Welcome to volume one of my blog paying homage to the football clubs I've visited all over the world and the wonderful people responsible for keeping them going and looking after the stadiums, and in some cases basic grounds.

Since I was a little lad I've been fascinated in football and more so where games are played. With my love of travel and curiosity of the game I wanted to visit as many grounds and see games wherever possible. I was lucky that my Dad also loved the game and spent so much of his spare time taking me to matches. As I got older the boundaries widened owing to my location and increased wages to Europe and indeed the world. The sight of a stand or a floodlight pylon in the distance immediately hightens my senses and eagerness for a closer look.

I hope this site gives you the chance to share in my pleasure and experiences and maybe one day set you on the road to adventure. If you get half as much out of the hobby as I've done I can guarantee some great memories, good friends and stories to pass on to future generations.

Give your local club a go today. They'll be pleased to see you!

Everlasting thanks primarily to my late and very much missed and dearly loved parents; my Dad Bob Bernard and my Mum; Ann, who put up with endless years of football chat and my brothers Nick and Paul who gave me the chance and encouragement to do what I have. Thanks to all my friends who offer encouragement and Sally and Stan who inspire and give me great pride. Young Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby!

Please feel free to post any comments (please use sensible language - I want everyone to be able to enjoy reading) or ask any questions relating to visiting grounds or events. If you want to see any ground reviewed please let me know. It will take quite some time for everywhere to appear, but make sure you keep having a look as the site is continually updated.

If you click on a lot of the pictures you will get a larger version on your screen.

I have also added links to video clips on youtube where appropriate for those of you who are bored of reading or are filling in time at work. I haven't always gone for the most obvious choices, but items that will be in some cases unusual but always historically interesting.

Click to see volume two of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard


September 2015

Friday, October 12, 2018

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (Germany)

Spielvereinigung Greuther Fürth e. V. is a professional football club from the north Bavaria German city of Fürth, which neighbours the larger city of Nürnberg. The origins of the club come from the formation of the football section of Turnverein 1860 Fürth on September 23rd 1903.

This was primarily a gymnastics club, with the footballers breaking away in November 1906 as SpVgg Fürth after citing a lack of support from their parent club. The team participated in the regional Ostkreisliga, becoming divisional champions in 1912,1913 and 1914.

A fierce local rivalry had already been forged with neighbours 1. FC Nürnberg by the time Fürth reached the south German Süddeutsche in a bid to qualify for the national championships.

In 1910 the club opened their own home; originally titled Sportplatz am Ronhofer Weg gegenüber dem Zentral-Friedhof and later to become Sportpark Ronhof. By 1914 the club had become the largest in the country.

Fürth went on through the rounds to become German champions in 1914 after VfB Leipzig were defeated 3-2 after extra time in the final at Victoria 96-Platz in Magdeburg in front of 6,000 fans. Karl Franz netted a couple, with Fritz Weicz scoring the other under English coach William Townley.

The club continued to be a prominent force after World War One finishing as national runners-up after losing the 1920 final 2-0 to 1. FC Nürnberg in Frankfurt. A second Süddeutsche Meisterschaft followed in 1923, before further glory arrived at Ronhof.

Fürth were crowned as German champions for a second time in 1926 as 40,000 spectators flocked to the Waldstadion in Frankfurt to see Hertha BSC beaten 4-1 thanks to an own goal and efforts from Lony Seiderer, Karl Auer, Willy Ascherl.

Townley had moved on to be replaced at the helm by Hans Krauß as a third national championship was celebrated in 1929. Hertha were overcome once again, this time 3-2 at Club-Stadion im Zabo in Nuremberg.

A crowd of 50,000 saw Heinrich Auer, Georg Frank and Karl Rupprecht score for Fürth. The club was boosted on August 27th 1929, as another local club FC Schneidig Fürth joined forces at Ronhof with ‘Kleeblätter’ (Shamrocks).

Under the rule of the Third Reich football in Germany was organised into sixteen top flight Gauligen. Fürth were placed in Gauliga Bayern without too much success, aside from a divisional title in 1935.

