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.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Harefield United FC are a non league club from the large village of Harefield which is on the north west outskirts of London. The club were formed in 1868 originally playing in local football under several names including Harefield Victoria and Breakspear Institute.
In 1934 the club merged with Harefield FC to become Harefield United. 'The Hares' played in the Great Western Combination and then the Parthenon League. In 1966 they become members of the Middlesex League, where they won four titles.
In 1975 Harefield moved to the Athenian League before joining the newly extended Isthmian League in 1983. Although they spent a short spell in a higher division, it was a spell of struggle on the pitch. Attendances were also often low.
In 1995 The Hares didn't have funds for necessary ground improvements, so they resigned from the league to join the Spartan League, which in turn became the Spartan South Midlands League the following year.
They were demoted after a couple of seasons, but soon found their way back to the top tier. Over the following few seasons there was some success in the way of local and league cup wins.
Harefield United FC will compete in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.
Wednesday 6th April 2005
I had a day off from work and decided to use my free staff travel to visit somewhere new. After calling in at Amersham Town and Hillingdon Borough I took the bus from Uxbridge to the picturesque village of Harefield.
I was somewhat taken aback to find a branch of the Harry Ramsden fish and chips franchise alongside a village green, some inviting pubs and cottages, with the famous hospital nearby.
I walked past the cricket ground along Breakspear Road North and found the Preston Park ground. The car park had the clubhouse on the right with an all weather football pitch in front and a practise pitch on the left. The ground had two covers, one with seating, facing each other across the pitch.
I took a couple of photos that didn't come out too well. I definitely wanted to return.
Harefield United 2 Leverstock Green 1 (Tuesday 27th September 2011) Spartan South Midlands League Premier League (att: 69)
I made good my promise on a very pleasant evening as The Hares were hosting the league leaders who had won their previous ten matches. Harefield were placed in lower mid table so an away win was very much on the books.
I caught the tube to Northwood and then the bus to Harefield village green when I decided to try a pint in the Kings Arms before heading down the road towards the ground.
A car stopped and a gent asked for directions to the match. I confirmed he was heading the right way and he offered me a lift, which was greatly appreciated. The car park was already nearly full when we arrived. I obtained a programme first, which concerned the jovial gateman as he'd have no proof that I hadn't already paid my admission fee later. As was the norm in this fine league, the programme was given free with admission. I assured him I wouldn't sneak in. He was delighted when he saw my Scarborough Athletic badge and thanked me for giving his club a visit.
After a beer in the busy clubhouse I took up my place on the grass bank by the entrance having paid my £6. There was a decent sized crowd with plenty of visiting fans there hoping to see their team continue their fine run. I wandered around the ground which had a stunningly lush large pitch.
The first half was nip and tuck without any real stand out chances. Levy keeper C Tasker made a great save right on half time. It would have been hard for a fan to walk in off the street and decipher which team had which playing record before kick off.
I adjourned to the vibrant clubhouse, which also contained the catering outlet at half time to catch up on the half time scores including that evening's Champions League updates.
In the second half The Hares looked the more likely of the two sides. J Arthur was causing the visiting defence all kinds of problems and it was no surprise when player coach Ben Cowen put them ahead with a fine header.
Levy were awarded a penalty for handball when the ball skidded on the dewy pitch and hit the defenders trailing arm. Lee Bircham, the Levy skipper and brother of Marc Bircham put the spot kick away. Incidentally Kevin Gallen was also listed in the programme for Levy, but didn't appear. After the goal the visitors showed real signs of their previous form and looked like they would take the spoils.
However, Harefield brought on sub Robert Prvevorsk who ran with the ball at pace and took the pressure off and created opportunities. The Levy keeper flapped at one cross and then a few minutes later made a late challenge and gave away a penalty which was put away by Liam Sonner.
The game opened up in the last few minutes but there was no further scoring.
I gave top marks to all the players and fans including a couple of very vocal chain smoking Hares supporter. The PA man who had previously doubled up as gateman could hardly conceal his joy when reading out the scorers. Most of all, top marks to the ref A Williams. He was a young un but used common sense, especially with his lack of showing cards, and I thought his decision making was top drawer.
Absolutely brilliant night in a lovely place. Would have given it 10/10 if the clubhouse had handpumps!
I reflected on the journey home what a great game I'd seen with all the players giving 100% for just a few quids expenses, while the radio were giving up to date reports on Carlos Tevez refusing to take the field for Manchester City in Munich. The same game, but a different world!