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

London

September 2015

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

St Ives Town





St Ives Town FC are a non league club from the market town in Cambridgeshire, and should not be confused with St Ives Town who play in the Cornwall Combination!

'The Saints' were formed in 1887 and played for many years in various local leagues in the area. The club had many successes, particularly in local cup competitions before joining the United Counties League in 1985.


In 2005 The Saints won promotion to the leagues' top division for the first time and also lifted the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup on three further occasions as well as reaching three Premier Cup Finals around this period.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 St Ives reached the fifth round of the FA Vase. On the first of these occasions a record crowd of 767 was attracted to Westwood Road for the Needham Market clash. In 2010 they lifted the United Counties League Cup for the first time in their history.


Promotion was achieved to the Southern League at the end of the 2012-13 season after a second place finish in the United Counties League as Conor Washington made his mark before departing for Newport County.

Cambridge City became tenants at Westwood Road from the summer of 2014 while they awaited the building of their new stadium. The team continued their upward curve as promotion was achieved at the end of the 2015-16 season thanks to a win in the play-off final as AFC Rushden & Diamonds were defeated 3-2 under manager Ricky Marheineke.


St Ives Town FC will compete in the Southern League Premier Division for the 2016-17 season.

My visit





Saturday 16th July 2011

St Ives Town Select XI 5 Seadogs FC 0 (Friendly) att: 20 at the start but up to 100 by the end!

I had been in Scarborough for the week to watch the Yorkshire v Worcestershire County Championship cricket match as well as enjoying the North Yorkshire Moors on foot with my Dad. I wanted to watch Scarborough Athletic in their pre season friendly against St Ives Town on my way home to London and wanted a lift.


James Hunter kindly offered me a ride in return for me making an appearance in the Seadogs team so I tentatively agreed. I hadn't played for around ten years. Unfortunately I couldn't buy a pair of reasonably priced boots for the match so I set out with shin pads and trainers.


The weather was abysmal on the way down and we wondered if either game would go ahead. There was no way I could play in trainers so I offered to help out with the drinks etc. Our hosts were very hospitable and before long the catering bar was open selling very welcome bacon rolls and mugs of tea.

I went out with the team to find a waiting referee enquiring as to who our assistant referee was (linesman). I won the vote without very much opposition!


I did my very best to keep up with play, even though some of our defenders struggled. Initially we though it was a veterans team we were to oppose. They definitely weren't! At half time I offered what tactical advice I could muster while wringing out my fleecy. It was wet and cold.

In the second half our lads did their best against a good team. Reserve team boss Steve Brennan was outstanding, but he didn't fight for too many new signings from our ranks at full time. The crowd swelled towards the end as the players and fans arrived for the main match.


It was good to be involved in the game actively once more. We had to hurry at full time to vacate the changing rooms so we adjourned to the bar where the locals had put on curry for us. All in all, it had been good fun.

St Ives Town 1 Scarborough Athletic 2 (Pre Season Friendly) att: 112


The rain had stopped for the main match of the day and the sun came out. I relaxed with the travelling fans, many of who were staying for the weekend on the mini pre season tour. The club were keen to help boss Rudy Funk bring his new charges together and bond in readiness for the new season.

I now had the opportunity to examine the pretty Westwood Road ground.


The ground was down a narrow lane next to a leisure centre. A small car park led to the ground entrance where the clubhouse and changing room block stood. A couple of lean to structures had been created, one containing a couple of rows of raised seats and terrace, with the other just for standing fans. It was a nice area to watch the game from. The far side had a seated stand straddling the half way line with trees and bushes forming the boundary on that side, offering a pretty backdrop. The rest of the ground consisted of flat open concrete and grass. Rumours were abound that the club were looking to move to a new ground.


The home side were a decent team on the bobbly pitch and went one nil up before half time, with their keeper pulling off a couple of stunning saves. In the second half Boro's superior fitness told against St Ives who were in their first run out of the season. Goals from Ryan Blott and Ant Lynam sealed a deserved win as once again some magnificent saves kept the score down.


I reluctantly said goodbye to everyone. The people at St Ives had been brilliant towards us, and the players and supporters were all going out together to put in a big bonding session before playing Dereham Town the following day. I had to work on Sunday night after umpiring a ladies cricket match in the morning. I couldn't really grumble!


Neil Daniel kindly gave me a lift back to Peterborough station so I could get a train back to London. It had been a lovely visit. I sincerely hoped that it would become a regular fixture.











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