Welcome to volume two 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 one of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard


September 2015

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tadcaster Albion

Tadcaster Albion AFC is a non-league football club that was formed in 1892 as John Smith’s FC in the North Yorkshire brewery town of Tadcaster, which is located between Leeds and York.

The earliest records are of the team playing at the cricket ground on Station Road and competing in the York League in the second tier Division One. The league title was secured in 1909-10 before the name was changed to Tadcaster Albion as they won the league in 1923-24.

The club was back under the brewing John Smith’s name soon afterwards, winning another in 1932-33. Another associated club playing as Tadcaster Albion appeared on the scene as both teams shared a ground at The Ings.

Both sides merged and kept the Tadcaster Albion title, while adopting the nickname of ‘The Brewers’ while competing in the York Football League. Albion were crowned champions in 1947-48 and finished as runners-up in 1953-54 before moving along the river to The Parks in 1960.

Tad became members of the Third Division of the Yorkshire League for the 1973-74 season, going on to win promotion from Division Two in their second season. A further elevation came in 1976-77 as the side went up to Division One on goal difference.

The following season saw Albion go all the way to the fifth round of the FA Vase; where they were knocked out 2-1 at home to fellow Yorkshire League side Frecheville Community. However, the club suffered successive relegations in 1978-79 and 1979-80.

Tadcaster became founder members of the Northern Counties East League for the 1982-83 season; remaining in Division One of the competition for the following sixteen seasons before winning the league title in 2009-10 and gaining promotion to the Premier Division under manager Paul Marshall.

Albion finished in fourth place in their debut season and after a couple of top end finishes, they ended in third place in 2013-14. The 2014-15 season saw another third place achieved as well as a fantastic FA Vase campaign.

Winsford Town, Morpeth Town, St Helens Town, Brocton and AFC Mansfield were all dispatched which set up a semi-final tie against Highworth Town. The side from Wiltshire went through on aggregate but the second leg was marred by a melee.

Marshall departed at the end of the season to be replaced by Billy Miller as new owners i2i; a coaching and football agent company, invested heavily in the club; as well as changing the ground name to the i2i Stadium.

Miller led the team to the NCEL Premier Division title in 2015-16 as further investments were made to the ground and playing squad ahead of Northern Premier League football, as former Premier League star Jono Greening signed for the club.

Miller was replaced by Michael Morton and Simon Collins; who had been managing the under 21 team after Albion finished their first ever season at step four level in nineteenth position.

Tadcaster Albion AFC will play in the Northern Premier League Division One North in the 2017-18 season.

My visits

Tadcaster Albion v Scarborough Athletic - Match Postponed (Saturday 8th December 2007)

I must have had a fleeting glimpse of Tadcaster’s Ings Lane ground on hundreds of occasions as we passed on the A64 on the by-pass around the town. It’s just I’d never any real cause to head there for a game, despite my groundhopping tendencies.

However, once the old Scarborough FC went bust in the summer of 2007, both Athletic and Albion found themselves in the same league. It was on a visit back home to visit my parents for the weekend that the fixtures fell right to allow me to head to a match.

I’d been extremely close to fulfilling the 'North Yorkshire Derby' in the first season Boro and Tad were due to face each other. I’d travelled up with Dave Cammish and met Fred Firman and several other Seadogs in driving rain in Tadcaster.

The game hadn’t been called off, despite the River Aire nearly coming over the top of the road bridge. It fell to the landlord of the Coach and Horses to break the news of the postponement. He was the first to know as he was making the after match sandwiches!

A long and elongated pub crawl around the town ensued, which included the worst game of killer pool imaginable before the bus back was fired at by an air pistol. A curry followed in York before Dave and I nearly missed the train home!

Tadcaster Albion 0 Scarborough Athletic 4 (Saturday 24th January 2009) Northern Counties East League Division One (att: 340)

On the second occasion heading to Ings Lane for a match, Karl picked me and Barry Rewcroft up for the ride through. The weather wasn’t the best, but the game was definitely on. As ever, a good turn out of Seadogs had also made the journey along the A64.

