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.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Padiham FC are a non league club who were formed in 1878 and are based in the small town about three miles west of Burnley, which was once a player in the industrial revolution but is now a conservation area.
The club were popular when formed, once attracting a crowd of 9,000 for a fixture against Burnley in 1884 to their ground by the banks of the River Calder. It is because of the grounds' location that the club are nicknamed 'The Caldersiders' as well as 'The Storks'.
The club folded in 1916 as it struggled to compete with professional clubs from larger nearby towns. During this time, Padiham lost their ground and as a consequence they didn't reform until after the end of World War Two.
They moved into the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground with a gate of 1,777 turning up to see their first league match in the Lancashire Combination. In 1982 Padiham became founder members of the North West Counties League, where they remained until 1990 when they had a spell in the West Lancashire League.
They returned to the higher grade in 2000 and gradually improved before winning promotion to the top tier in 2008. Steve Wilkes outfit were crowned champions of the NWCL in 2012-13 and were promoted to the Northern Premier League for the first time.
Padiham FC will play in the NorthernPremier League Division One North for the 2013-14 season.
Wednesday 14th September 2011
I was in East Lancashire for the day before heading to Manchester for the evening. I had visited Accrington Stanley the previous night for their game with Rotherham United and had spent the morning in the undulating landscape visiting Nelson and Colne and their football grounds. I had just left Burnley, having been given a look around Turf Moor and then caught a bus for the short journey to the picturesque town of Padiham.
I was a few minutes ahead of schedule and wondered whether to rush and catch an earlier bus or relax and maybe even have a quick half before continuing to Blackburn. I walked though the hilly town, climbing all the time until I reached the signs for the football and cricket clubs, which I knew were located next to each other. I wandered past the tempting Hare and Hounds pub, up a small lane to the ground. Straight ahead up a few steps was the cricket club and to the right the football ground. Thankfully the gate was open.
A couple of gents were coming off the pitch, one of whom was club secretary Alan Smith. I asked for permission to take some photos and I explained to the older of the two what I was up to.
The Arbories Memorial Ground really was a neat and looked after venue. The club rooms and changing rooms were along the near side. A seted stand straddled the half way line with a cover for standing spectators towards the far end. Behind that goal was just a narrow piece of flat open hard standing. The far touchline was dominated by a grass bank with narrow hard standing at the front. The end bordering the cricket ground had a cover towards the far side and a few steps of terrace, which ran the full goal line.
Alan kindly brought me out a match programme to take with me and had a very interesting chat about Padiham and non league football in general. I was amazed to hear that Padiahm FC were the only club in the town to field senior football sides on a Saturday. Some of Alan's stories about the hard work going into running a club at this level was familiar to tales I hear around the circuit. It was really nice to hear that Padiham were very much a community club who endeavoured to help others wherever possible.
I went on my way and within minutes a bus arrived to take me onto my next venue, Ewood Park. Different facilities and crowd figures but all part of the same wonderful game. If only all the larger clubs could remember that at times!