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, July 15, 2012

Farnborough





Farnborough FC are a non league football club who were formed in 2007, following the liquidation of Farnborough Town FC who started out in 1968. The town itself is located thirty four miles south west of London and has grown as villages have joined up form its suburbs.











Farnborough Town started out in local league competition playing at Queens Road before progressing to the Spartan League, later to become the London Spartan League, where they were crowned champions in 1974 and 1975, moving to the John Roberts Ground on Cherrywood Road around the same time. The following season Boro reached the semi finals of the FA Vase, and then joining the Athenian League. where once again they failed to make a Wembley appearance by failing at the final hurdle.











In 1977 Farnborough became members of the Isthmian League, where they progressed through the divisions over the next decade, finishing as runners up in the Premier Division in 1988-89 and winning promotion to the Football Conference. Unfortunately their spell in non league's elite lasted just one year before they suffered relegation. However they quickly regrouped and returned at the first time of asking by lifting the Southern League title. In 1991 Town became the first non league club to feature in a live Sky TV game, when they overcame Torquay United 4-3 in an FA Cup replay at Cherrywood Road.












Later that season they were drawn at home to West Ham United in the third round but chose to switch the game to Upton Park. Farnborough put in a tremendous performance to draw 1-1 to take the game to a replay where they went down to the only goal of the game.

Their second spell in the Conference lasted two seasons before they returned to the Southern League, where once again they won an immediate return by winning the league title. In 1999 Town finished bottom of the table and this time were relegated to the Isthmian League as Graham Westley took over as team manager as well as buying a controlling interest in the club. In their second season Westley took the team up as champions, returning to the Conference. 












Westley changed the club colours from their traditional yellow and blue to red and white stripes and renamed the ground as the Aimita Stadium after the company owned by him. Aimita was an acronym for 'Attitude is more important than ability'. He also attempted to merge Farnborough with Kingstonian but was denied by fans resistance around this time. His reasoning was that The K's had a ready made Football League standard stadium.

The 2002-03 season saw Farnborough hit the headlines as a fine FA Cup run saw off Molesey, Harrogate Town, Southport and then Darlington to be rewarded with a home tie against Arsenal in round four. The match was controversially moved to Highbury to make gate receipts of £600,000 and ended in a 5-1 defeat. Shortly afterwards Westley resigned his position and left the club to join Stevenage Borough as manager, to plenty of ill feeling from Farnborough fans.











In 2005 Town were relegated to Conference South with debts mounting. In the 2006-07 season the club entered into administration and were docked ten points. In May 2007 the club were liquidated.

Soon after the new club was set up with fans voting upon the name Farnborough FC and returning to their yellow and blue strip. The team were placed in Southern League Division One South & West, which was a relegation of two divisions. They won the title at the first attempt to reach the Premier Division. All was still not well at the club financially and during the 2009-10 season they faced a winding up order in court as manager Steve King spent big on player recruitment. This was avoided as they won promotion back to Conference South at the end of the season.












The following season the club were hit with a transfer embargo, but King's side still reached the end of season play offs where they lost 4-2 to Ebbsfleet United in the final. King departed to be replaced by another highly controversial figure as huge works were carried out to renovate the stadium.

Spencer Day is probably better known by his former name, Spencer Trethewy. Treethewy, a property developer claimed to have saved Aldershot FC in 1990 while just nineteen years old. He was soon removed from their board when it transpired that he didn't have access to the £200,000 he claimed he did. In 1994 he was jailed for running up bills for his company while they were suspended from trading, before he changed his name by deed poll in 1998. In 2007 he bought Chertsey Town FC to become owner and team manager having ammassed a reported millions from his business interests, before leaving to take the managers job at Farnborough.












The club were still in financial trouble and Day assisted behind the scenes while the club entered negotiations with a consortium headed by former team captain Tim O'Shea, which got extremely heated at times. In January Day 'reluctantly' took control of the club after negotiations broke down over claims that O'Shea wanted to install himself as manager.

In July 2012 the club announced that it would be calling in the Police to examine an attempted fraud at the club and previous financial irregularities. The financial status continued to blight the club during the 2012-13 season.

Farnborough FC will play in the Conference South in season 2013-14.


My visits

Farnborough Town 1 Scarborough 1 (Saturday 14th September 2002) Football Conference (att: 629)




Part of the bonus of living in London was being able to get to games I'd never have done if still in North Yorkshire, and here was another example. I had Saturday's off in winter from my job at Lord's Cricket Ground and looked forward to Boro's away games near to the capital.

I was joined for the day by Dave Cammish who had started going to the occasional match after giving up his season ticket at Leeds United and general falling out of love with the Premier League and modern big time football. That said, it was the same day as Leeds were kicking off at midday against Man Utd and he wanted to see the game. I wasn't against an earlier train and a few beers in a pub either!