We got there early enough to have a couple of pints in the clubhouse before the teams came out. A rumour was doing the rounds that Tadcaster were fielding an outside layer in goal because of a late injury. I tried to get the info passed on.

Ings Lane was a tidy enough little venue, with a overhand from the clubhouse offering a bit of cover to fans wanting to stand down the side. There was a small semi temporary seated stand at the town end, with the rest of the ground made up of hard and grass flat open standing.

I never did find out if it was Taddy’s usual keeper but Boro raced to a 3-0 lead by the interval as Ryan Blott had bagged a brace with a Danny Gray goal coming in between. I remember there being a rather hostile exchange by the tunnel as the team came off at half time.

Tad battled well in the second half, but the game was gone by then. Boro played in complete control in what would be a title winning season as opposing defences struggled to cope with the incessant fire power. Gray wrapped up the victory in the final minute.

If I remember correctly, we got back, had food and then went out to enjoy the pubs of Falsgrave!

Tadcaster Albion 2 Scarborough Athletic 3 (Tuesday 29th March 2011) Northern Counties East League Premier Division (att: 233)

My days off work fell for me to attend this midweek game, which I think was re-arranged because of the flooding earlier in the season. I took the Megabus to Leeds and then a service bus to Tadcaster in good time for a few pints in the main street.

Boro were in a bit of a strange position. They weren.t doing terribly, but they weren’t performing as well as many fans expected either. Manager Paul Olsson hadn’t done himself too many favours when he told a fans forum that he struggled to attract players to the club.

It looked as though the manager would be given until the end of the season before any changes were made. I spent some time in the company of Chairman Dave Holland and told him that Mitch Cook would be my choice as the next manager. He seemed happy to let things go for a while longer.

Boro went ahead through centre back Chris Jenkinson on thirty six minutes before future Scarborough player Carl Stewart levelled things up ten minutes after the break. Tadcaster went 2-1 ahead through Danny Pitts seven minutes later.

While Boro’s side drew criticism from quite a few fans, they always gave their best. The tactics were probably not always right and the players often lacked self belief, but they tried. This match was a perfect case in point.

Billy Law equalised on sixty four minutes, as the team played some nice stuff. Perhaps it was because the pressure of a title challenge had subsided or that there was not the same volume of visiting fans as usual, which allowed them to relax?

Whatever it was, the team played well and got a deserved winner when Ryan Blott converted a penalty with twenty minutes remaining, to the customary moans of the home fans. At full time Col Whelan gave me a ride back to my Dad’s.

The following morning, we were somewhat shocked when it was revealed that Olsson had been relieved of his duties after the game. A few days later Rudy Funk was installed as the new Boro manager.

Stocksbridge Park Steels

Stocksbridge Park Steels FC is a non-league football club formed in 1986; following a merger between Stocksbridge Works and Oxley Park, who hail from the small town of Stocksbridge; which is located just north of Sheffield in South Yorkshire.

Stocksbridge Works FC first competed in the Division Two of the Yorkshire League in 1949-50, going on to lift the divisional title and win promotion to Division One in their second season. It was the start of a decade of dominance for the club.

Stocksbridge were crowned as Yorkshire League champions in 1951-52, before going on to win the league in 1954-55, 1955-56,1956-57 and 1957-58 to complete a four in a row triumph. A runners-up slot came in 1960-61 before further titles were collected in 1961-62 and 1962-63.

The seven times champions were surprisingly relegated the following season, before regaining their top flight status in 1964-65 as they won Division Two. The ups and downs continued as the team were relegated in 1965-66, promoted in 1966-67 and demoted again in 1967-68.

A new Division Three was added to the Yorkshire League in 1970, with Works being relegated into it. In 1970-71 the team won the Division Three title, but were relegated back to that status in 1972-73. Promotion came with another title win in 1974-75, but the stay in Division Two lasted just one season.