The team enjoyed a few fruitful runs in Tschammer-Pokal, the forerunner of the DFB Pokal, German Cup. Following World War Two, German football was divided into five top flight Oberligen. Fürth were relegated from Oberliga Süd to Landesliga Bayern in 1947-48.

The club recovered and won promotion at the first attempt before becoming Oberliga Süd champions in 1949-50. VfB Stuttgart ended any dreams of a fourth German title in the semi-finals of the national championships.

Two SpVgg players, Karl Mai and Herbert Erhardt became World Cup winners in 1954 as Germany lifted the trophy against Hungary. Fürth remained in the top tier until the formation of the national Bundesliga in 1963. The club didn’t qualify as one of the sixteen members.

The club was placed in Regionalliga Süd, finishing in third position in 1966-67. 2. Bundesliga was formed in 1974, with Fürth becoming founder members in the Süd division. In 1978-79 the team finished in fourth place, but generally ended in a mid-table position.

The second tier became just one division from 1981-82 with SpVgg being relegated to the Bayernliga at the completion of the 1982-83 campaign, despite the goals of Wolfgang Metzler.

A fourth place finish came in 1985-86 thanks to the goals of Manfred Kastl and Siegfried Susser. However, the team was relegated to Landesliga Bayern-Mitte in 1986-87 to the fourth level of German football.

The Bayern-Mitte title was won in 1990-91, going on to a third place ending in the Bayernliga the following season. A runners-up berth in 1992-93 led to a play-off round, from where Fürth failed to progress toward promotion.

However, a place in the reorganised third tier Regionalliga Süd was secured for the 1993-94 season. Financial troubles blighted the club at the time forcing SpVgg to sell Sportpark Ronhof to a local businessman and pay rent to remain.

Club President Edgar Burkhart arranged a deal with the President of successful local club TSV Vestenbergsgreuth for the clubs to merge at in the summer of 1996 to become form SpVgg Greuther Fürth.

TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, formed in 1974 went out in style, defeating German champions Bayern München 1-0 in the DFB Pokal of 1994-95 at the Frankenstadion in Nürnberg in Bayern’s first competitive game under manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

TSV Vestenbergsgreuth didn’t compete in senior football after the merger with Fürth until the 2006-07 season when they began again in the tenth tier A-Klasse Erlangen/Pegnitzgrund-Gruppe 3 from their Am Schwalbenberg home.

Both clubs were competing in Regionalliga Süd at the time of the merger with the squad being immediately strengthened. The team finished runners-up to 1. FC Nürnberg, winning promotion to 2. Bundesliga with the goals of Frank Türr giving the fans plenty to cheer in 1996-97.

The return to the second tier heralded a couple of finishes around midway in the table, with Arie van Lent finishing as top scorer in 1998-99. The team continued to gradually progress, coming in fifth in 2001-02 with Rachid Azzouzi leading the scoring charts.

Sportpark Ronhof had been renamed the Playmobil Arena in a sponsorship deal and had received its first redevelopment for several decades with new stands and the inauguration of the first set of floodlights.

Another local club, Tuspo Fürth joined forces with SpVgg Greuther Fürth in July 2003 as strikers Petr Ruman and Marcus Feinbier did the business on the pitch. Three repeated fifth place finishes were achieved as Christian Eigler and Christian Timm weighed in with the goals.

Stefan Reisinger was top scorer in the 2007-08 as Fürth finished sixth. Sami Allagui was the Kleeblätter hero for the next couple of seasons as the team continued to plug away. A fourth place finish in 2010-11 was a taster of greater things to come.

Greuther Fürth won promotion to the top flight in 2011-12 as they were crowned as 2. Bundesliga champions as Olivier Occéan and Christopher Nöthe proved too much for opposing defenders under head coach Mike Büskens.

A new South Stand was built for the demands of top flight football. Unfortunately, the spell would only last one season. Büskens was replaced by Frank Kramer but the team finished in bottom place completing just four victories.

The team and club regathered and ended the 2013-14 season in third place leading to a play-off with Hamburger SV, who triumphed on aggregate by virtue of an away goal in the second leg at the re-sponsored Trolli Arena as Kosovan striker Ilir Azemi led the way.

Büskens was reappointed as head coach to take over from Kramer in February 2015 as Greuther dropped down the table at Ronhof’s latest guise; Stadion am Laubenweg, which became Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer from the summer of 2015.

