When I was studying Business Psychology I briefly got sidetracked onto a tangent about the psychology of collecting (blogged here). I think that offers a good insight into why some people obsessively go to football matches - often called 'groundhopping'. It's a collecting impulse.
People who go to a lot of football matches in a lot of different places tend to keep some sort of record of it, for example, in an Excel spreadsheet (I do this), or using an app created to help them, like the Futbology App (which I use regularly).
As an aside, Futbology was originally called Groundhopper, but apparently that had less of a cachet to it than the developers had hoped, so they changed the name.
The problem is if you have all this data, what do you do with it? Futbology has a neat feature where you can review your personal stats, looking at all the different grounds you have been to, and a list of all the clubs you have seen. But that only goes so far, and like a spreadsheet, it's not that exciting to look at.
I used the list of teams I've seen to update my Top 10 Table of teams that I have seen. I previously did this up to the end of the 2017 season and a lot has changed since then. This is my current top 10, up to the end of the 2020-21 season.
The big new entrant since the last time I posted a table is Barry Town, who weren't even in the top ten back in 2017. They are now second in the table, usurping Cardiff City, although I have seen the Bluebirds 18 times since I published my previous top ten. The New Saints are also new entries and are going to climb the table as well, given that I've already seen them twice since June!
Tables are all well and good, but I also have another project on the go. A long time ago, before we were married, even, Cathy gave me a 'Book of Days' as a present.
These are handy books that you are meant to write birthdays and memorable events in on given dates. I wrote a few in, but then it sat and languished in a drawer for two decades. Then a few years back I decided to go through my lists of football matches and fill in the book with all the games on the date I saw them. The result is something like this.
It is fun flicking through the pages, remembering games. It's also fun when I get to 'tick off' a day like I did when I saw TNS in a Europa Conference League game at the end of July.
One of the fun aspects of collecting is arranging and rearranging, cataloguing and organising your collection. Playing around with different ways of displaying the data from intangible collected items is the same impulse. I find a sense of satisfaction from looking at my spreadsheet's many pages, my Book of Days, and the blacked out year calendar, which is akin to looking through a binder of baseball cards, or a full football sticker album.
The challenge is on to "complete" the year!