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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Redbridge



Redbridge FC are a non league football club based in North East London. However, the origins of the club come from further east in the capital and in particular in the motor industry.

Brook Sports FC and Ford Motors (Dagenham) FC were both formed in 1934, with Brooks being based at the current home of Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road and originally having the name of Brooks Motor Bodies FC. In 1958 the clubs merged to form Ford United FC, playing at the Ford Sports & Social Club in Rush Green, Romford.

The new club became members of the Aetolian League in 1959, where they won a couple of titles before moving to the Greater London League in 1964. In 1971 Ford joined the Metropolitan League, before switching to the Essex Senior League in 1974.
The Main Stand at Rush Green
After winning their second league title the club were promoted into the Isthmian League in 1997, just two years after their existence was threatened. A sponsorship with Sky Sports saved the day and 'The Motormen' went from strength to strength. Within five years they were playing in the Rymans League Premier Division after winning three promotions and honours along the way.
Another view of Rush Green
The Chairman come goalkeeper Jimmy Chapman invested plenty of money in the club and particularly into their new home at Oakside, which was previously owned by Barkingside FC. The club moved there in 2000 after the Isthmian League would not permit them to stay at Rush Green as the owners of the ground would only let the ground on a year by year basis. Chapman became President of Barkingside in a show of intent that they would always have a permanent home despite now being tenants at Oakside.

In the 2003-04 season United reached the FA Cup first round where they went down to Port Vale in an Oakside replay. Because the club finished in a good league position that season, they were invited to become founder members of the Conference South in 2004. At this point the club changed its name to Redbridge FC to raise awareness amongst the local community. Their run didn't last for long as two rapid relegations followed seeing the club return to the Isthmian League First Division North.



In 2007 former Premier League striker Dean Holdsworth was named as team manager. He led the side to a play off final before his skills were duly noted, as he was appointed as manager of Newport County.

Several managers tried their hand at the club, without really looking like leading the club to honours. In the 2011-12 season they once again reached the FA Cup First Round as the lowest ranked club and drew with Oxford City. However, at the end of the season the manager Terry Spillane departed with most of his squad to Tiptree & Maldon. 



Jim Chapman sold the club to London Bari chief Imran Merchant who installed Ricky Eaton and Dave Ross as joint managers. Chapman returned in 2014, as the club were handed a huge boost. They finished in the relegation places, but were reprieved as promotion winners Clevedon Town failed the ground graders demands.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, Barkingside left Oakside over a dispute, to leave Redbridge as sole tenants. 

Redbridge FC will play in the Isthmian League Division One North in the 2013-14 season.


My visits

Redbridge 1 Cambridge City 5 (Saturday 15th January 2005) FA Trophy Round Three (att: 154)



I had a Saturday off work and fancied going to a new ground. Oakside was a place that looked convenient enough on the tube and the FA Trophy clash promised a decent encounter.

Although the ground is visible from the footbridge at Barkingside station, I got a shock when I had to walk a good five minutes to the entrance. On arrival I was impressed, especially as the ground once consisted of minimal spectator accommodation.

There was an all weather practice pitch behind the car park before I went in through the turnstiles in the corner of the ground. There was a substantial clubhouse and changing rooms by the corner of the ground under the railway embankment. The near end had some decent open terracing. The Railway Side had open terracing with a covered seated stand in the centre section. The far end was flat open standing with allotments behind. The final side had flat open standing with a covered area for standing spectators in the middle.



City fans were in the majority, with a young vocal group taking over the covered terrace with their flags. I sat in the stand. The match had plenty of action, but unfortunately it was very one sided.

I left before full time to get home to watch the tea time kick off and watched for a few minutes from the station footbridge before I ran down the steps when my train approached.

Wednesday 26th September 2007

I was on a marathon days groundhopping on a pleasant afternoon around North East London and Essex. I was slightly jaded when I alighted at Barkingside station as I'd had a long walk through fields and paths to try and get some last chance photos at Sungate, the former home of Collier Row FC and Romford FC. It was a fruitless expedition and I was glad to be back in a populated area.


I wanted some more photos of Oakside for my collection, but it wasn't to be my day. The ground was locked so I had to get the best shots I could from outside and on the railway footbridge!


For further pictures and an updated description of Oakside, please go to the Barkingside page.




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