The goals of Sebastian Freis took SpVgg to ninth place in 2015-16 before Stefan Ruthenbeck took over team affairs. Serdar Dursun netted ten times the following season as the side ended in ninth position.

Janos Radoki had succeeded Ruthenbeck in November 2016, lasting until the following August before being replaced by Damir Burić, whose side finished disappointingly just above the relegation zone.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth will play in 2. Bundesliga in the 2018-19 season.

My visit

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 0 Hamburger SV 0 (Thursday 27th September 2018) 2. Bundesliga (att: 14,965)

I’d taken advantage of a week off work by enjoying a bit of cricket before heading to Germany for three days. The previous evening I’d been to see Fortuna Düsseldorf go down 2-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

It had been an early start by train south, but the stunning views along the Rhine Valley more than compensated. It took me back to the towns of my first foreign adventure back in October 1989. It looked just as beautiful as the sun came up.

Unfortunately, it seems that the driver was also enjoying the vista as we arrived late into Mainz meaning that I’d missed my connection. I took an SBahn on the advice of the Bahn App on my phone, changing at Frankfurt Airport.

That would have been Plan B if I’d realised just how far it was between the suburban and inter city platforms. It meant a run, OK jog, over several hundred metres. I caught the Munich bound service in the nick of time, getting me to Nuremburg around 1pm.

By now I was hungry, so I went for some comfort food in the form of goulash soup and an apple strudel at the station. The forecourt had some unsavoury characters gathered as I attempted to make some plans. I chose to check into my hotel and have a siesta.

The Hotel Continental was not anywhere near the list of my best hotels visited, but it did the job. I woke after a couple of hours and caught a tram to Doku-Zentrum to take in some beauty as well as dark history.

The Kongresshalle looked stunning on a sunny warm afternoon, as did the view over Grosser Dutzendteich lake. I walked along the impressive Große Straße, which was to be the main thoroughfare around Hitler’s little empire of showgrounds in the city.

Families walked, jogged and enjoyed the facilities. It is fantastic that somewhere so evil has been adapted and used for recreational purposes, with many of the half built marching grounds and arenas bulldozed after the War.

I was listening to a brilliant last session of the County Cricket season live from The Oval as Essex just got over the line to end the unbeaten record of champions Surrey. I was happy in several ways with my day!

The walk took me past Max-Morlock-Stadion, thankfully renamed to honour a city legend and to show that fan power can work. Opposite was Arena Nürnberger Versicherung, home to concerts, basketball and Nürnberg Ice Tigers ice hockey side.

Finally, I walked to the platform in Zeppelinfeld, where Hitler preached to the naïve. Lest we never forget. It was then time to head to Frankenstadion station for a train back to town. A large KFC later it was time to head to Fürth.

The match wasn’t kicking off until 8.30pm for TV coverage. This was such a game that fans across the country were protesting against at all midweek games for the first twenty minutes. They were sick of increased ticket prices, commercialisation by the German DFB.

The train took around fifteen minutes, leaving me plenty of time to have a look around. My pal Carl Ellis had been for a game and said that courtesy buses took fans to the stadium. He thought it was from the main station.

There was some outside, but they were marked for visiting fans. I most certainly didn’t want to be part of any police escort. Instead I decided to look for a suitable bar on one of my Apps. I was pointed in the direction of a bar in a nearby park, but it was closed.

Gustav-Schickedanz-Straße from the station and the car park at the end, along with Königstraße was packed with stalls and rides getting ready for what I later discovered to be Michaelis-Kirchweih.

This was the oldest fair in Bavaria, going back nine hundred years. The vendors and stall holders were in preparation for its opening a couple of days later. It appeared that one or two may be trying their luck later in the evening.

Königstraße took me to the main Rathaus area of what was a pretty city. The stalls finished with the wide pavement further along looking to have fans sat outside bars enjoying pre- match beers. Some fans stood opposite waiting for the buses to the stadium.

This was ideal. I entered Zum Schlawiener, a busy SpVgg fan pub where I enjoyed large sized bottles of locally brewed Gruner Vollbier and Zirndorfer from a nearby town. Both were excellent, and even better at just €2.20 a bottle!