A further promotion was secured in 1978-79, but once again the clubs stay in Division Two lasted just twelve months. Stocksbridge Works became founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982-83, from where they were placed in Division One Central for the 1984-85 campaign.

When the league was re-organised they were given a position in Division Three for the 1985-86 season, where they competed before merging with Oxley Park a few months later.

The NCEL merged their Divisions Two and One into one league for the 1991-92 season, with Stocksbridge Park Steels becoming Division One champions and moving up to the Premier Division under manager Mick Horne. The 1993-94 season saw the club crowned as league champions.

A runners-up spot followed in 1995-96, which was enough to secure a move to Division One of the Northern Premier League. The club settled into their new surroundings at their Bracken Moor home. Towards the end of the 2000-01 campaign Horne resigned after eleven years at the helm to be replaced by Wayne Biggins.

Biggins departed in November 2003 to be replaced by Peter Rinkcavage, who oversaw some stability on the pitch before taking Steels to the play-offs in 2005-06. Kendal Town ended any dreams of promotion with a win on penalties.

Gary Marrow had taken charge of the side including Jamie Vardy; which was placed in Division One South as the side lost to Sheffield in the play-offs of 2007-08. However, it was to be second time lucky as Carlton Town and then Belper Town were defeated in the play-offs at the end of the 2008-09 season to win promotion to the Premier Division.

Simon Collins arrived as the new team manager during the 2009-10 campaign, but his spell lasted just six months. Steve Stutt had a short spell in charge before former boss Marrow returned to the club.

Chris Willcock and then Darren Schofield would also have terms at the helm at Bracken Moor before the team was relegated in 2013-14 after a second from bottom finish. Steels managed to stave off relegation in Division One South under the management of Chris Hilton.

A sixth place followed in 2015-16 before Stocksbridge finished in the play-off places in 2016-17 where they lost out to Spalding United in the semi-finals.

Stocksbridge Park Steels FC will play in the Northern Premier League Division One South in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Stocksbridge Park Steels 0 Scarborough 0 (Saturday 15th January 2000) FA Trophy Round Three (att: )

Boro were in their first season back as a non-league club following thirteen years in the League; and as such were quite a big fish at the time. They’d got a bye to the second round, where they despatched Ilkeston Town away from home. Steels were a couple of divisions lower in the pecking order.

My pal Steve Walker was keen to make the journey from his Oxford home, so I took the train from St Pancras to meet him. The plan was to stay overnight in the city. We had a pint on arrival and decided to take a taxi to Stocksbridge.

Not for the last time a poor driver would be the loser taking the pair of us to a game. Steve had negotiated a fare before we jumped in. Our cabbie obviously forgot to put the fact that Sheffield Wednesday were also at home into the equation.

The journey was painfully slow until we got past Hillsborough. I seem to remember we came to a compromise and left on good terms, just as our old pals rocked up in their mini-bus. If I remember correctly admission was just £5.

Our hosts were brilliant all day. Many other clubs would have been tempted to cash in on a large travelling support, but not Stocksbridge. Programmes, refreshments and beer prices were great value for money. Indeed, many Seadogs didn’t even bother leaving the bar.

Bracken Moor was a tidy and unique venue, built into a hill. The Main Stand was a distinctive seated structure with grass banking and hard standing at the front. Opposite was a fence separating the pitch from the cricket ground and wicket.

The clubhouse and turnstiles were built in the top corner, with the bar and patio outside offering a great view. The far end had a concrete path and a bank behind, while the near end had a reasonable sized cover for standing spectators.

Karl tests out the food as Butch watches on

 Again, I rely upon my memory as I write this report in 2017, but Boro dominated huge swathes of play without really looking like scoring. There was no real panic as everyone assumed that it would only be a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.

The same pattern continued in the second half, only Steels realised that they had a chance of creating an upset. The travelling support were getting upset at their sides performance, with manager Colin Addison taking some of the flak. Stocksbridge fully deserved their draw.

