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The Premier League Bucket List: Help Shape a Reader’s Tour of England

craven cottage1 The Premier League Bucket List: Help Shape a Reader’s Tour of England

In the movie The Bucket List, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play characters who go on an adventure to fulfill their wildest dreams before they, well, kick the bucket. You, too, may have a wish list of items you’d add to a bucket list, no matter how young or old you are. And I’m sure many of you would consider adding a chance of a lifetime trip to go see a Premier League game in-person near the top of your list.

Yesterday, EPL Talk reader Peter Stokes recounted his experiences visiting England with his son to catch two Premier League matches, one at Stamford Bridge and the other at Old Trafford.  While the story was a joy to read, we now have an opportunity to help shape a trip for a fellow reader before he’s actually booked it. It’s an opportunity for us to vicariously live through someone who is going to England, and to make sure he has the best time possible.

Before I share what the suggested itinerary is of the Fulham supporter from Portland (who prefers to stay anonymous), let me explain what his priorities are for this trip:

  1. His first priority is to go see his beloved Fulham play,
  2. The second priority is to see matches from the highest division (Premier League over Championship, if possible),
  3. He wants to see as many matches as possible in the timeframe when he’s in England,
  4. He wants to minimize the number of nights spent in London, to keep down costs and because he will have spent a good deal of time in London already on this trip,
  5. To minimize travel time, he will travel exclusively via train and tube,
  6. Lastly, his plan is to attend matches where he has the best chance of getting a ticket.

So far, here is the reader’s suggested itinerary:

Thursday, 9/22 & Friday 9/23

  • Continental Flight #1084 | 4h 44m | Economy Cabin Thu, Sep 22 10:15p from Portland, OR (PDX) 5:59a in Newark, NJ (EWR) Time between flights:13h 41m | Long Layover
  • Continental Flight #20 | 7h 0m | Economy Cabin Fri, Sep 23 7:40p from Newark, NJ (EWR) 7:40a on 9/24 in Manchester, United Kingdom (MAN)

Saturday, 9/24

  • 9/24 Train (Day 1) from Manchester Airport to The Hawthorns (2-3 hours)
  • Match: West Brom v. Fulham, 3pm, Saturday, Sep 24 The Hawthorns, West Bromwich (Just NW of Birmingham), 25 pounds, on sale 9/5
  • Accommodations for night of 9/24 in West Brom or Birmingham

Sunday, 9/25

  • 9/25 Train (Day 2) from The Hawthorns to London Euston (10:45am – 1:04pm)
  • Tube from Euston to Shepherds Bush Market
  • Match: QPR v. Aston Villa, 4pm, Sunday, 9/25, Loftus Road, London,
  • Tube from Shepherds Bush Market to Liverpool Street
  • 9/25 train from London Liverpool Street to Norwich (2 hours, leaving 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm, 11:30pm)
  • Accommodations for nights of 9/25 & 9/26 in Norwich

Monday, 9/26

  • Match: Norwich v. Sunderland, Monday, 9/26, 8pm, Carrow Road, Norwich; On Sale 9/9

Tuesday, 9/27

  • Train (day 3) from Norwich to Derby (3.5 hours, 2 trains leave per hour)
  • Match: Derby County v. Barnsley, 9/27, 7:45pm, on sale now, 30 pounds; can buy on day of game
  • Accommodations for night of 9/27 in Derby

Wednesday, 9/28

  • Train (day 4) from Derby to Middlesbrough (3 hours, frequent)
  • Match: Middlesbrough v Leicester City, 9/28, 7:45pm
  • Accommodations in Middlesbrough for 9/28 (match will end too late at night to stay with friend)

Thursday, 9/29

  • Train (day 5) from Middlesbrough to London King’s Cross (3-4 hours, frequent)
  • Accommodations in London for night of 9/29

Friday, 9/30

  • [Craven Cottage Tour, 11:15am]
  • Tube from Putney Bridge to Liverpool Street
  • Train (day 6) from London Liverpool Street to Prittlewell (1 hour, frequent)
  • Match: Southend v Shrewsbury, 9/30, 7:45pm
  • Accommodations for night of 9/30 in Southend

Saturday, 10/1

  • Train (day 7) from Prittlewell to London Liverpool Street (1 hour, frequent)
  • Tube from Liverpool Street to Putney Bridge
  • Match: Fulham v. QPR, Saturday, 10/1, 3pm, Craven Cottage
  • Tube from Putney Bridge to Euston
  • 10/1 Train from London Euston to Bolton (3 hours as long as you catch the 8:20 train or earlier. 9pm train is 4 hours.)
  • Accommodations for night of 10/1 in Bolton

Sunday, 10/2

  • Local train from Bolton to Horwich Parkway station
  • Match: Bolton v. Chelsea, 10/2, 1:30pm, Reebok Stadium, Bolton, on sale 9/7
  • Train (day 8) from Bolton to Manchester Airport Hotel (1 hour, frequent)

Monday, 10/3

  • Return (MAN>PDX) Continental Flight #21 | 7h 50m | Economy Cabin Mon, Oct 3 9:25a from Manchester, United Kingdom (MAN) 12:15p in Newark, NJ (EWR) Time between flights:7h 0m | Long Layover
  • Continental Flight #1105 | 6h 5m | Economy Cabin Mon, Oct 3 7:15p from Newark, NJ (EWR) 10:20p in Portland, OR (PDX)

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  • Flight cost (as of 8/22/11) = $1005 on Continental site
  • Britrail England Pass, 8 day flex pass = $329
  • Currency: 1.65 dollars to the pound as of 8/22/11

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Resources to help you with your recommendations:

Now that you’ve had a chance to review his itinerary, you have the perfect opportunity to convince him (and the fellow readers) if he should make any changes or detours. Should he go see your favorite club or favorite football ground instead? Are there things in England that he should not miss if he has the chance to be there? Do you have recommendations of how he can avoid those mega-long layovers?

Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments section below. Your insight and feedback is always welcomed.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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