From Grassroots to the Caribbean

Gareth Thomas’ love for football has taken him on a journey not just around Britain, but all the way to the Caribbean – it’s a path trodden by few.

Gareth adores non-league football and is a dedicated groundhopper, having watched matches at more than 130 grounds. Through his passion, he created his blog Gareth’s Football Travels where he documents his groundhopping adventures. Little did he know, it would soon open doors to opportunities he could never have imagined.

The former goalkeeper has been the media officer for Uprising FC in Anguilla since September 2020 and, as of March 2023, runs the social feed for the Anguillan Football Association. Gareth explained that the power of social media, along with his blog writing, is what presented him with the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I’ve done a lot of blogging over the years,” Gareth told Fen Regis Trophies. “In 2020, I had a message on Twitter from a German guy called Pascal.

“He introduced himself and said that he travels all around the world. He’s a very keen traveller.”

Uprising FC

Gareth’s social media acquaintance, Pascal Panitzsch, is the general secretary for Uprising FC. The German football fanatic had assumed his role with the Anguillan club in July 2020 and, having read much of Gareth’s groundhopping blogs, he offered him the role of media officer with the club in September of that year.

“I said, ‘are you joking?’,” Gareth admitted. “He said, ‘no, honestly’ and he sent me a link to the website and since September 2020 I’ve been media officer for Uprising FC.”

With the club located 4,429 miles away from his home in Minsterley, Shropshire, commuting back and forth is out of the question. In fact, Gareth is yet to visit the club in person, though he plans to change that soon.

“I’m going over there in January 2024,” said the former Hadley Panthers Clubman of the Year. “I cannot wait to get over there. I’m going with Pascal and our club’s commercial officer, Louis Jones.”

Gareth added: “Fortunately, all games in Aguilla are live-streamed on YouTube, with commentary, which is how I am able to do a match report.

“I control the club’s social media sites. I interview our players and anything you can think of involved with a media role for football, I do.

“The role for me is no different to being a media officer of a club in this country.”

Central Wales League Southern Division Knighton Town’s home stadium The Showground is one of 130+ grounds Gareth has visited.


Before embarking on a blogging journey that has taken him from Shropshire to the Caribbean, Gareth was a goalkeeper for Shifnal Town in the West Midlands League. His overriding passion for football continued to burn bright and that led Gareth to take up groundhopping as a hobby.

“When I stopped playing,” Gareth said. “I needed something to do and my wife said that I’ve always liked non-league football, so why don’t I go around different grounds?”

“I started doing that. I did that for about a year before I started the blog, writing about my travel and what have you.

“From then, even though I don’t go to as many matches as I used to due to work and family commitments, I write a lot.

“It’s almost like the blog has taken over going to watch the football, in a sense…but I do get as much enjoyment from blogging as I used to from going to football every week.”

From playing for his local side to groundhopping nationwide to covering games halfway around the world, Gareth’s journey is unique, and it certainly hasn’t finished yet. You can follow Gareth’s social media work for Uprising FC and the Anguillan FA on Twitter/X by following @UprisingFC and @AnguillaFA.

By Aaron Gratton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit our online shop