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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets FC from London's East End were formed in 2000 as Bethnal Green United FC to give local youths an organised outlet to show their talents and to play football.

The 'Green Army' started out in the Middlesex County League and gradually progressed through the leagues. They won the league title in 2009 and were granted senior status when they joined the Essex Senior League.

Since then the club have introduced an academy as well as other Saturday and Sunday teams. he club changed its name at the end of the 2012-13 season to try to attract the local community.

In the 2015-16 season Tower Hamlets FC will compete in the Essex Senior League.

My visits

Wednesday 4th October 2006

I was nearing the end of a days groundhop around Kent and South East London when I found I still had time on my hands so I fitted in a visit to Clapton and then Mile End Stadium.

The stadium was surrounded by high wire fencing and had an athletics track around the football pitch. The stadium was shared by Bethnal Green United and Sporting Bengal of the Kent League.

I didn't actually get inside the arena but could see inside to take photos. A Main Stand was the only spectator structure on the half way line with facilities underneath. A leisure centre backed onto the far side. There was a falt standing path as well as grass all the way around, with a little terrace at the side of the stand.

Behind one end were ten small artificially turfed five a side courts which would bring in revenue to the complex. Beyond this was a raised railway line that serves Fenchurch Street. I then realised I'd passed the stadium on a few occasions without really knowing what it was.

Bethnal Green United 1 Witham Town 1 (Wednesday 5th January 2011) Essex Senior League (att: 45)

I set out for this re-arranged fixture by tube to Mile End intrigued as to what I would find. BGU played their home fixtures at the multi use Mile End Stadium.

I arrived a little earlier than I intended. I hadn't held up much hope of there being a clubhouse and my judgement wasn't let down. I paid £6.50 for admission including a programme. Entry was through the reception to the changing rooms.

The programme was colourful but only included a four page loose page in the middle that changed for each game. The match had originally been scheduled for Saturday 27th November, but it had been postponed owing to snow and ice. Inside were details about the club and a history of Bethnal Green itself. The club seemed to have high ambitions and Conference football was even mentioned. They prided themselves very much on the ethos of equality and diversity.

I had a wander around the stadium to have a proper look and to try and take some decent photos but the damp weather and the lights weren't a big help. It was a shame as the lights of Canary Wharf looked dramatic in the background. I managed to get some change to use the vending machine for a cold drink. There was no refreshment hut inside the ground and just a few vending machines in the reception. The hot drink machine was out of order!

The game promised to be a tight encounter with BGU sitting in second place and Witham in fourth. The home side were youthful and certainly reflected the demographics of the area the represented. The away side weren't as quick, but more measured. Their manager was Danny Greaves, son of the great Jimmy. The appearence of the officials raised a little giggle as the nearside linesman had the look of someone who hadn't said no very often over the Christmas festivities.

I sat in the decent Main Stand which had wooded benches on concrete. It appeared there were quite a few other groundhoppers in attendance taking advantage of the dearth of fixtures elsewhere to get a new ground in.

United took a deserved lead in the first half and probably should have added to it. The second half saw Town use their experience and get back into the game to please their sprinkling of followers. They grabbed an equaliser and then contrived to miss a penalty as the youngsters started questioning each other.

The conditions weren't the best but there was no excuse for a poor challenge from the BGU sub who caught a visitors defender late. He decided to react by thumping his aggressor. The referee sent both off. It was a shame as it had been a decent game.

Neither side could find a way to take all three points as the game petered out. I had enjoyed the match and thought Bethnal Green were heading the right way. The only problem with playing games at the Mile End Stadium was the athletics track and the ammount of time wasted while waiting for a ball. I spoke to a local who said he'd heard a rumour that United may look to share at Tilbury FC if they finished in a promotion place. Their current home was lacking a proper turnstile, some covered standing and a tea hut.

I headed back to enjoy another convincing England display in The Ashes.

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