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 their maintenance.

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 fortunate 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 heightens 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 try today. They'll be delighted 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. Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby as he grows into a young man!

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


November 2018

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Rot-Weiss Frankfurt (Germany)

SG Rot-Weiss Frankfurt 01 is a football club from the German city of Frankfurt-am-Main that was formed on November 11th 1901 as FV Amicitia 1901 Bockenheim. It has gone through several mergers and name changes along the way, in a complicated history.

Amicitia had several members belonging to the former Bockenheimer FC 1899, with the new club playing in the top level of the Westmaingau Nordkreises, before deciding to merge in 1909 with Frankfurter FC 1902 to create Frankfurter FV Amicitia 1902, while playing in the Nordkreisliga.

Meanwhile in the Bockenheim district of Frankfurt, two other clubs; FVgg 01 and FC Germania decided to merge on July 5th 1912 to become Bockenheimer FVgg Germania 1901.

Following World War One, both Bockenheimer FVgg Germania 1901 and FV Amicitia 1901 Bockenheim merged to form VfR 1901 Frankfurt on August 26th 1919. Seven years later the club adopted the red and white colours for the first time.

The club achieved its first honours shortly after when they were crowned as Bezirksliga Main champions in 1929-30 and 1930-31. This led to participation in the final rounds of the Süddeutsche (South German) Championship.

The team’s goalkeeper of the time was local Bockenheimer Willibald Kreß, who went on to play for the German national team in 1929.

A further merger with FC Helvetia 1902 Bockenheim as SC Rot Weiß Frankfurt was born. Another club; Reichsbahn TuSG 1901 Frankfurt amalgamated to create Reichsbahn TSV Rot-Weiß Frankfurt in 1935, which greatly increased club membership as boxers and handball and hockey players joined up.

From 1933 German football was divided into sixteen top flight regional Gauliga’s, with Rot-Weiß being placed in Gauliga Südwest/Mainhessen as the temporarily joined forces with VfL Rödelheim, to play under the name of KSG Rödelheim/Rot-Weiß Frankfurt.

In 1940 the club moved into a new home at Brentanobad, with the club taking on the title of SG Rot-Weiss Frankfurt in 1946. The team played the 1947-48 season in Oberliga Süd; one of five top flight divisions at the time.

Rot-Weiss found the standard difficult as it was competing against clubs with far more wealth. 20,000 fans flocked to Brentanobad for the home fixture with 1. FC Nürnberg, before the team was relegated at the end of the campaign back to Amateurliga Hessen as the Oberliga was titled at the time.

The team dropped down a level to the Landesliga for several spells rising and winning the Oberliga Hessen league title in 1967-68 to play in the then second tier Oberliga Süd. However Rot-Weiss’s term lasted just twelve months.

Financial issues plagued the club in the 1970’s despite Hessenpokal triumphs in 1971 and 1975 and signings such as goalkeeper Hans-Peter Schauber, leading to the team being demoted back to the Landesliga at the end of the 1974-75 season.

Despite fighting back with a promotion, Rot-Weiss were relegated once again in 1977-78, with the club debt still remaining in place. Another regional cup success at the end of the decade at least gave rise to Rot-Weiss, at least to the attention of fans around the country.

The team qualified for the DFB Pokal; where they were hammered 11-0 against Hamburger SV at the Volksparkstadion. Financial expert and chairman Wolfgang Steubing led things off the pitch, while the team fought back to regain Hessenliga status.

Dragoslav Stepanović arrived as head coach as Rot-Weiss won the Oberliga Hessen title of 1989-90 and with experienced goalkeeper Oliver Roth and a young Jürgen Klopp in the team. However, the team missed out on promotion through the play-off rounds.

Stepanović departed after Rot-Weiss finished as league runners-up in 1990-91. Steubing also left the club half way through the decade; yet the club still qualified to enter Regionalliga Süd; the newly designated third level of German football for the 1994-95 season.

However, the level proved to be too demanding as Rot-Weiss returned to the Oberliga after finishing bottom of the table in the first season. A second successive relegation came in 1995-96 with the club dropping down to the Verbandsliga.

Worse was to come as Rot-Weiss made it three relegations in a row as the team found themselves in the Bezirksliga. It would take many years while the club regrouped to win a couple of promotions before regaining their Oberliga place in 2007.

Further disappointment was to hit the Stadion am Brentanobad faithful in 2011-12 as their heroes were relegated to the Verbandsliga. Rot-Weiss dropped down a further division twelve months later.

The club quickly regrouped to win two successive promotions, as Rot-Weiss finished as Verbandsliga Hessen Süd runners-up in 2014-15. The momentum continued with the club ending as Hessenliga runners-up in 2015-16.

Promotion was denied as Rot-Weiss went down in their play-off round. The performance was followed up with a third place in 2016-17 and another shot at the play offs. Once again the team fell just short in the quest for promotion to the fourth tier Regionalliga.

SG Rot-Weiss Frankfurt will play in the Hessenliga in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Saturday 21st October 2017

It was the second day of my visit to Frankfurt for football, sightseeing and socialising, with day one going exactly to plan. I’d even had an early night to allow for the big Saturday ahead of me.

I was going to attend matches at FSV and Eintracht, but before that I wanted some exercise and a look around. I’d taken a nice walk around Aldstadt and Hauptwache and sat outside McDonalds enjoying fries and a coffee. I was in tip top form.

The plans were set to just the right time for me to take the S3 service to Rödelheim station, from where it was a pleasant fifteen minute genteel stroll through some nice streets to Solmspark and then Brentanobad before arriving at the home of Rot Weiss.

Good news followed, as the gates to the stadium were open, with juniors playing on the artificial surface behind one end. I went in and had a good look inside a fine small to medium sized venue.

The Main Stand was covered down one side, with facilities at the rear. The corner nearest the south end had a similar sized banking of open seating, with the Rot-Weiss clubhouse at the rear. The rest of that end, the far side and ends consisted of a dozen or so steps of open terracing.

Once I’d taken all my photos I walked round the main Ludwig-Landmann-Straße and walked up to the Fischstein UBahn stop. This didn’t really work for me, so I continued along to the Industriehof stop to take the U7 service to Johanna-Tesch-Platz for my first game of the day.

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