hasn't had the benefit of "Over the years" but have been roundly criticised for it's efforts.

I'm really not sticking up for anyone, or indeed criticising anyone. All I'm saying is that the League WILL learn from previous efforts and WILL be in close contact with the Home Clubs. Give them a chance to improve year on year rather than criticise.

Finally, Ratchet, I will be attending some, if not all of the September matches. I hope you do too and look forward to sharing a beer with you.
Dellwood, I'll be happy to discuss the hoppers day with you when I visit Felixstowe for the pre-season game against Brightlingsea.
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  leohoenig on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:08 am

sammy wrote:
Backfour wrote: By the sounds of it Dellwood, the league have an in tray, an out tray and i cannot be bothered tray  Embarassed 

Perhaps an e-mail to the League Chairman might help , his e-mail  address can be found on the Thurlow Nunn website ( only a suggestion )  probably  too too late to change fixtures now !!!


That is such a good idea that I tried it on 16 June.
No reply as yet

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  dellwood on Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:06 am

No one is criticising or pilloring you SpongeBob but as it now appears that at least 3 people that I know have tried to contact a league official & not got a reply this is not good ! Do they not start work until the first game of the season ? If someone decides to organise something & then ignores all correspondence relating to it should they actually be doing the job in the first place.
Welcome to this forum Leo I hope Cheltenham are playing this weekend !

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  welshwatcher on Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:04 pm

Felixboy has contacted the Suffolk Seasiders regarding prices of programmes in his attempt to put a programme pack together and he has also contacted the others involved I believe but was having difficulty extracting an answer from Brantham re prices etc. Maybe that has been resolved now bergh 1 if not you may be able to assist him!
It is not a concern as such but I wonder how it will work with Felixstowe playing on a Friday night, the 'lets go to the hoppers' may well travel some distance on a Saturday to fit in all three game, but will they all make the same journey on a Friday evening?

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Greenmanwalking on Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:47 am

With regards to last years hop, this is how we at Gorleston set about it and it is very simple.
First, get your club badges in stock, what you don't sell on the day you will on other days.
Second, try and keep the food hot and fresh, this is my department so this is what I try to achieve on all match days.
I find most people don't mind waiting for a decent bit of grub or a fresh brewed cup of tea and if they don't like to wait it's their loss...'macdonalds is only down the road' is my reply to rude customers.
And thirdly,print as many programmes as you want to sell I have no idea at what they cost to print but I'm sure a extra couple of hundred ain't going to break the bank,they will sell we had some people buying four or five at a time.

Also from reading groundhopper blogs,forums the majority of hoppers enjoyed their day on the East Coast.
So grab it if you can,it won't make the club tens of thousands of pounds overnight but it could make two,three or four hundred people very happy.
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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Ratchet on Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:26 am

No SpongeBob, I will not be attending your events until the lessons have been learned. You have had 2 attempts, and are still making the same mistakes.

Quite honestly I am the customer here, so I don't think I need to be told how to give criticism


However let's try...

Your first effort wasn't that great but I think it could have been improved if you did ..... phone up any one of the many groundhop organisers, ask advice on what a hopper wants. Programmes, catering transport, ticketing, badges etc, the good hops such as Northern, Notts, Northern Counties East all seem to follow a formula. Build a few bridges, do your homework, for the sake of your clubs. Why not go on another league's hop, take a notepad, watch and learn?

I'm not sure how to put the next bit nicely. Forgive me, I'm a Scot, we don't do pussy-footing. STOP CLASHING WITH OTHER HOPS. Why a league would refuse to work with others is beyond me. Talk to these people please, this "We'll do our own thing" attitude is harming both the league's reputation, and reducing the revenue that the clubs will make in September.

How do your clubs feel knowing that some hoppers will be going to the North Berks hop when with better planning they would have come to you? Yes, the dates dictated, I know that, but surely if you'd have approached the North Berks League they'd have at least tried to help? Or did you approach them?

You comment "Last season was our League's FIRST attempt and Ratchet also states "Over the years the hops have learned how to cater for a hopper's needs" But our League hasn't had the benefit of "Over the years" but have been roundly criticised for it's efforts." That's because where a league has had the expertise in-house they're organised their own hop, where they haven't they've brought in outside expertise. I'm not sure why the ECL has tried to run without first checking they can walk.

As for league officials being "pilloried" I'm sorry if some people have rubbed you up the wrong way but instead of whining that you don't know what your doing, please seek advice from the experts. I'm sure the likes of Mike Amos, Rob Hornby, Phil Hiscox, and GroundhopUK could help you. They've been organising hops for years, and are the go-to people.


So there you go. You've asked for help, and here are the contacts.


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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  Felixboy on Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:11 am

Ratchet. You've probably noticed on the Kempster site that programme packs will be available, so that's the main gripe the hoppers had out of the way. Problem is, at the moment Felixstowe, Woodbridge, and Ipswich Wanderers think it's good idea and have agreed, but I'm struggling with Brantham, but I'll keep plugging away and hope they soon realise the blinkin obvious, that programme packs are a good idea for all concerned.
But when the ECL came up with this idea, it was never going to be on a grand scale, that's the way they wanted it and we've got to respect their way of doing things. As you've no doubt read elsewhere, some hoppers liked the laid back nature of it. Would there have been enough takers for a coach? I doubt it, so instead of losing money they decided to do it this way. As a local I enjoyed the extra games I went to last season, and will again this season.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  bergh1 on Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:05 am

Flexiboy, It would be good to get it right on the day and make sure that everyone who turns up from around the country is able to buy a program, I will speak to my contacts at the club and find out the answers, what are the expected crowds with events like this, as I do not think they realise what it all entails, I think they were just thinking they will get an extra 20 people or so.

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Re: Let's go to the hop !

Post  bergh1 on Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:45 am

A message from my contact at Brantham, so anyone got any ideas of numbers.


We will be playing FC Clacton 6PM on Saturday 20th September.

Ive had no contact re Programs or Badges

Already been on twitter, bit early to advertise properly on twitter I feel, its been well published by Thurlow Nunn League anyway

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