I decided to head towards the stadium just in case anything went wrong on one of the free buses, which rather conveniently dropped us right outside Cafe-Bar RUINE, which although full of fans, also had plentiful quick serving staff. It’d have been rude to blank such an invitation!

The bar was on Erlander Straße, from where it was just a short walk down an alley to Laubenweg, with the stadium on the other side of the road. Various souvenir, food and beer stands were along the pavement.

Despite it being well before kick-off time I decided to enter the stadium to have a look and hopefully grab a decent place on the Nordkurve. I’d paid €17 plus a rather steep €10 surcharge for overseas posting, but I wanted to be guaranteed entry for this big game as both sides both were around the promotion places.

After one grumpy steadfast refusal, a second steward was most accommodating in allowing me inside the East Stand to take photos of the area I was going to stand in. The arena was fans friendly out the back with a beer garden and easy access, though it could have done with some extra toilets.

Beer was priced at €3.90, which was a hike, but still reasonable. Under the terracing there was a combination of fans stalls and refreshments. Free programmes and flyers about the protests were handed out.

The stadium showed signs of being put together bit by bit. My stand was a separate covered terrace. The far end Südkurve was higher and a combination of standing and family seating going around the east corner.

The East Stand was impressive but didn’t look fully complete as it stopped near the far end eighteen yard box and blocked some views in the adjoining terrace. It had been badly planned. The North Stand was a separate seated structure.

Experience told me to try and get a place near the end of a terrace as it wouldn’t be so crowded. It gave me a view of the whole pitch and a decent elevation. The fans around me were friendly and I had a ledge for my jacket and scarf on a pleasant evening.

The Fürth players went through some excellent warm ups and practise moves as I enjoyed the work of the stadium DJ. Perhaps this was now the norm, but I was usually in a stadium bar or nearby pub when teams go through the drills?

The Hamburg fans had travelled in force, filling their allocation as well as some home seats. As ever, there was no hint of any bother. The first twenty minutes of the game was a cagey affair, played out to polite applause before the fans ended their protest and turned up the volume.

Fürth’s Maximilian Wittek fired in a free kick that came back off the bar with keeper Julian Pollersbeck well beaten in the second minute. The rest of the period was scrappy. You can see a short video of the twenty minute mark here.

The hosts were the better side in those early stages. Hamburg were in their first season of second tier football after several escapes from relegation and were not finding it easy; having been thumped 5-0 at home to Jahn Regensburg in their previous game.

Hamburg were kicking towards their support after the break. They had the better of the play with Khaled Narey and Vasilije Janjicic having efforts on goal. The hosts were pushed further back and were fortunate when substitute Jann-Fiete Arp missed from close range.

Fürth pressed a little more in the closing stages. The referee didn’t adhere himself to the locals, although I thought he was more than generous on occasions by not pulling up Maximilian Sauer for what looked suspiciously like several foul throws.

Neither side could break the deadlock, but I’d still enjoyed myself; having grabbed another beer at the interval to enjoy on the terraces. Just how have Germany got it right with regards to fans culture. Perhaps it’s because the fans demand it?

Within ten minutes I was back on one of the buses from the same place and deposited at Rathaus to take the UBahn back to Lorenzkirche in the heart of Nuremberg. It was around 11.30pm but still time for a couple of nightcaps.

The friendly waiter at Barfüßer Brewery sorted me with a large dunkel as I took in the old disused pub signs that had been brought over from the UK. It’s always sad when a pub closes, but its good when its heritage is remembered.

Finally I crossed the road to Finnegan's Harp Irish Pub for a pint of Warsteiner to round off a brilliant long day. The hotel décor meant very little to me as I was soon sound asleep.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Broadfields United

Broadfields United FC is a non-league club based in Harrow, north west London who were formed in 1993, joining the Southern Olympian League from their Broadfields Sports & Social Club base in Headstone Lane.

The club soon grew, running many Saturday and Sunday teams, with United winning Division Four of the Southern Olympian League in 1994-95, moving to join Division One of the Middlesex County League.

