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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Calne Town

Calne Town FC is a non-league football club from the town of Calne, which is located six miles east of Chippenham in Wiltshire. The football club was formed in 1886.

The club joined the Wiltshire League as founder members in 1894 while playing home games at the recreation Ground in the centre of town before merging with another local side; Harris FC to become Calne & Harris FC. Harris was the name of the bacon factory whose buildings dominated the town skyline.

Following World War Two the club emerged as Calne & Harris United FC continuing to play Wiltshire County League football. In the early 1960’s the club changed titles to Calne Town Fc and moved to a new Bremhill View ground, which offered scope for better facilities.

In 1985-86 a new committee was formed at the club in an attempt to bring a better standard of football to Calne. The move succeeded was they were accepted as members of the Western League for the 1986-87 campaign.

Expansion work beginning in 1991 saw a new clubhouse being added to the facilities at Bremhill View. In 1992-93 under manager Graham Fell, the team won promotion to the Premier Division of the Western League.

The side retained their status for three years with managers coming and going before the club employed twenty two year old Tommy Saunders as team manager. Saunders did a fine job in improving the team before he was offered the managers job at Chippenham Town in February 1998.

The following season saw several players follow their former boss down the road to Chippenham. ‘The Lillywhites’ were relegated as a consequence to Division One in April 1999. The club tried to rebuild in using younger players, but had a lucky escape when finishing bottom of the table in 2000-01, when league reconstruction saved a further demotion.

Gradually the club re-established themselves under manager Kelvin Highmore who led the side back to the Premier Division in 2004-05, before he departed for pastures new. Highmore was succeeded by the team of Robbie Lardner and Simon Hillier who took Calne to a fifth place finish; the highest in the clubs’ history.

In May 2009 Lardner and Hillier stepped down to be replaced by the returning Highmore who was joined by Tommy Dryden. They lasted until the end of the 2009-10 season when Calne finished bottom of the table and were relegated once again.

After further managerial changes several of the younger reserve team players were given an opportunity in the first eleven with their manager Simon Gardner taking over team affairs. Gardner later became the club chairman and appointed Neurin Jones as team manager.

The 2016-17 season was one of extreme disappointment after Dave Ferris took over from Jones in November while Garry Murphy took over as chairman. Ferris was dismissed with two matches of the season remaining as the team finished second from bottom of the table.

Calne Town FC will play in the Wiltshire Senior League in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Calne Town 3 Corsham Town 1 (Saturday 8th October 2016) Western League Division One (Att: 257)

My visit to Calne came about because the Western League had decided to run a groundhop weekend with many fixtures kicking off at staggered times. It was the international break for the top two divisions, which offered the potential for decent crowds to attend the matches.

It certainly worked for me. I was able to get the Swindon Town v Bolton Wanderers match at lunchtime, followed by the majority of Royal Wootton Bassett Town v Burnham in the Hellenic League before the 55 bus delivered me in Calne.

I had arrived early to ensure that I got a programme at the ground before going in search of some ale. I didn't bother with the North Star club outside the ground, which had been listed in the guides, and the one backing onto the ground was staging a kids party.

Instead I went back round the corner to the Jenny Wren where both Wadsworth pumps were out of action. I sipped a bottle Newcy Brown while taking in the closing stages of the desperate England v Malta game on TV before heading back to the ground where the crowds were massed on the far side.

Bremhill View was a tidy enough venue. The near side had a low terraced cover, with the far side being cramped and atmospheric with a low seated stand in the centre with changing rooms and busy refreshment hut towards the corner flag.

Admission was a very reasonable £5, with the programme costing a further quid. I thought it a tidy little ground with superb floodlights which made the trees at the far end a very pretty image. I bought just about my first Bovril of the season for £1.

There were a few of recognisable faces in the crowd from other matches as neutrals over the years along with a real plethora of team jackets and hats. Scarborough Athletic fans Keith Crowe and Neil Daniels were in attendance and were doing the full Western League hop over the weekend.

The match turned out to be a decent local derby, which had apparently being very feisty in previous seasons. The visitors of Corsham Town went 1-0 up through Ben Pring before Mark Dolman levelled things up for the Lillywhites on twenty one minutes.

Just before the half hour mark, player boss Neurin Jones made it 2-1 to the home side. There was no point trying to get served in what would have been a busy bar at the break. Instead I took advantage of the great offer on half price hot dogs for a pound. Some of the more frugal hoppers weren’t best happy having made their purchase at the higher prices a little earlier!

Oliver Webb made it 3-1 to Calne with half an hour left on the clock. They looked in control of the match when I had to depart to ensure that I caught the last bus to Chippenham. I missed a second goal for Pring that made the final score 3-2.

On arrival in Chippenham I had time for a pint of the very quaffable Summer Lightning from the Hopback Brewery in the excellent Old Road Tavern, which was marked down for a return visit in the future.

At which point it was time for the rattler back to Paddington, and with the aid of a bus and the new night tube on the Jubilee line, it meant that I caught the end of the Football League goals on a rerun just before 2am when I turned the key to my door.

The people of Wiltshire who I had come across were most amiable. All were friendly and helpful, helping to round off a wonderful day out.

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