I recall appealing to the Boro directors to let any visiting fans in at cut price for the replay, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. I thought it was the east that they deserved. We said goodbye to our pals who headed home while we walked down the hill.

We found a pub that is still remembered many years later. We ended up on lager as they had run out of bitter, cider and Guinness. It really was a glum place and surely a matter of time before it would shut down for good?

After a couple of pints we caught the bus to Sheffield Interchange, where we were still stuck with the conundrum of where to stay? Steve negotiated at the nearby Travelodge, where I predictably lost the toss and would spend the night on the floor.

We headed out up the hill into the city and had beers in the vibrant student area around West Street before grabbing food. It was a long and interesting day, Boro went on to win the replay 5-0 and bagged an away tie at Burnham; which would lead to further shenanigans!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Coventry United

Coventry United FC is a non-league football club from the West Midlands city of the same name, in response to Coventry City FC’s ownership and the move to share Sixfields with Northampton Town in the summer of 2013.

United were formed by four co-chairmen; Jason Kay, Jason Timms, Marcus Green and Pete Schofield along with Secretary Graham Wood. Edwin Greaves was named as team manager. The club started out life playing in the Midland Football League Division Three.

The club adopted the city’s civic colours of red and green and began playing at the Alan Higgs Centre; a community sports facility named in honour of Alan Higgs; a self made millionaire from his house building business, who wanted his legacy to create a charity to help deprived children from the city.

Cov United finished as league runners-up in their debut season; a campaign that included a 28-0 victory over Polesworth. In 2014-15 the team were crowned as champions of the Midland Football League Division Two.

The club extended its community roots in the summer of 2015 with a takeover of Coventry City Ladies FC; while the men’s first team won a third successive promotion when winning the Division One title in 2015-16.

United finished their first campaign in the step five Midland League Premier Division in eighth position. Greaves was replaced by Terry Anderson as manager towards the conclusion of the season.

United brokered a move to share Butts Park Arena close to the city centre to share with Coventry Rugby FC and Coventry Bears Rugby League FC for the start of the 2017-18 season as community and team awards continued to be collected.

Coventry United FC will play in the Midland League Premier Division in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Coventry United 3 Tipton Town 1 (Sunday 10th September 2017) FA Vase First Qualifying Round (att: 282)

With the day off work I was mulling over my options. Games at Ascot United, Erith & Belvedere and Barkingside all looked decent enough; but for some reason the tie in Coventry was shouting out to me.

My mind was made up following a text to Ian Anderson; a fellow Scarborough fan who’s based in Northampton. He also fancied it. It was about time that we met up for a game and I could also hand over a bag full of programmes taking up space in my studio.

The offer of a rail fare for just £22 return was another factor to throw into the equation. However, I nearly made a real mess of a seemingly simple ride down to Euston.

I’d forgotten that planned engineering works would add time to the trip. I ended up getting on the wrong bus from Baker Street to compound matters, but I got lucky with another dropping me outside the major terminal soon after.

I’d got the timing of departure slightly wrong; but in my favour. There was time to grab a baguette that emptied my pocket of change and then managed to find a seat on the slow London Midland service among the many overweight punters who all had those annoying drag along small cases.

Perhaps it was just my age, but I couldn’t work out why nearly everyone needed to travel with such items, thus blocking up spaces on the train; and that’s before our increasingly obese population struggle to fit between the seats.

Anyway, I was on my way. My pre planning was shown up for its incompetence when we stopped at Harrow and Wealdstone, just forty minutes at most from home. The rest of the decent ride was spent listening to music and reading The Non League Paper.

The train pulled in at 12.30 and within fifteen minutes I’d negotiated a short cut by the ring road where a pavement one stood before walking down Butts Road for my first view of the arena before entering the magnificent Broomfield Tavern.

I’d heard lots about this pub from my drinking pal Steve Speller, who’d used it a few times with friends and family before going to watch Wasps play at the Ricoh Arena. He rated it very highly, and it was easy to see how.

While there was only another three patrons inside, two of them were groundhoppers; including Luke from Worthing who I’d not seen for a season or two. We had a good chat while enjoying some fine regional ales as more and more neutral fans arrived.

By 1.30 Ian had joined us. Thirty minutes later the pub was teaming with fellow ‘hoppers’; many of whom post on the excellent Non League Matters Forum; which can be seen here. It was great to meet some posters for the first time in a really good buzzing atmosphere.

Ian had tried to get some extra programmes to bring to the pub for the fans, but the club were already limiting sales to two per person. They’d been caught out by the interest in the match. With my issue secured we were among the last four to leave.

Admission to the match was £6; with admission being gained by buying a ticket at the hut by the gate. The programme setting me back £1.50. Ian had also grabbed me a very professional little book handed out by the club which detailed their history and aims for the future. It all had a very professional feel.

United shared the shop with the rugby union club just inside the gate and sold a decent range of souvenirs. Ian had been a few times previously to watch Coventry Bears in rugby league action so he was familiar with the set up.

The first port of call was the area under the Main Stand; which had a bar serving real ale and a hot food counter; as well as a couple of well sized toilets. I purchased a chicken and mushroom Pukka Pie along with French Fries for a reasonable price of £4 before we took our seats.

The stand was one tier of steep seating with decent leg room. The subs and coaches occupied a small area in the centre. There was hard standing behind both ends and along the far side; although that was cordoned off for the match.

Extra bars and food areas were located on two of the open sections, but were not required for the match in question. An electric scoreboard adorned the far side on top of a small cover that looked like it may have been for corporate clients?

There was certainly room for expansion on two sides, which explained why Coventry City looked at a possible share before they secured their return to the Ricoh. The only downside with the venue was the standard of the pitch; with long grass protecting the surface from its extensive use.

Tipton Town came into the match in second place in Division One the West Midlands (Regional) League, while United were in the same position of the Midland League Premier Division; albeit two levels above their visitors.

The game started in the gloom with rain falling. United’s Aaron Opoku brought out the best in the young visiting keeper Josh Morgan with a stinging drive on five minutes. The pressure continued and only a fine tackle from Jamie Moore denied Tom McGuire.

Town gradually grew into the game and launched a couple of attacks of their own. Jon Patrick fired in a low cross that evaded his team mates with the goal gaping. TJ Davies showed fine footwork as skipper Paul Henley came close to the final touch.

Ten minutes before the interval Tipton took the lead in comical fashion. Debutant United keeper James Behan made a complete hash of a back pass and lost control of the ball with his feet; leaving Ebey Marango with an open net to roll the ball home.

Morgan made a save from Craig Reid in the last action of the first half before we decamped downstairs for a drink while looking at the news from other games around the country. The pint of Uno wasn’t bad.

Cov came flying out of the blocks after the restart as Chris Cox had a skidding shot saves with the wind getting stronger and squally showers continuing. Lewis Worsey countered for Town but the inevitable eventually happened on fifty minutes.

Cox’s left footed free kick from wide on the right got caught in the wind and evaded defenders, forwards and keeper Moore alike and went straight in at the far post as the hosts drew level. The home crowd really began to get behind their side.

Henley went forward as Tipton nearly regained the lead with a header before O’Grady found room and smashed home an unstoppable rising shot just before the hour mark. The visitors already had a couple of lads well capable of filling their shirts before two hefty subs came on. I wouldn’t mind owning a take away in Tipton!

Henley once again had half a chance as Behan nearly fumbled his shot to an advancing attacker. However, the danger was averted before O’Grady ran through the scattered defence who had pushed up in search of an equaliser to make the score 3-1.

Both sides had given everything in awkward conditions on a less than pristine pitch and produced a decent spectacle. Ian headed off towards home, while I returned for just one more pint in the Broomfield.

The pub had some kind of community event on with patrons enjoying a buffet and a band playing over the road in a pub. Two friendly United fans were delighted that the game had grabbed the attention of the ‘hopping’ fraternity and that the gate was actually 380, but complimentary tickets were not included in the official figure.

My train back had started at Birmingham New Street and was already busy on reaching Coventry. I was not amused by those on board; with many putting bags on vacant seats or sitting in the aisle seat while the window pew was vacant.

It was maybe tiredness, but such behavior appalled me. What an ignorant, selfish nation we had increasingly become. I found a seat, but you’d have thought I was an ace criminal, the way the occupier next to me glanced in my direction.

My mood wasn’t helped after receiving some nasty vitriol from a customer old enough to be my Dad at wo0rk the previous day as well as putting up with anti social youngsters who fear no-one and cause grief for decent folk; knowing full well that there’s nothing to stop them.

Fortunately I drifted off for much of the journey back before waking near Watford Junction. There was no way I was going to make the same error on my return, as I alighted at Harrow and Wealdstone before heading home for a sleep before work early the following morning.

Friday, September 15, 2017

SpVgg Unterhaching (Germany)

Spielvereinigung Unterhaching is a sports club based in Unterhaching; a small town which is connected to the southern outskirts of the German city of Munich. The club was formed on January 1st 1925.

Before this the club had been part of the gymnastics and sports club TSV Hachinger. In 1930-31 the football club was promoted to B-Klasse of local amateur football; going on to reach A-Klasse a season later.

The club was dissolved by the Nazi Party in 1933, as it was deemed politically unreliable. The team were placed in B-Klasse; the fourth tier of German amateur football, after reformation in 1945.

For several decades Unterhaching continued to play in the lower amateur ranks as one of tens of other such clubs. In 1975 the club launched their bobsleigh department, which would produce several World and Olympic champions over the forthcoming years.

In 1975-76 the football department once again reached A-Klasse. Promotion to the Bezirksliga was won at the first attempt in 1976-77.

Promotion to Landesliga Bayern-Süd in 1978-79 followed before yet another step up came in 1980-81 as Unterhaching reached the third tier Oberliga Bayern; which was the highest amateur level of the day.

Trainer Peter Grosser took the team to the Oberliga Bayern title in 1982-83. However, the team failed in their quest for promotion to 2. Bundesliga after losing out in the play-offs. The same fate befell SpVgg in the 1987-88 campaign.

However, the club were not to be denied in the 1988-89 season as Unterhaching once again won the Oberliga Bayern championship before progressing through two rounds of play-offs to reach 2. Bundesliga.

It proved to be a step too far, as the team were relegated in bottom place just twelve months later. The Regionalliga became the third tier of German football from the 1994-95 season. Unterhaching won Regionalliga Süd in its debut season and were promoted to 2. Bundesliga with the help of the goals of Alfonso Garcia.

A fourth place finish was followed by two steady endings before a runners-up spot in 1998-99 saw the club promoted to the top flight Bundesliga for the first time in their history.

Gerhard Tremmel, Alexander Strehmel, Jochen Seitz, Markus Oberleitner, André Breitenreiter and Altin Rraklli starred in a mid table finish in their debut season, before Unterhaching were relegated in 2000-01.

The slide continued as the club were relegated to Regionalliga Süd at the completion of the 2001-02 campaign. Coach Wolfgang Frank took up the reigns at Stadion am Sportpark with the goals of Francisco Copado firing the side to the title and promotion back to 2. Bundesliga at the first attempt.

Former World Cup winner Andreas Brehme took control of the team in the 2004-05 season before being replaced by Harry Deutinger. Unterhaching were relegated once more in 2006-07 as Werner Lorant and then Ralph Hasenhüttl were employed as head coach.

A sixth place finish in 200708 led to SpVgg being placed in the newly created 3. Liga for the following season. The side just missed out on promotion to the second tier in the inaugural season by one place as Anton Fink finished as the division’s top scorer.

Tobias Schweinsteiger starred up front the following season. Klaus Augenthaler, another German World Cup winner took over as team boss in March 2010. His season at the helm ended in a fourteenth place ending.

Heiko Herrlich took over as head coach in July 2011 with Stefan Riederer captaining the side, while Mijo Tunjić weighed in with the goals to secure safety. Claus Schromm took over team control from May 2012.

Schromm was promoted to the role of Director of Sport, with Manuel Baum looking after the team before he was replaced by German Euro 96 winner Christian Ziege. The team ended the 2013-14 campaign just above the relegation places.

Schromm returned to the head coach position in March 2015 but the team captained by Jonas Hummels were relegated on the final day of the 2014-15 season back to the fourth tier Regionalliga Bayern.

The goals of Stephan Hain and Sascha Bigalke were too much for opposing defences as Unterhaching raced to the 2016-17 Regionalliga Bayern title. SpVgg Unterhaching defeated SV Elversberg 5-2 on aggregate in the play-off to win promotion back to 3. Liga.

SpVgg Unterhaching will play in 3. Liga in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Friday 16th December 2016

It was the second full day of my Munich adventure. The previous day had seen me on a defining visit to Dacau as well as looking at a couple of amateur clubs in the west of the city before enjoying a jolly evening down town.

I wanted to cram as much into my day as possible before the 1860 match at Allianz Arena that evening, I took the number 20 tram from my hotel at Moosach to Karlsplatz before going downstairs and catching the S3 train to Unterhaching.

The train went past Stadion am Sportpark so it was pretty easy for me to find it. Following a path through a park along the side of the tracks brought me to a bigger green space from where I walked across to the stadium.

It looked like my luck was going to be out regarding getting inside the Alpenbauer Sportpark, as the arena had been named in a sponsorship deal. I was getting some decent enough photos through gaps in fences, but I wasn’t going to give up that easily.

Walking to the far end I found an open gate, so I walked in to get a proper look and snap away. It reminded me in many ways of lower division grounds back in England in the 1980’s.

A single tiered seated stand dominated one side of the pitch, with a decent sized open terrace at the far end. Another single tier of seats with a slight curve away from the half way line occupied the other touchline, with a roof over most of it, while the clubhouse end had a shallow open terrace in front of the club buildings and changing rooms.

Once finished, I continued through the park that offered recreation for all ages along through the park to Fasanenpark station from where I took the S3 service back towards the city to St.-Martin-Straße to visit the home of SpVgg 1906 Haidhausen.

SpVgg 1906 Haidhausen (Germany)

SpVgg 1906 Haidhausen is an amateur football club from the German city of Munich who were formed after the merger of SC München von 1906 and FC Haidhausen on May 23rd 2008.

SC München von 1906 is a sports club from the Obergiesing district of the city. In 1920 the football division of the club was formed for the first time, with future FC Bayern München and German international player Lutte Goldbrunner among the players.

In 1926 a group of enthusiasts met at Amanns Bierhalle to set up FC Germania, who moved to become the football department of SC München von 1906 in 1927. With around 500 members, the club was one of the most prominent in Munich.

The team negotiated to play their games at the Sportplatz an der Emmeram-Str./Martinstraße home of FC Stern. Players from FC Sparta, FC Fasangarten und FC Deisenhofen joined up to strengthen the first team at SC München von 1906.

In 1929-30 the club won one of the Munich C Class Divisions, before going on to finish as runners-up in the B Class behind champions Fußballabteilung Grünwald.

The youth department emerged following the War years, introducing a young Franz Beckenbauer into a career in football. His brother Walter Beckenbauer along with future German international Rudi Steiner started out at the club.

Legendary German international Max Merkl was also a member of the SC 1906 club for many years. The first team was invited to play the German national team in a game of one hour in the build up to the 1954 World Cup; only going down 2-1.

The youth team pulled off a huge shock in 1955 when they defeated the youth side of FC Bayern München to be crowned champions of the Münchner Meisterschaft.

In the 1956-57 season the club became champions of II. Amateurliga, going on to reach the I. Amateurliga Südbayern, after the league extended to eighteen clubs.

The clubs home pitch consisted of red cinders at this time. The beloved 06er Platz home ground was nicknamed Kampfbahn Rote Erde; which translated means the Battleground of Red Earth.

The club continued to play in amateur regional football for the following decades before the merger, with the new SpVgg 1906 Haidhausen continuing to play at 06er Platz.

SpVgg 1906 Haidhausen will play in Bezirksliga Oberbayern Ost in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Friday 16th December 2016

My trip to Munich was into its third and final day. After covering some amateur clubs in the west of the city the previous afternoon, my Friday morning had led me south. After visiting SpVgg Unterhaching I headed back on the S Bahn where I alighted at St.-Martin-Straße.

A walk along the side of Ostfriedhof Cemetery took me to the ground which was located between St.-Martin-Straße and St.-Bonifatius-Straße.

The basic venue had hard standing round the artificial pitch, with high netting behind either goal. The near clubhouse side had a patch of running track and long jump facilities.

Once I’d taken my photos I wandered across to the Ostfriedhof tram stop where I jumped upon the number 15 service to Tegernseer Landstraße, where the Grünwalder Stadion was located just across the road.

Seaford Town

Seaford Town FC is a non-league football club from the town of the same name, which is located in Sussex on England’s south coast. The club was formed in 1888 as Seaford FC playing local football.

After World War One the club joined the Mid Sussex League, where they played until the outbreak of more hostilities, from their home ground at The Crouch Recreation Ground. In 1952 ‘The Badgers’ became founder members of the Sussex County League, playing in Division Two as Seaford Town FC.

Promotion was achieved to Division One in the 1963-64 campaign. Town remained at that level until they were relegated to the second tier of the competition at the completion of the 1970-71 season.

The club made the decision to leave the Sussex County League in 1978 before rejoining as founder members of Division Three for the 1983-84 season. Town went on to lift the Division Three title in 1985-86.

Further success followed as Seaford won the Division Two championship in 1988-89. After two seasons in Division One the team were relegated at the end of the 1990-91 campaign. Further demotions in 1992-93 and 1996-97 saw the club drop out of the Sussex County League once again.

The club joined the East Sussex League before dropping ‘Town’ from their title after merging with the youth sides of Seaford Seagulls. The club returned to the Sussex County League for the 1999-00 season.

A runners-up finish in 2000-01 saw the club promoted to Division Two, before the club opted to become Seaford Town once again in 2005. Sixth place finishes were achieved in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

A fifth place league ending came in 2010-11 as Town continued to ply their trade in the Sussex County League Division Two until the league was retitled to the Southern Combination, with the old Division Two becoming Division One in the summer of 2015.

Two lower mid table finishes came in 2015-16 and 2016-17 at The Crouch.

Seaford Town will play in the Southern Combination Division One in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Monday 24th July 2017

My day down to East Sussex was underway as I took the train from Victoria down to Lewes. The journey took place with a constant irritating noise as a woman just up the carriage did an excellent Sybil Fawlty impression.

She was hammering the poor bloke opposite into submission as it was time to change trains for Seaford. I’m sure they mentioned they were sailing from Newhaven, so I wasn’t too upset to find peace and tranquility further up the connection.

Having Arrived in Seaford I found myself wandering through the maze of small streets in the pretty little town by the sea by using my Google Maps App. The only problem with that method was I didn’t realise some streets were little more than alleys.

Eventually I found myself on track and entering The Crouch; which was a public park with a football ground. The gates were open on all sides; an old couple were even walking across the pitch taking a short cut with their shopping.

It was a neat and tidy set up with the club buildings containing a small overhang by the entrance in the bottom corner. A neat stand with seats was over on the far side. The rest of the ground was open flat grass and concrete standing.

When I say flat; I mean without any big elevated slopes. However, there was a huge slope across the pitch from the stand side. I could imaging that could have been a bit of an advantage to the home side?

I completed a full lap of the ground to take photos. Three local youths were occupying the home bench smoking something a tad stronger than the average fags. Once done I departed out of the top gate and caught the number 10 bus on Sutton Road towards Newhaven.