Division One was renamed the Senior Division, with Broadfields winning the title in 1996-97, winning promotion to the Premier Division. After two bottom finishes in consecutive seasons, United left the league before returning for the 2007-08 campaign, after the devastation of fire to the clubs’ complex.

‘The Fighting Cocks’ were placed in Division One West, before winning promotion to the Premier Division in 2008-09 under manager Chris Webster. The club left the Middlesex League again in 2009-10 before returning to the Premier Division the following season with Dene Gardner in charge of the side.

Ryan Duffy was appointed manager for the 2011-12 season, going on to win the Premier Division Cup. The trophy was retained the following season. Duffy’s team finished fourth in the Premier Division in 2014-15.

An injury time Sam Horan goal against Cricklewood Wanderers led to United winning promotion to Division One of the Spartan South Midlands League, while midfielder James Brophy was snapped up by Swindon Town.

United became tenants to Harefield United at Preston Park, with Mark Barham joining the club coaching staff before taking over as manager in 2016-17, with Broadfields lifting the Middlesex Premier Cup after victory over Hillingdon Borough.

The Middlesex Premier Cup was retained in 2017-18 after defeating Harefield United in the final, with United finished in fourth place in the league. Liam Bird took over as manager in the summer of 2018.

Broadfields United FC will play in the Spartan South Midlands League Division One in the 2018-19 season.

My visit

Broadfields United 2 Edgware Town 0 after extra time (Sunday 16th September 2018) FA Vase Second Round Qualifying (att: c100)

It was a lovely, if windy day as I awoke after night shift around 1pm. I’d contemplated heading to Lord’s for the National Village Knock Out Final, featuring Folkton & Flixton CC from the outskirts of Scarborough.

It was tempting but I knew that it would be a very ‘social’ day. Work restricted me in partaking in drinks, and I knew I could easily become rattled if tired and sober around those imbibing, especially if it led to high jinks.

I’d have only of caught the second innings anyway, so I decided upon the alternative of some beautiful scenery, exercise and to cheer on Edgware Town, who had an affinity with as joint tenants of Silver Jubilee Park.

A bus and tube took me to Northwood station, from where I caught the 331 bus in the nick of time for the pleasant route to Harefield from where I walked a few hundred metres down Breakspear Road North to Preston Park.

The clubhouse was busy on arrival. I had a quick chat with two fellow ‘hoppers’ from Northampton over a quick drink before paying £6 admission including a programme to enter the ground.

Preston Park looked in beautiful nick. The wide pitch looked pristine but would later prove to be a little firm and have a few bobbles under the lush green covering. I was about to have a walk round when I came across another familiar face.

Mishi Morath, the loyal Dulwich Hamlet fan also fancied this match. We had a good chat about all things Hendon and Hamlet, the new divisions we found our teams in and the infamous play-off final from the previous May.

Harefield United’s PA man had received some uncomplimentary reviews on the Non-League Matters website in the past. The same fella was on the mic for Broadfields. The substitutes received a reprimand from him for warming up on the pitch before the game.

The ground had two warm up pitches outside the main arena. Before kick-off our announcer made a few fans days when trying to read out the two teams. Some of the foreign names had him struggling! He then gave the good news that extra programmes had been sourced for those who’d missed out.

There were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd as Wares started slightly the better of the sides. The visitors plied their trade in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League; one above the hosts.

A good move put in Edgware’s Onalolu Onabolu, but his low shot was kept out by the feet of United keeper Matt Faley, before both sides squandered chances with the ball finding the high netting behind the goals.

A diligent Broadfields official was busy counting the crowd in small sections and writing it down. An Edgware fan suggested we kept moving to bolster the gate and their half of the receipts!

On thirteen minutes Wares stopper Sam Irish made a fine save from a powerful Ronny Mfinda effort. The game was becoming stretched from an early stage in warm conditions, with both sides stringing some nice moves together.

Edgware boss Fergus Moore shouted instructions from the bench as though he was kicking every ball. His counterpart, Liam Bird barked his order rather more vociferously and with much less subtlety.

Just before the half hour mark, Broadfields mounted an excellent fast move, but Dene Gardner dragged his effort wide. The teams cancelled each other out for the remainder of the half, when I grabbed a cuppa from inside the bar.

