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

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Santfeliuenc FC (Spain)

Santfeliuenc Futbol Club is a semi-professional football club that was formed on December 3rd 1905, who come from the town of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, located around ten miles south west of Barcelona.

The club popularly known as ‘Santfe’ came about after Josep Plana Deu was inspired by the development of football in Barcelona and decided to set up a local club. Land was rented by the Unión Coral for home matches to be played.

The 1920’s saw the club progress with Joan Rigol making his reputation as one of the clubs greatest ever players. In 1925 the new Campo de la Pineda was inaugurated with the team progressing to Segunda Regional football a decade later.

The Spanish Civil War between 1935 and 1939 hit the club hard. Santfe dropped down a few grades once football recommenced. In the 1950’s the club was placed in the top level of Catalan football.

In 1959-60 Santfeliuenc competed in the play-offs for a place in the Tercera División against Iberia, which was lost over three games. The club saw the defeat as an injustice, with fans been mobilised like never before.

The Catalan Football Federation implied that the club did not have adequate facilities to compete at what was then the third level of Spanish football had they progressed. A new ground was sought.

Campo de la Rambla was opened with a 1-0 win against Horta on April 19th 1964, with Chamorro scoring the goal. The majority of the following decade was spent in Segona Catalana with an occasional foray in the Primera Regional.

Following a reorganisation of Catalan football, the Primera became the second tier of regional football. In 1977-78 the team reached that stage and then consolidated before coming close to promotion to the Preferente Regional in 1981-82.

The team did go up in 1984-85 under coach Francesc Estrada after winning Grupo 3 A 2-0 win over Hospitalet Atlètic triggered off mass celebrations at Campo de la Rambla. Santfe lasted five seasons in the Preferente before the divisions became the second regional level in 1988-89.

Santfe remained in the sixth tier Preferente until they were demoted further to Primera Regional for the 1999-00 season. In 2001 the club became involved in the creation of the CFA Escuela de Fútbol Sant Feliu.

The club tried in vain to reclaim their top level regional status; the 2003-04 season ended in disappointment when the vital promotion game ended in a 2-1 defeat to Sant Cugat. Santfeliuenc would have to wait until 2005-06 for promotion to arrive.

Coach Vique led the side, who clinched their return to the Preferente with victory against El Catllar with the Santfe fans returning once again to back their local club. Santfeliuenc moved from the city centre to a new home; Parc Esportiu de Les Grases in January 2007.

New young coach, Andrés González led the club to promotion in 2008-09 to Primera Catalana; the top level of Catalan regional football and the fifth level in the Spanish pyramid. Further progress was made over the following three seasons before another promotion arrived in 2012-13.

Santfe reached the Tercera División after defeating CD Masnou 4-3 on aggregate. The club consolidated in their new surroundings and finishing in the bottom third; with the goals of David Toro being the highlight in the 2015-16 campaign.

Santfeliuenc FC will play in the Tercera División Grupo V in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Santfeliuenc FC 2 UA Horta 0 (Saturday 20th January 2018) Tercera División Grupo V (att: 300)

My first full day of my Barcelona long weekend was going tremendously well; with visits to four excellent venues with junior football taking place, as well as the matches at Espanyol in La Liga and Unifacvacion Bellvitge in the top flight of junior football.

The match at the latter kicked off at 4pm, which meant I could only watch the first half before heading away to get to the evening game, which had a 6pm start. I took the Metro from Hospital de Bellvitge to Rambla Just Oliveras.

A short walk across the road led me to L'Hospitalet de Llobregat station with enough time to grab a bottle of water before the train arrived to take me the twelve minutes north east to St. Feliu de Llobregat; going past the training ground of FC Barcelona on the way.

There was a bit of drama before I even left the station, as 100 metres or so beyond the end of the platform was a level crossing. One lady crossed the track and jogged along the side of the track with her train heading towards her, and the driver hooting his horn.

After taking the more conventional route to cross the lines I walked uphill and then took a turning, going a bit of a long way around. The small town did seem to have quite a lot of small bars, but also a lot of housing and small towers of flats, so trade must have been there?

Eventually I arrived at the car park on Ctra. Sansón, weaving through the cars in search of an entrance to Camp de Futbol Municipal Les Grases. I eventually came to it by passing Pavelló Andrei Xepkin Sports Complex on Carrer Mataró.

After climbing some steps and going past the active indoor hall, I came to the pay desk, paying €10 to the young lady and entering an open area, with a couple of club huts across the way. One dispensed me a beer, as well as selling snacks.

A long slope took me to the back of the main spectator facilities; which consisted of a raised seated block, with a roof covering the far two thirds. There was room for standing at the rear and the whole area offered a good view from above the changing rooms.

A flight of stairs led down to a thin area open behind one goal; which was backed by a high boundary wall. The opposite end was enclosed by the sports complex and the raised open club area.

I was unsure whether spectators were welcome on the far side; which backed onto the road and had the subs benches either side of the half way line. Skatepark Sant Feliu De Llobregat over the road was in constant use by the local youths.

I’d taken a seat towards the town end, when just before kick off a pair of home fans plonked themselves down a few rows in front and across with a dreaded drum! The duo sang songs more or less alone, while one banged their instrument. I had a grudging respect for them.

The match was a bit of a local derby, so Horta had a decent following among the crowd; which seemed to attract a good cross section of the local community. Several elder gents smoked big cigars at the rear of the seats.

Horta began the game on the front foot, with Marc Rio having an opportunity to open the scoring after being set up by Gerard Nolla on nine minutes. They were left to rue the miss five minutes later when young forward Adri Recort fired Santfe ahead from outside the box after good work from Carlos Olmo.

The visitors went back on the offensive, but were thwarted by the home defence, before Santfe went forward once again, with Josele testing out Horta keeper Andrés. I declined the opportunity of a drink at the break, but I’d taken up a standing position as the temperatures dropped to around 8°.

The teams exchanged attacks at the start of the second period. Josele went close for Santfe, testing out Andrés once again. Visiting coach Raúl Matito; who formerly held the position at Santfe, rang the changes to look for an equaliser.

It would be Santfe who doubled their score, when a fine move saw Romo set up Nacho Ruiz. His effort was converted by Adri Recort to put Andres González's team in a position of comfort. I made my move a few minutes later, even though it was a decent enough game.

I had an opportunity to watch a junior game across Barcelona at CE Júpiter, which I didn’t want to waste. I walked back to the station along Carrer de la Constitució to catch a train to Catalunya, before a couple of Metro rides to Sant Martí for my final football of the day. 

No comments: