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 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 one of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard


November 2018

Friday, June 3, 2011

Colliers Wood United

Colliers Wood United FC is a non-league side based in the London Borough of Merton in the south west of the city. Their history goes back a long way having being formed in 1874, originally being called Vandyke FC.

For many years they played in local league football before progressing to the Surrey Intermediate League. They moved to the Surrey County League but the lack of facilities at the the local recreation ground, where they played home games, prevented them moving into a higher league.

In 1991 facilities were found at Wibbandune Sports Ground on the Kingston By Pass and the club gradually upgraded them further. In 2002-03 'The Wood' were founder members of the Combined Counties League Division One. In their first season they finished runners up and were promoted into the Premier Division.

United arranged to play a sizeable amount of home games elsewhere during the 2011-12 season as a grant was sourced to relay the Wibbandune pitch and install a new drainage system. Unfortunately the pitch hit major problems the following December with the team having to play at Cobham once again.

The problems were solved as Wood continued at Wibbandune with the team being marshalled by Tony Hurrell.

Colliers Wood United FC will compete in the Combined Counties League Premier Division in the 2014-15 season.

My visits

Friday 3rd November 2003

Wibbandune was the final call of a long day’s groundhop around Surrey and South West London. I was really in the mood as the following day I was going on the train to Droylsden v Scarborough and after this call I was meeting my mate Jeff in The Star at St Johns Wood to refuel. I had previously called at the disappointing Raynes Park Vale FC and returned to the railway station to take the 275 bus along the Kingston by Pass.

From the top deck of the bus I could see the ground on my right in an area dominated by some housing, open land and golf courses. I crossed the road by the passenger bridge and climbed over the small gate which you'd normally associate with guarding a farmer’s field.

The ground was neat and tidy. The gate was in the corner and down the near touchline was a car park and then the changing rooms, clubhouse and a small cover at the front for standing spectators. A small seated stand was on the opposite touchline with the rest of the ground composing of flat open grass standing with a path around the pitch. There was a second pitch behind the seated stand with the whole arena being surrounded by trees. It was a pleasant if remote setting.

I took the bus towards Putney Bridge which gave me a tour of several housing estates and let me enjoy the antics of the kids leaving school, which severely enhanced my thirst. I reached the pub for an enjoyable couple of hours but those in my company gave me the thousand yards stare when I wanted to show them photos of the likes of Colliers Wood, Corinthian Casuals and Dorking. Education required. They didn't know what they were missing.

I was scheduled to make a visit to Wibbandune for a Surrey Senior Cup clash with AFC Wimbledon in the winter of 2011 when it fitted in well with my sifts at work. Unfortunately the game was postponed more than once owing to the pitch being waterlogged.

Colliers Wood United 0 Camberley Town 1 (Wednesday 28th January 2015) Combined Counties League Premier Division (att: 65)

With the day off work I went to the gym and had a relaxing afternoon before heading to Putney Bridge by tube before taking the 265 bus. The timetable for that service was akin to the works of Hans Christian Anderson as the bus trudged its way through some lovely places as well as the Alton Estate in Roehampton.

Eventually the bus passed the gate at Wibbanbune as teams looked to be getting ready for the 7.30pm kick off. I jogged back and went inside, nearly paying my admission to someone who turned out to be an RAC repair man! He had plenty of choice as the car park was packed.

I paid my £5 by the entrance to the small cover in front of the clubhouse and purchased the well set out programme from behind the bar for a further £1.50. At the same time I bought a tea for a quid. This was served in a proper mug. You just don’t get that at bigger games.

Wibbanbune was just as I remembered from my previous visit. The pitch was sticky but had been rolled in the afternoon. It was a bitterly cold evening with a crosswind. I’d prepared by wearing a thermal layer.

I decided to take a seat at the far side while listening to the League Cup semi-final between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur. The seating offered a bit of relief from the wind.

The game was a decent standard and went from end to end. Colliers Wood were not worried by Camberley’s position at the top of the table and gave as good as they got as they kicked down the slope.

The visiting number 9 playing in central midfield was the stand out player with an educated left foot spreading play accurately. On the half hour mark Wood’s defender Sam Mead headed off his own line from a clever chip from Kelsey. This had come about from about the only error all evening from the bulky veteran home custodian; Lee Pearce.

Like nearly everyone else I headed to the warmth of the clubhouse at the interval before resuming my position on the far side for the second period.

Once more the game ebbed and flowed and was an excellent advertisement for the league. Camberley piled on plenty of pressure but it looked like the game would end scoreless. In the final minute a ball into the home area was deflected by defender Boye with former Wood striker Manny Quarshie smashing home the volley.

He became even more of a hero seconds later when he headed a Dan Hughes header off his own line while the follow up was blocked for the visitors to take their unbeaten run to eighteen league games.

While the excitement was going on, Sheffield United so nearly booked a place at Wembley until a late Spurs goal broke their hearts.

Several fans left the game and climbed the footbridge over the A3 to get to their cars while a couple of others waited for the bus with me. They were delighted when I told them that the bus was two minutes away thanks to my phone app.

Turning down the chance of a beer I headed straight home for a warming cuppa before bed after what had been another decent cheap night out.

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