The second half became rather scrappy with lots of poor ball retention not helped by the firm surface. It mirrored the Aylesbury United v Marlow game I’d seen seven days previously; which coincidentally featured teams also playing in green and white, and all blue.

The hosts began to gain the upper hand, with Rex Kimona seeing his shot saved by Irish after being put in by Mfinda. Faley scuffed a clearance at the other end, redeeming himself by tipping over a shot from Wares’ Tomasz Siemiemzuck.

A foray from the Fighting Cocks full back Paul Sommer saw his low cross attempted to be put in by a combination of Mfinda and Kimona, but they made a bit of a hash of the opportunity.

An excellent long low ball from the hosts other full back, Damion Cruickshank sent in Kiona who blasted his effort high over the bar when in on goal. The game looked destined for extra time with half chances being wasted.

A huge scramble in the United six yard box somehow saw the ball kept out by several defenders and the keeper as Edgware seemed certain to break the deadlock with five minutes remaining.

United wasted the best chance of the game in the last few minutes after skipper Harry Henry had a shot saved by Irish. Mfinda put the rebound over from just eight yards. The decent referee Thomas Baines blew his whistle for full time shortly after to signal extra time.

The intrepid announcer continued to amuse himself, but not many others by giving out the West Ham score and generally waffling on. It was a great excuse to put my earplugs in and listen to the live game; although Dion Dublin's punditry made that tiresome after a while.

Broadfields' ascendancy continued when Sam Horan saw his cross bounce off the top of the Edgware bar, before the visitors got a foothold and produced their best spell of the encounter without creating a clear cut chance aside from Onabolu hitting the side netting.

United went ahead just before the turnaround when Irish dropped a corner. The ball eventually fell to Kimona. The keeper got a good hand on the shot but could not keep it out. Players were becoming tired in the second period as the one goal looked like it would decide the tie.

Cruickshank put any doubts to bed late on as he summoned the energy to go on a fantastic long run, playing a one two with a colleague before hammering the ball across into the far corner to make it 2-0.

Edgware’s day was summed up when substitute Rio Beach miscued a pass that inadvertently found fellow replacement Stanley Anum whose weak effort was gathered at the second attempt by Faley. United thoroughly deserved to progress.

There was quite a bit of time before my return bus, so I walked into the centre of the pretty village to grab some water and relax taking in the scene. I had a chat to the Northants fraternity and Mishi at the bus stop before my return journey in time for some shut eye before work.

Details of my visits to Preston Park for Harefield United can be seen here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Silver Jubilee Park 2018-19

My matchday visits to Silver Jubilee Park for the 2018-19 season.

Hendon 9 Edgware Town 1 (Thursday 12th July 2018) Pre Season Friendly (att: 101)

An impressive performance from the new look Dons against Wares who were missing a regular keeper, but still offered plenty of hope. Tyriq Hunte scored a hat trick after coming on as a second half substitute.

 Hendon 1 St Albans City 2 (Saturday 14th July 2018) Pre Season Friendly (att: 95)

Dons didn’t get going until late in the game and 2-0 down. Dylan Kearney pulled a goal back before missing a penalty in the last minute on another scorching day.

Edgware Town 1 Potters Bar Town 3 (Wednesday 18th July) Pre Season Friendly (att: 60)

Wares gave it a good go against visitors from two divisions higher but were eventually undone. Mikkel James scored their goal.

Hendon 2 Haringey Borough 3 (Saturday 21st July 2018) Pre Season Friendly (att: 119)

Hendon led through Marvin Morgan at the break before falling 3-1 behind. Once again ten outfield changes were made on the hour mark as Jimmy Gray evaluated his fledgling squad. Again, the better Dons football came in the closing stages leading to Dean Mason grabbing a goal back.

Edgware Town 3 Hanwell Town 3 (Monday 23rd July 2018) Pre Season Friendly (att: 45)

It was a pity that more fans didn’t attend what was an excellent game of football, as Edgware’s goals game through a comical own goal, the impressive Ethan Mooney and Andrew Manitou

Hendon 1 Royston Town 1 (Tuesday 24th July 2018) Pre Season Friendly (att: 66)

This friendly was rather tetchy in the first half with the visitors going ahead. Kearney equalised after the break as Hendon improved again after the mass substitutions.

