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Meet the blind groundhopper who has visited 1,640 non-league football grounds

John Stancombe became totally blind in 2006 but that has not stopped him from pursuing his pastime or producing reports from little-known venues

Two weeks ago, John Stancombe visited his 1,640th non-league ground, Sandbach Football Centre, the home of the North West Counties club Sandbach United. As a level of commitment to the distinctly football-obsessed pastime of groundhopping that is quite some milestone, but what makes this resolute 46-year-old extraordinary by any measure is that he is completely blind.

“This is my 10th football season being totally blind,” Stancombe says. “I haven’t been able to see since 2006. So when that happened, I sat indoors for a year and really didn’t do anything. I could no longer go anywhere and had to rely on someone else to help me.

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