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

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hanwell Town

Hanwell Town is a non league football club based in Perivale, West London. The club were formed in 1920 by a group of natives of Newcastle upon Tyne who moved to the capital for work, hence the clubs black and white kit.

Town started off playing in the London League but moved to more local football after the Second World War. The club played their home games at the Ealing Central Sports Ground from the beginning on the 60s. 

In 1970 the club progressed to the Middlesex League and then the Spartan League by the early 80s as Town moved into their new Reynolds Field home. By 1989 they had installed floodlights. When the Spartan League amalgamated in 1998, 'The Geordies' became founder members of the Spartan South Midlands League.

When non league football was re-organised in 2006, Town were placed in the new Southern League Division One South and West. Their spell lasted just one season before they returned back to the SSML.

Hanwell regrouped over a period of a few seasons and went on to be crowned as Spartan South Midlands League champions in 2013-14 under manager Ray Duffy to earn a return to the Southern League.

Duffy stood aside following a seventh place finish in Division One Central; which the highest place that the club had ever finished in the non-league pyramid. Phil Granville took over and led the side to an unprecedented FA Cup third qualifying round tie. Despite that achievement the league form was less than impressive. 

Granville was replaced by Duffy who stepped up for a third spell at the helm. He saved the side from relegation before leading them to a mid table finish in 2016-17.

Hanwell Town FC will compete in the Southern League Division One East in the 2017-18 season.

My visits

Friday 20th October 2006

I had a day off from work so I decided to head to West London and visit some new grounds. I had been to AFC Hayes and took a bus and then tube to Perivale station. Within a few minutes I was outside the gates of Reynolds Field.

The ground was looking at its best for Southern League football, having had several recent upgrades. The entrance was by a corner flag. Behind the nearest goals was a long cover with a few steps. 

Opposite me was a fine looking clubhouse and changing room block on two stories. Alongside it was a seated stand. The rest of the ground consisted of open grass and hard standing. Practice pitches were between the far side stands and the nearby Western Avenue.

I wandered off and went to next destination, North Greenford United.

Hanwell Town 0 Haringey Borough 3 (Tuesday 30th August 2011) Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division (att: 52)

My brother Nick was down to stay for a couple of nights as he had work in London, so I thought it was about time he saw a game at this level. After looking through the fixtures and considering facilities and travelling times, a visit to Reynolds Field seemed to be the best option.

We had tea and then headed off. The first snag was a hold up on the tube. We eventually got to Wembley Park and before long we were on board the 297 bus. Unfortunately this hit heavy traffic around Wembley High Road and then Alperton, although it did offer siome potential future eating places. 

We jumped out at Perivale station and cut across the fields to the A40 only to see our bus go down the road by the side of the ground. At least it would make the homeward journey convenient.

My first impression was that someone was working hard at the the club selling advertising, as plenty of the high fencing enclosing the ground was offering various services. We walked around the ground to find the entrance at the far side of the car park by the clubhouse.  Admission was £6 which included a decent programme, which represented good value.

How looks can deceive. The clubhouse was functional but it didn't live up to its distant appearance. The stock behind the bar was limited owing to them missing their delivery because of the Bank Holiday. 

We settled for a can of Fosters each at a very reasonable price and sat to read the programme. There appeared to be several other groundhoppers about. The SSML used their common sense by placing all their games midweek instead of on Monday like most other leagues.

The match itself saw a good performance from the visitors. It was pretty even for first half hour until a visitors full back scored a stunning volley. I got into the action with a header after a ball was cleared near us. It bloody hurt! 

Hanwell weren't bad but they were missing a cutting edge and indeed a sitter later in the half. The defence concentrated a bit much on moaning at the linesman instead of playing to the whistle. The second came when a player came through and finished to the bottom corner despite complaints he was offside.

We had a bottle of Bud at halftime (I said that the stock was limited!) and it was nice to see MP Stephen Pound there supporting his local club and mixing with the fans. There looked to be a decent tea/snack bar inside the clubhouse.

Hanwell tried to get back into it in the second half but Haringey always looked more threatening on the break. There was some good  football from both sides and it was so nice to see most of it on the deck. 

The home side got a lifeline when the referee gradually lost control and started to give decisions to whoever shouted loudest gave a penalty, but the keeper pulled off a brilliant save. The third goal came from a powerful solo run and a great finish. That somed up Boro's performance. They were more incisive and generally quicker going forward.

We left a few minutes before full time, and not to beat the crowds as Nick joked. The bus stop allowed a view of the far end of the pitch and we saw the ref signal the end of the game just as our bus arrived. 

We were inside Wetherspoons at Kingsbury having a nightcap by 10.20. Nick enjoyed the evening, which I took as a reasonable gauge, as I know I have a high level of tolerance of the standard of football I sometimes see.

As a footnote, the SSML committee deserved some credit. There were some excellent crowds around the league on the evening.

Southall 2 Codicote 0 – Abandoned at half time (Wednesday 18th December 2013) Spartan South Midlands League Division One (att: approx 30)

Hanwell were landlords to Southall for several stations. To read and see pictures from this rather damp evening out, click here.

London Tigers 5 Edgware Town 0 (Wednesday 22nd March 2017) Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division (att: 30)

To read about this match played as a Tigers 'home' game and to view images, click here.

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