Jeff Stelling is to make a surprise appearance at am upcoming non league game after hearing of a successful groundhop day in the South East.
The first ever official Groundhop in that part of the country took place last weekend with the SCEFL and ‘GroundhopUK’ joining forces to bring you a festival of football.
Six games saw 17 goals in total, 4 winning sides and lots of entertainment along with a combined crowd number coming in at over 2,000 with two Clubs achieving attendance records for their grounds.
Friday 7th October
Punjab United 1-1 Stansfeld – 347
Saturday 8th October
Staplehurst Monarchs 1-0 Rochester United – 331
Bearsted 2-1 Fisher – 227
Larkfield & New Hythe 2-1 Greenways – 245
Sunday 9th October
Rusthall 4-2 K Sports – 344
Tunbridge Wells 1-1 Lordswood – 518
This buzz has caught the attention of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling, who had made a video, in it he says: “Punjab United, a record attendance, and over 400 people, wow, get yourself down there for a great curry, and some great football. I’m on my way!”
So the news is spreading fast about the successful SCEFL groundhop day at PUFC. Even https://t.co/2jV6Olr8Gx Saturday, Jeff Stelling is on his way to see what it’s all about…. Unbelievable Jeff! pic.twitter.com/XVd3mEwxpA
— Punjab United FC (@PUFC_Gravesend) October 12, 2022
The Southern Counties East Football League website wrote: “All at the SCEFL hope that everyone who visited these games over the weekend enjoyed the entertainment on offer.
“If you want to share your experiences, photos, reports and feedback please tag us on your socials, use the tag #SCEFLGroundHop or send them via email so we can feature them here and share them to the world.
“The Kent and East Sussex areas already attract much interest from groundhoppers; for those from the North of the country, this is a long-awaited visit to the South-East for a “hop”, and a full weekend of fixtures will be a major pull.
“Both parties are excited about staging what promises to be a fantastic event.
Friday 7th October 17:45ko
Match 82 of 2022/23
🏟 The Steve Cook Stadium, Gravesend@PUFC_Gravesend 1@StansfeldFC 1@SCEFLeague Premier Division
Part one of the @SCEFLHop2022 weekend#groundhopping #kizzyscornerpics #FNF #SCEFL #PUFC pic.twitter.com/81k15Od1uI
— Kiz (@Kizzyetrance) October 7, 2022
Speaking at the launch late last year, SCEFL Chair Denise Richmond said “We’re delighted to welcome the Groundhoppers to the Southern Counties East League for the 2022/23 season, and hope they are looking forward to watching games from across our two competitive divisions. It will raise the league’s profile across steps 5 and 6 even further and with many clubs progressing up the pyramid in recent seasons it will be a chance to visit new grounds for many spectators. We look forward to welcoming new faces at various Southern Counties East League grounds in October 2022.”
Chris Berezai of GroundhopUK said “This news will be welcomed by groundhoppers everywhere. So many have asked when we were going to add a hop in the South, and we are both thrilled and honoured that the League has agreed to stage the Hop. We look forward to working very closely with the SCEFL to make sure it’s a fantastic event.”
Over the next 5 years the aim is for every SCEFL side to host a Groundhop game.
In March 2022, GroundhopUK attended matches in the North West Counties League and before that, did a Scottish Hop, as well as an Easter Hellenic League Hop with more doubt being planned.
Punjab United‘s chairman tweeted: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who attended Friday night. To have an attendance of 347 is a massive achievement for the club and is a record high for us in the league.
I’d like to also thank all our volunteers who helped us out on the day. From youth team managers to the management team themselves, I would like to thank them for the hard work they put in to made Friday night a good one.
We’d also like to thank everyone who worked behind the bar and cafe as they presented some amazing food for you all. We hoped you enjoyed it! I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Cohesion Plus who helped us out tonight and their amazing drummers put on a great show.
Finally I’d like to thank our photographer for taking some great pictures throughout the evening and our social media manager Ben who promoted the game as well as making an amazing programme for you all.
We hope to see you again soon but from everyone at the club we’d like to thank the SCEFL and Chris Berezai for setting this up and allowing us to have the opening game of the weekend. Many Thanks, Chipie Sian
Fans have given their reaction with Jeff Stelling to make appearance at non league game after hearing of the successful groundhop day…
@bristol_Robyn: Wow! @GroundhopUK @Laurencereade @craigdabbs1
@Chlo_Bo_5: The legend that is @JeffStelling is coming down to @PUFC_Gravesend ♥️
@foreverayellow: i hope he sticks to his word and does go check them out, sounds very exciting for those involved