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

Maine Road

Maine Road FC are a non league football club based in the south Manchester suburb of Whalley Range. The club were originally formed under the name of City Supporters Rusholme FC by a group of Manchester City fans in 1955.

'Road' started out playing Sunday League football. In the 1960's they moved to new headquarters at the Maine Road Social Club at the famous old stadium while changing their name to their current title. In 1972 they made the move to Saturday football, joining the Manchester League.

They won four consecutive league titles from their Brantingham Road home, which they moved into in 1980, before joining the North West Counties League in 1987 after upgrading their ground. Over the following seasons they gradually climbed the NWCL with a relegation thrown in.

The 2012-13 season saw a battle for the championship with Padiham who eventually went on to claim the title and promotion. They finished fourth the following campaign, before a lower finish in 2014-15

Maine Road FC will play in the North West Counties League Premier Division in the 2015-16 season.

My visits

Wednesday 21st July 2010

I had been in Manchester for a few days of socialising and groundhopping. On my final day after going around Bury and surrounding towns I had time for one last ground to visit. I took the bus from Piccadilly Gardens and got off near Brantingham Road after an interesting ride through several suburbs.

On arrival I was gutted that access to the ground was locked, and with it being located down an open drive I couldn't take any decent photos. I tried to find a way in from the southern end on Wilbraham Road to no avail.

I had to console myself with a look on Whitworth Street and see the new block of flats where The Hacienda once stood and have a couple of pints before my train. Well there was a sort of tenuous link - Maine Road, Oasis, Hacienda.

Thursday 2nd February 2012

I was back in Manchester after spending the night in a Travelodge by Salford Quays after attending the Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal game the previous evening. Again I had a couple of hours to kill, so once again I found myself on a bus from Piccadilly.

I got off a stop early to have a walk as my fitness campaign was in full swing. Again the gate was padlocked and I thought I was once again to be thwarted. However, I'm nothing if not determined and I saw the gate to the St Bede's School Playing Fields, which adjoins the ground was open. I walked across the frozen perimeter of the ground so I didn't attract attention and got to the fence alongside Road's home.

It had once been the headquarters of the Manchester FA, and although local finals were still played at the ground, they vacated administratively to the newly built Salford Sports Village a few years previously. It was quite a basic venue, but it ticked all the boxes required to stage Step 5 football. There was a long low cover on the far side with a mixture of standing spaces and bench seating, with another smaller stand on the near side by the dug outs. The rest of the ground consisted of flat open hard standing and grass. The changing rooms and facilities were in a separate block near the entrance accessed from Brantingham Road.

I wasn't quite done yet. Back in the late 90's my good friend Steve Walker took me through to Manchester to visit his girlfriend Sarah. I hadn't realised at the time but the student house she lived in on Manley Road was just around the corner. I had a walk and went by to relive a few happy memories before carrying on for another twenty minutes or so to see what happened to the old Maine Road stadium in Moss Side.

It had been a very cold and clear morning, but my walk warmed me up and I left with a smile.

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