Fixture lists are constantly updated and, with the GPS function, you’ll be able to find upcoming matches in your area, wherever you are. Most important, you can add matches seen from the past, picking from the amazing historic database provided (even if it’s an abandoned or a now-demolished ground). Whether you’re a mad groundhopper or just a passionate football fan, this is THE thing you need. You’ll find any sort of ranking (by stadiums, by Club, by nation etc) and you’ll enjoy the fun of competing “against” the greatest groundhoppers around – or just against your friends! Bring all the old tickets out of the drawer, put pen and paper aside and enjoy this app!
To know more about the app – and about being a groundhopper – I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the two norwegian lads behind this: Lars Erik Bolstad and Geir Florhaug (where not specified otherwise, single answers are Lars’):
- Hi Lars, and thank you for your time. Let’s begin with your football’s background: when did you start following football and what are the memories of the first football game you attended?
- A stadium, usually big and loud, is always the thing a kid is amazed by on his first day at the football. Growing up, we tend to concentrate on other aspects: the game, tactics, etc., taking everything else for granted.
Being a groundhopper doesn’t mean that, does it?
|Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, 2013 (ph Groundhopper)|
|La Manga, Spain, Lillestrøm v Start, 2013 (ph Groundhopper)|
How’s being a groundhopper for you these days and what’s your take on “modern football” (especially with this new stadium-era going on)?
- Let’s focus on the “Groundhopper” app.
What was the idea behind it at first and how did you develop it? I guess you have a team of friends/collagues working on this.
We are two friends who make this app. We had for many years traveled together to watch football and thought it would be nice to have an app to keep track of our matches and stadiums. It turned out no such app existed so we decided to make it ourselves. I’m a software developer by profession and Geir, my Groundhopper “colleague”, works in the creative industry and is really good at graphics and drawing. It’s a hobby project that we work on in our spare time and it is great to see that quite a lot of people around the world really seem to like it.
- Tell us more about the app and its functions. I know there’s also a community connected to this and it can help groundhoppers from all over the world to share infos and be in touch with each other, right?
There’s also a competition aspect in the app and we have all sorts of ranking lists, including separate rankings for every club and stadium. So users compete to be the number one fan of their club or to be the one with the most visits to a particular stadium, and of course to have the most stadiums, the most countries, to complete the most leagues (in order to complete a league you must have visited all its stadiums at least once, ed), etc, etc.
- How do you enforce and update every fixture list from every different league into the app? There must be some programming work behind it but it must take some effort anyway.
This process is for the most part automated, but does require some manual tweaking before the data is exposed in the app.
As our user base grows we tend to get quick feedback when something is wrong, for instance if a match is listed under the wrong stadium.
- Is there a ground, in your experience, you’d tell everyone to go mainly for its outstanding architectural shape and sightlines?
- And what about a stadium you’d recommend for its matchday atmosphere?
- Everyone has a ground still missing in his “I’ve been there” list. Which one is yours?
- If you’d tell a story from a stadium where you’ve been in the past, which one would suddenly spring in your mind?
Lars: My best football experience of all time was at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on June 23 1998, when Norway beat Brazil in the World Cup and advanced from the group stage for the first time (2-1 to Norway with a great comeback: 83′ Flo and 89′ Rekdal, after Bebeto’s goal, ed). There was a big ticket scandal back then and we didn’t get the tickets we had bought in advance, so we had to walk the streets of Marseille for hours trying to get tickets on the black market. In the end we did and the rest of the day leading up to the match was one enormous party. And then we won, quite sensationally. That still ranks as the biggest sports achievement of all time in Norway. Of course, a few days later we lost to Italy as usual and were sent home...
- Watching a game is essential from a groundhopper point of view, but sometimes we visit a stadium via a guided tour or getting inside on our own (if it’s a lower league ground). Can that be considered groundhopping? Are you planning on considering this specific option for the app in the future?
- We’re at the end of this interesting interview and we’re curious to know: what are your “Groundhopper” app stats? It’s been great chatting with you, thank you again, see you sometimes at the football!