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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gainsborough Trinity

Gainsborough Trinity are a non league football club from the one time port town in Lincolnshire. The club were formed as a church side known as Trinity Recreationals FC in 1873. One of their nicknames, 'The Holy Blues' refers to this background. The clubs ground from their first day has been The Northolme.

Trinity became founder members of the Midland League in 1889 and won the league title in its second year. In 1886 the club were elected to the second division of the Football League where they generally struggled. Trinity were the first competitive opponents of Manchester United after they had changed their name from Newton Heath on the 6th September 1902. Trinity were also the first and last opponents of Middlesbrough Ironopolis FC.

In 1912 the club were voted out of the Football League to be replaced by local rivals Lincoln City, so they returned to the Midland League. Another league title was collected in 1928 and in the 1940's a record crowd of 9,760 crammed into The Northolme to watch a Midland League clash with Scunthorpe United. A third league title was lifted in 1949.

The Midland League disbanded in 1960, so Trinity spent a couple of seasons in the Yorkshire League until it was re-established. A fourth championship was sealed in 1967 before the club became founder members of the Northern Premier League the following year. They remained there until 2004 when Gainsborough became founder members of the Conference North. The Northolme had a new Main Stand built as an exact replica barring the materials as the old structure.

Peter Swann took over as club Chairman and attempted to move the club forward. Former England player and Premier League manager Brian Little was employed to take charge, but things didn't really work out, so he was dismissed early in the 2011-12 season.

Plans were unveiled to move the club to a new 4,000 capacity stadium to try and build greater links with the local community in November 2009. Two years later a deal had been agreed in principle to buyland at the former Castle Hills School site, just half a mile away from The Northolme.

Steve Housham's team were defeated by Nuneaton Town in the 2011-12 Play Off Final, and the following season they reached the last four of the FA Trophy, where they went out to winners Wrexham.

Gainsborough Trinity FC will play in the Conference North in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Gainsborough Trinity 2 Scarborough 1 (Saturday 12th February 1980) FA Trophy Round One (att: 1,100)

I had been playing for the Raincliffe School team in the morning and my Mum met me at the station with instructions to make sure the driver stopped for my Dad near The Byways as he'd been working overtime on the Saturday morning at Plaxtons. I'm sure I was with my brothers. I'd be pretty surprised if Nick at least wasn't there.

I was under the impression that the driver knew to stop, so I was somewhat perturbed when he didn't slow down and went past my Dad! He soon stopped luckily for us.

We were hoping for a better showing from Boro in this FA Trophy encounter after the previous seasons capitulation at Kettering. We were firm favourites as a top flight non league club, with our hosts in the division below.

The Northolme was a decent enough venue. The Main Stand was onthe half way line with a barrel roof and a seating deck above a terrace. There was a bit of open terrace to the left of it up to the goal line. The North Street End was a medium sized covered terrace as was The Enclosure on the far side of the pitch, only a little smaller. The other goal had open terracing.

The match was played to a backdrop of trouble as around fifty fans from each side were involved in scuffling behind the covered goal during the first half. The Boro youths were all sporting newly shaved heads. Boro went ahead through Bob Gauden bu that's where the joy ended.

One Scarborough youth decided to bear his backside to the home fans on the half way line as some kind of half time entertainment. Sadly Boro matched this in the second half and went behind. The visiting fans were extremely irate, wanting boss Colin Appleton to make a substitution up front, but when he did he introduced on loan Canadian Ivan Belfoire who's natural position was as a full back.

We left the game most upset with the result, while the police did their best to usher the more unruly fans onto the unofficial bus. I went home to listen to the new single I'd bought from Studio One that morning - I've Got Your Number by The Undertones.

The pictures of The Northolme have been taken from the internet as I didn't even have a camera, let alone have the nous to take any pictures on my visit.

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