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

Monday, February 6, 2012

AFC Blackpool

AFC Blackpool are a non league football club based in the Squires Gate suburb of the Lancashire resort. The club were formed in 1947 as Blackpool Metal Mechanics FC, playing in local competition. 'The Mechs' began life playing their home matches at Stanley Park Arena next to the town's cricket club.

After a few years they shortened their name to Blackpool Mechanics FC and in 1959 they joined the West Lancashire League, from where they progressed to the Lancashire Combination three years later. The Mechs became founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982.

Mechanics former badge

Lytham St Annes FC won the West Lancashire League Division One title in 2005, when they merged with Mechanics as the club progressed on the pitch. In February 2006 FC United of Manchester were due to play at Jepson Way in the NWCL, but the club moved the game to Blackpool's Bloomfield Road ground. The game attracted a gate of 4,300 which netted around £10,000 in valuable income.

In May 2008 Squires Gate Junior FC merged with Mechanics, which led to a change of names to AFC Blackpool. Blackpool FC had to give approval for the move, which they did offering support along the way.

AFC Blackpool will play in the North West Counties League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Wednesday 1st February 2012

I had awoken early in my Travelodge room by the North Pier in Blackpool and taken the number 17 bus to Squires Gate to visit the three non league clubs located within five minutes of each other.

I had been to Wren Rovers and Squires Gate and now had a walk across the frozen ground on a beautiful bright morning round Jepson Way to The Mechanics, as the ground had been renamed to reflect their past history. The fields near to the ground had sports pitches and then Blackpool Airport, and I was delighted to arrive to found the ground open although no-one was around.

There were small covered areas behind both goals and seated stands facing each other across the pitch, one with the clubhouse and changing facilities built into the back of it. The rest of the ground consisted with flat grass and hard standing. It was a nice enough venue with scope for further development.

I headed back down Squires Gate Lane towards Starr Gate on the sea front with the intention of catching a bus to Fleetwood. However, a bus came along near the Halfway House pub heading back into the centre of town. I had a lovely ride taking in the Pleasure Beach, Waterloo Bowling Green and past Bloomfield Road in time for some nutrition before heading up the coast.

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