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.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sporting Fingal (Ireland)
Sporting Fingal FC were a League of Ireland football club from North Dublin. The concept of the club was created by Fingal County Council in 2007 to develop football in the district.
The idea was to set up a school of excellence north of the nearby town of Swords. Opportunity knocked when Kilkenny City dropped out of the League of Ireland and Sporting took their place in Division One in 2008, playing games at Morton Stadium.
In just their second season 'The Ravens' won promotion via the play offs as well as lifting the FAI Cup after defeating Sligo Rovers in the final at Tallaght. This qualified the club for the Europa League, where Portuguese side CS Maritimo defeated them 6-4 on aggregate.
In Sporting's first and as it turned out, last season in the top flight in 2010 they finished in a very creditable fourth place. The club intended to play home matches at Dalymount Park in 2011 as tenants to Bohemians until a new sports complex including a football ground was built in Lusk.
In February 2011 the club owners revealed that it had not been able to pay the players wages. On 9th February the PFA of Ireland revealed that all the players contracts had been cancelled and then the following day the club announced that they had withdrawn their application to play in the League of Ireland as financial targets had not been met during the close season.
The club was immediately dissolved.
Friday 15th October 2010
I was travelling around North Dublin in a slightly dishevelled condition after a wonderful night enjoying the city's hospitality the previous evening. I had already visited the homes of Drumcondra, Shelbourne and Home Farm before I headed for Morton Stadium.
The home at the time of Sporting Fingal was out towards the airport on Swords Road past the Omni Shopping Complex in Santry. A bus at taken me from outside Whitehall Stadium all the way to the entrance of Morton Stadium. I was delighted to find the gates of this municipal arena, which also played home to Clonliffe Harriers AC. In the past it had also hosted matches for the short lived Dublin City FC and Shamrock Rovers.
The stadium itself was neat and tidy, if not ideal for the staging of football with the running track meaning fans would be a fair distance from the pitch. The Main Stand on the far side was elevated with covered seating. Shallow open terracing curved behind both ends while on the Swords Road side there was a separate tidy open terrace lock with a TV gantry perched on it.
I left the stadium and decided to walk to the next bus stop as the next bus was going to be five minutes. My next destination was to be Croke Park, which was an experience well worth every Euro.