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

Squires Gate

Squires Gate FC are a non league football club who emanate from the southern suburb of Blackpool in Lancashire. The club were formed as Squires Gate British Legion FC in 1948, playing local league football.

In 1953 the club changed to its present name and eight years later they joined the West Lancashire League. In 1991 'Gate' were admitted into the North West Counties League as their ground at School Road was upgraded.

Club Chairman Phil Days resigned from the club in June 2006 after his calls for near neighbours Gate, Blackpool Wren Rovers and Blackpool Mechanics (later AFC Blackpool) to amalgamate and form a club to push towards Northern Premier League status. 

Meanwhile Gate progressed gradually on the pitch to reach the league's top flight. The club narrowly avoided relegation at the culmination of the 2012-13 season as they changed the name of their ground to the Royal British Legion Stadium.

In November 2014, Gate player Jack Sowerby progressed to become a full time professional at neighbours Fleetwood Town, while manager Dave McCann led his side to a record sixth place finish in the 2014-15 season.

Squires Gate FC will spend the 2016-17 season in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

My visit

Wednesday 1st February 2012

I woke in Blackpool rather earlier than intended on a crisp but stunning morning. After checking out of the Travelodge near to the Tower, I caught the number 17 bus towards Squires Gate. I alighted near The Shovels pub on Common Edge Road and instead of walking down to School Road I had found a path behind Bruce Park and then had a look at the adjoining home of Squires Gate.

I'd heard of near neighbour grounds before, but I'd never seen anything like this arrangement. The grounds were just separated by a fence down one side. The School Road ground was relatively basic, but it had all the facilities required for a club of Squires Gate's standing.

A low covered enclosure was located down the Wren Rovers side, a couple of small seated stands opposite and a small cover near to the clubhouse and changing rooms by the corner flag. There was a hard standing path all the way around the pitch next to the single rail pitch side fence and then flat open grass.

After walking right round the back of two sides of the ground I could see inside, but there was no gates open for a closer look. I got a better view from the car park on School Road, which was busy with parents dropping off their youngsters for another day of learning. I was probably viewed with suspicion taking pictures, but I was as discreet as possible before going on my way to my next ground, the home of AFC Blackpool.

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