Hendon 3 Walton Casuals 0 (Tuesday 14th August 2018) Southern League Premier Division South (att: 236)

A great start for the Dons in their first home game in their new league. Luke Tingey powered home a header from a Lee Chappell corner before Ricky German scored a fantastic individual goal.

Hunte added a third goal from the bench in the second half as Hendon saw out the game with ease to the joy of a decent midweek gate.

Hendon 2 Farnborough 1 (Saturday 18th August 2018) Southern League Premier Division South (att: 278)

The impressive debut season continued. Cole Brown put the Greens ahead on thirty four minutes. The defence were doing a decent job with impressive young keeper Danny Boness looking confident despite arriving just minutes before kick off.

An excellent goal featuring Stephane Ngamvoulou and some excellent hold up play from the veteran Morgan set up Laste Dombaxe to curl the ball past flat footed keeper Lenny Pidgley.

Boro piled on pressure and scored a fine goal ten minutes from time. It was nail biting stuff for the remainder of the game as Dons threatened to break away but their ball retention was poor as they squandered some chances.

Boness pulled off a marvellous save after a visiting player missed a relatively simple chance to the amazement of the crowd. The final whistle was met with relieved and happy cheers from the home fans as their unbeaten league run continued. I also had the pleasure of meeting comedian and Farnborough fan Andy Smart.

Hendon 2 Harrow Borough 4 (Monday 27th August 2018) Southern League Premier Division South (att: 381)

A bumper Bank Holiday crowd saw Harrow deservedly take the points, even if their goals as they went into a 3-0 win were slightly fortunate. All three goals went in off Hendon players, with the second being an uncharacteristic goalkeeping howler.

Gray pushed the excellent defender Guri Demuria forward to try and salvage something from the game. His presence and the delivery of Chappell led to Hunte being fouled in the box and for German to stroke home the resulting penalty.

The pressure was being applied, but Harrow broke away to add a fourth. George Moore and Mitchal Gough had been excellent throughout leading the visitors defence. German still found time to add a second in the final few seconds.

Hendon 1 Poole Town 0 (Saturday 15th September 2018) Southern League Premier Division South (att: 263)

This was a tetchy game as it progressed. The three points came after debutant Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick was brought down in the area on ten minutes with German firing home from the spot.

It looked like a comfortable home win was in store. Chappell was providing some fantastic deliveries, but they lacked conversion. Poole gradually got into the game. They hit the bar before the break and then piled on the pressure after half time in spells.

Dons defended valiantly, with Boness having another fine game in goal. There was plenty of tension and Hendon made up for poor ball retention with effort and commitment. Hunte missed a great chance to double the lead late on.

Hendon P Phoenix Sports P (Saturday 22nd October 2018) FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

The match was postponed at 9.30pm on the Friday evening before the scheduled game owing to an FA investigation into Phoenix playing an ineligible player in their replay win against Lancing.

Programmes were printed, food and beer ordered and volunteers sought meaning that the very late notification was inconvenient and particularly well received!

Hendon 1 Lancing 1 (Tuesday 2nd October 2018) FA Cup Second Qualifying Round (att: 177)

My brother Nick joined me on car park duty for this re-arranged game and we had a great laugh. There was two divisions difference between the sides and it showed in the early stages. Hendon had all the play with the Lancers defence sitting deep and remaining resolute.

The opening eventually came after twenty four minutes from a fine individual goal from Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick. Tyler D'Cruz continued to do a good job in the visitors’ net, while Jack Langford cut a lone furrow up front.

D’Cruz was forced to make some fine saves from German, who was guilty of holding onto the ball too much. Too many of the Hendon side were taking the game too casually. Skipper Lee Chappell clipped the top of the bar with a free kick.

The Dons were made to pay with fifteen minutes to go when Langford broke between defenders Luke Tingey and Romario Jonas to fire home. Prince Mbengui brought out a superb save from D’Cruz, but in truth the Greens midfielder should have scored.

It took a fine save from Danny Boness to keep out Matt Daniel in the last couple of minutes to keep Hendon in the competition. That would have been harsh on the hosts, even if Lancing did deserve their draw and a replay the following Sunday.