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

London

September 2015

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Scarborough Athletic: My visits from 2017-18


Scarborough Athletic 1 Atherton Collieries 0 (Saturday 2nd December 2017) Northern Premier League Division One North (att: 903)


My first competitive game at the Flamingo Land Stadium came about as I visited my brother Nick and family for a long weekend. We had contemplated going to Sheffield Wednesday v Hull City but nephew Stan was more than happy with Boro; his Grandad’s team!

We travelled through and visited my Auntie Rita for lunch and to catch up and exchange gifts. I headed to The Valley pre match where I caught up with Karl Theobald and say hello to plenty of other Boro mates.


It was still slightly surreal walking up to the ground through areas of my junior adventures. We took up a position opposite the Main Stand by the half way line. Again it was good to stand with familiar faces in our home town at a game.

Boro played pretty well in the first half and went ahead half way through, when the excellent Max Wright tormented his full back before plonking a perfect cross on the head of Michael Coulson who made no mistake.


I headed round to the stand, where I caught up with my pals on the board of directors. Again it all seemed a bit surreal, but I’d never felt more comfortable. I knew they were doing a good job and the money was being looked after.

The second half saw the visitors get right back into the game, as they were cheered on by an impressive and vocal following. Boro boss Steve Kittrick rang the changes, with Jimmy Beadle easing the pressure as he won areal challenges.


Colls were very decent outfit, and piled on the attacks, with the Seadogs not been at their best. In the end a determined defence and fine display from keeper Tommy Taylor secured all three points. The match was also lit up by an erratic refereeing performance.

At full time I headed back to The Valley and caught up with Andy Crossland before I headed to Falsgrave to meet Karl. We had beers in the new pub; The Firk Inn Pub, which I found average before heading to The Ship and then The Stumble Inn.


Scarborough and general drinking behaviour had changed since my days as a resident. The pubs weren’t particularly busy and youngsters didn’t bother going out until late. The area around the station was once amass with groups on pub crawls. It was dead at 8.15.

I’d had a nice drink and needed food. The only fish and chip shop I could find was at the bottom of Prospect Road. I forget its name, but it was always Greg’s Plaice when I lived near there. The grub was average.


It had been a really good day for all that. I was over moaning Boro supporters. The team had won, I saw some lovely people and the ale was on form. I’d definitely be back.


Scarborough Athletic 4 Brighouse Town 0 (Saturday 14th April 2014) Northern Premier League Division One North (att: 1,361)


I was back from my annual cricketing holiday in Thailand and keen to catch up with family and friends before starting on my night shifts back at work. I’d deliberately planned in a Boro home game. The team were conveniently heading towards promotion, which helped the mood among fans.

My train was delayed and curtailed before I eventually reached Scarborough an hour later than planned. After dropping my bag off at Karl’s flat it was time for pre match beers in The Valley; where it was great to catch up and have a chat.

Nick and Stan were waiting for me in their usual spots at the ground, as Boro put in a rather insipid first half display, despite leading through a fine Michael Coulson effort. Some of the defending was shocking; with only a brilliant Bailey Gooda block keeping the lead in check.


Just before the break I sought out my pals at the top of the Main Stand. They’d gone through plenty as directors and had taken plenty of unjust criticism. I certainly didn’t envy them. Nobody deserved success more than this fine bunch of dedicated people.

The second half proved to be a different story as the Seadogs put on a scintillating attacking display to blow away a spirited Brighouse team with a Coulson penalty and then a towering James Walshaw header and fine shot from Jordan Slew sealed the points.


Hyde United were held to a goalless draw by Skelmersdale United to take Boro into second place and to enhance the good mood further. Carl Ellis and I headed to The Stumble Inn where Karl Theobald joined us, before we enjoyed beers over football in Scholars Bar.


We said goodbye to Carl as we headed to the North Riding to see more old pals before returning to Falsgrave and enjoy a quality band in The Ship. It had been a long but brilliant day out in great company. I certainly felt it as I boarded the train towards Leeds the following morning!

Scarborough Athletic 2 Glossop North End 1 (Tuesday 24th April 2018) Northern Premier League Division One North (att: 961)


It was celebration time in Scarborough as the Seadogs were assured of promotion, even though the league couldn’t officially endorse it. The team were now in pole position to grab the runners-up spot behind South Shields.

I managed a brief nap after night shift before taking the train north and retired to my lovely room at the North Riding Hotel for a further siesta. It was good to bump into old mate Dave Trenham for a chat and lift down to the Valley Bar.


Karl Theobald came in and we had a couple of pints with directors Fred Firman and Andy Crossland with Mick Cammish joining us for a beer and the walk up to the ground in wet conditions.

The Glossop team were held up in traffic, which meant a delayed kick off. This gave Nick and Stan the chance to go for a drink with us in the clubhouse. It was fantastic to catch up with so many happy old mates. I was so chuffed for all the work and hard times they’d endured had ended up with a celebration.


The match was decent enough fare with North End proving decent opposition. Boro winger Max Wright was getting some stick from various defenders as James Walshaw was denied the opening goal as his shot hit the angle of post and bar.

Boro went 1-0 up when a beautifully weighted pass along the deck was collected by Michael Coulson who advanced on goal before finishing brilliantly with a deft chip over keeper Russell Saunders.

The hosts were correctly reduced to ten men as Nathan Valentine was given a straight red card by referee Jamie Rhodes for a shocking lunging challenge on xxx Spooner on the stroke of half time.


The rain was falling heavier as we were kept up to date with Liverpool’s hammering of Roma in the Champions League. Boro played some confident smart football to keep hold of their lead. Glossop showed plenty of intent but were being kept at arms length.

Ben Richardson came close for The Hillmen while Bailey Gooda nearly doubled the lead with a header. Walshaw had an effort saved by Saunders before Courtney Meppen-Walker brought out the best of Boro custodian Tommy Taylor.


It was 2-0 with ten minutes remaining as Wright battled his way down the right and fed Walshaw who steadied himself before finishing well. The fine football even had the supporters in the Main Stand on their feet and cheering!

There was still time for Meppen-Walker to head against the post and then fire in a shot that took a wicked deflection off Jamie Price to leave Taylor flat footed to reduce the arrears. Boro saw out the remaining couple of minutes to complete the win.


Brian Stevenson kindly gave Ben Vickers and I a ride back to the North Riding where we enjoyed a very convivial couple of hours with Stuart and then Karen Neilson enjoying some magnificent Cascade Ale from the North Riding Brewery.


It’s been a marvellous whistle stop trip up north, and I knew all about it the following day as I headed back to the capital for a quick turnaround before heading to the vital Isthmian League clash between Leatherhead and Hendon.






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