We went to every Premier League stadium in the UK in 24 hours

It was for our course


Coming up to Christmas, most campuses in the UK are filled with second and third years panicking about their impending deadlines. Slaving away at painfully slow computers, trying to crack the difference between parliamentary and presidential democracies.

But on the 21st November, four second years sacked off their normal Saturday plans to roadtrip around the UK for a documentary – attempting to hit all 20 premier league stadiums in just 24 hours.

Ryan, Jamie, George and Jack, all TV students from Southampton Solent, attempted and succeeded in their feat in 23 hours and 40 minutes, covering nearly 1400 miles, spending over £300 in the process.

We sat down with Ryan Alicoon, the de facto leader of the expedition to find out how they struggled through.

He said: “We had to do a documentary for our coursework. This has never been attempted like this before, so we pitched it to the uni and they loved it.

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The route they took

Taking 40 bags of pickled onion Space Raiders as their only sustenance on the arduous journey around the country, the group battled motorway closures, sky high petrol prices and a sat nav which hadn’t been updated in over four years.

The beginning of the journey

Ryan described the start of their mission.

“We set off from Southampton for Bournemouth around 10pm.

“We wanted to start bang on midnight, so we set off with plenty of time. We got to Bournemouth and then almost immediately set off back to Southampton for the first stadium.

“It got a bit boring on the road for the first bit, I was actually chirpsing some girls on the phone from the passenger seat, just to pass the time.

From the South West, the boys hit London in a few hours, seeing off the six clubs inside the M25 while the roads were dead. But even in these early stages, it was not all plain sailing. After an incident at a junction in North London, they were pulled over by Police who refused to believe they were sober.  After explaining that it was for a documentary, they were eventually let on their way.

As dawn broke, the squad left the glittering lights of Watford in the wake of their 53 reg Black Renault Clio and headed to Norwich. Clearing the UK’s most Eastern stadium with ease, they made good time and approached Leicester ahead of schedule.

The last stadium before dawn

They then faced the longest gap between stadia, a distance of over 180 miles from the King Power, all the way up to St. James’ Park. Up until this point, their four-year-old sat nav had served them well, but as they set off from the East Midlands club, they realised it was taking them on roads that had been closed for ages.

Ryan chuckles as he remembers the mistake that almost cost him the documentary. “We were meant to update it before we left, but completely forgot.

“Someone brought it up as we set off from home, but we just thought fuck it, got our phones, we can just Google Maps it.”

Between Leicester and the Toon, they managed to lose nearly two hours, putting the success of the trip in jeopardy as they headed to Sunderland. On Tyneside, about halfway through the multipack of Space Raiders, they swapped shifts, with Jamie and Ryan swapping with George and Jack so they could get some sleep.

“When we got to Sunderland we looked at the clock and it was 2:40 with eight clubs still to hit.

After the West Midlands clubs,  they hit Wales, where they found nothing but disappointment.

“The McDonald’s over there just isn’t as good, nothing like the English stuff.”

Eventually, with their pride just about intact, the Clio running low on outrageously priced fuel, the heroes made their way to Swansea. As they pulled into the Liberty stadium at 11:20pm, with just 40 minutes to spare, there was a lot to be proud of.

The end of it all

 

Their documentary drops on the 12th of January.