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.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Chipperfield Corinthians FC are a non league football club from the small rural village of Chipperfield, which is located about seven miles north west of Watford. The club were formed as Chipperfield FC in 1902 to play friendly matches before joining the West Herts League a couple of years later.
Chipperfield continued in that league and had their most successful spell in the 1960s and 70s, winning many local cups and the league title on seven occasions. They joined the Herts County League in 1975 before merging with the Croxley based Tudor Corinthians in 1987. Tudor could not progress as they could not upgrade their council owned pitch and Chipperfield were stagnating on the pitch.
The club won some more local cups and reached the leagues' Premier Division. They had a spell in the second tier before reclaiming their place back in the top division in 2010.
Chipperfield Corinthians FC will compete in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.
Chipperfield Corinthians 0 Met Police Bushey 3 (Thursday 25th August 2011) Herts Senior County League (att:33)
I had finished my late shift and with my solitary day off for the week being a Thursday, I didn't hold up much hope of fitting in a game. However, the Non League Paper offered an interesting possible solution.
After going online and discovering that the club apparently had a programme sponsor I contacted fellow Boro fan Ian Anderson who is based in Northampton. He was swayed immediately and asked me to confirm with the Corinthians secretary that there would definitely issue a programme. After it was confirmed we set our plans in motion.
After a fine meal and a couple of pints (thanks Wetherspoon Curry Club!) I took the train from Kenton and after a change I was in Hemel Hempstead within thirty minutes. Ian was awaiting and we set off. Ian's driving skills were tested to the limit. His satnav took us up a lane that was extremely narrow with high hedges either side. It was a bit like a maze for a car! We reached the stunning village of Chipperfield unscathed and looked for the ground. It was still early evening as the game kicked off at 6.30pm owing to a lack of floodlights at the Queen Street ground.
We were immediately impressed. A small car park on the common was well sign posted that all football traffic should park there. We walked up the pebbly lane up to the grounds entrance and headed for the clubhouse.
Inside we obtained our programmes and had a cup of tea. Confectionary and hot drinks were available but there was no bar. It had a nice seating area. Ian obtained some old programmes for which they just asked for a small donation. We went outside a few minutes before kick off to survey the scene.
It was beautiful. The pitch had a slope across it from the entrance side. The pitch had a rail and post fence around it with dug outs on the far side with large trees formeing a natural boundary to the ground. Two sides had a hard standing path. The view down the slope was of pretty cottages and a cattle field. Keeping the cattle away was an electric wire fence!
The teams came out and soon got down to business. This was my first game at this level for many years (Step 7 of non league) and I was impressed. There was plenty of skill on offer but also errors. In short, the main difference between what I was watching and the few divisions higher was fitness. There were plenty of players carrying excess baggage, but all of them could play. Action was end to end throughout, without either keeper being stretched too far.
We got chatting to a friendly local. We complimented the club and the surrounding village, which went down well. He confirmed that the electric fence was turned off but it was necessary during the week to prevent the clearing of the pitch before a game!
The first half ended scoreless but not through a lack of effort. Only the three officials retreated to the changing rooms at the interval with the players staying on the pitch to take in instructions.
The second half continued in a similar fashion to the first period. Corinthians had a tricky forward but he was being kept in check by a burly centre back playing for the 'law'. Met Police had a couple of speedy players of their own and they broke the deadlock. The home team pressed forward but could not create a clear chance. The visiting keeper was most commanding with any balls coming within range.
A young lad resplendent in a full Watford kit came round with a little wooden box containg cash and a few programmes. We put some money in. We hadn't been asked for admission and we enjoyed our evening thoroughly. The youngster continued around until he got rid of all the remaining programmes. When he'd finished he continued with his game behind the goal. It took me back many years!
A thunderbolt finish put the Police two up before another well constructed move rounded off the scoring. It hadn't really been a 3-0 game, but in the closing stages The Met showed some fine passing football. The attendance incidentally was taken from the Met's web site. We had counted up to forty five people at one stage.
We retreated to The Windmill pub for a London Pride. It was pretty but not really to our liking as seemed more intent on food trade. We drove past another place afterwards which was busy with footballers. We'll know next time.
Ian managed to get us back via the lane again and we had time for a quick pint in The Fishery overlooking the canal by Hemel station. It was soon time to catch the train back home to Kingsbury. It had been a wonderful evening out in superb surroundings in the company of good people. Viva grass roots football!