Dave had made preliminary enquiries and found a pub called the The Thatched Cottage, which was a fifteen minute walk from the station. It was only just opening when we arrived, but they quickly confirmed that they didn't have Sky. This was not promising as we hadn't passed any other pubs on the way. Dave suggested we walked back past the station and see if we could find anywhere, but on the way my non league knowledge bore fruit.

I saw signs for Cove FC. I remembered the name as a team from the Isthmian League so natuarally they'd have a clubhouse. We wandered down the narrow lane and found the ground. There were a ahndful in the clubhouse and they did have Sky and said we were OK to stay and watch the game. What a result! We got beer at cheaper prices while helping another club, and to Dave's joy Harry Kewell scored the only goal near the end. The home counties Man Utd fans didn't quite see it that way!












We set out up Prospect Road on the long trek and onto Cherrywood Road to the ground. We went into the clubhouse, which resembled an aircraft hanger. It was lacking furniture and just had a few TVs on the wall. We spoke with some locals who shook their heads in sorrow. Mr Westley had ripped apart a lovely homely clubhouse that once had darts, dominoes and pool teams as well as local residents as customers to suit his bright new image and utilise the room for outside functions. We really felt for them and our opinions of Westley were quickly gathering pace.

We went inside the ground to join the other average turn out of Seadogs. It was an average venue, which Westley claimed he had big plans for. It was painted red as he claimed that teams in red were more sucuccessful. The Prospect Road End was open standing apart from a small cover in the centre. The far Moor Road End was open hard standing on a slope with a small amount of terracing. The Main Stand was a raised seating deck with a noticible single tiered seating extension added on. There was open standing either side. The final side had a long low cover and was primarily terracing with some seats at the Moor Road End for away fans when segregation was in place.












Boro played reasonably well on the day if memory serves me right, but fell behind. After a quick drink in the club at half time Boro came out and pressed and eventually scored an equaliser through Bimbo Fatokun. Unfortunately they couldn't find a winner but we were reasonably satisfied with an away point.

We walked back and stopped for a pint at the rather stuffy Thatched Cottage and then had another at the strangely named Ham and Blackbird near the station while we waited for our train back to London.

Wednesday 20th June 2012

I had the day off work and had a few hours to kill before a meet in the West End of London at 4.30pm. I decided to spend the day out in the lovely weather and to do some exercise while visiting some football grounds. I originally intended to return to Farnborough and some nearby venues, but nearly had a change of mind to go to Sussex and Surrey. However, at the last minute I plumped for Plan A.




I had called in on Cove FC and set out on the road to Cherrywood Road as it was now known as, after a brief period of being Rushmoor Stadium. It was just as far as I remembered and I wasn't upset to reach my destination.

The car park had quite a few vehicles in, with an attendant in place, which looked a good business for the club. I looked along the side behind the Main Stand but couldn't find any open gates. I did take a couple of photos over a wall, but I wanted to get inside. I went inside the now refurbished clubhouse and asked the barman for permission. The bloke at the end of the bar piped up and said it was no problem. He was the groundsman and he turned out to be friendly and helpful. A little tip if anyone ever wants assistance is to tell the groundsman how good his pitch looks. It quickly gets you on his side!












The ground had changed massively since my previous visit. All the paintwork had been restored to the proper club colours and looked in tip top condition. The Main Stand had been extended in 2008 at the front to fit in with its earlier addition. Along the touchline was a new area of covered terracing. The Moor Road End had been re-terraced and had a roof at the rear. An electric scoreboard adorned the far end. The covered stand opposite was now all seated and finally the Prospect Road End had changed out of all recognition. A large seated stand stood there to hold 1,350 fans when completed. The groundsman told me that it was due to be finished before the start of the new season. I had heard a rumour that it was the old East Stand from Feethams in Darlington, but he corrected me. The club had put in a tender for that stand, but lost out. It would have gone down the whole of the Main Stand side.

He told me to walk round the ground and take my time. It was greatly appreciated and in common with so many wonderful proud people I meet on my travels. I did do a lap to get all the pictures I needed before I headed for the way out, or so I thought!




I managed to get lost inside the stand and no matter how many times I tried to locate the door to the clubhouse I couldn't find it. I ended up in the home dressing room at one point. I really was confused. In the end I opened one of the main exit gates and closed it behind me before popping my head into the clubhouse to say my thank yous.

I would have stayed for a beer, but I had plans to head to Woking for more adventures. I had around eighteen minutes to reach the station and it was a mile and a half away. Otherwise I'd have a thirty minute wait. Well I was determined to keep to a more rigorous diet and fitness plan, and here was a good test.

I caught my train after a mixture of brisk walking and jogging with a couple of minutes to spare. I was sure glad that I had a drink in my bag for the ride!

The photos of Cherrywood Road in the match write up, when the club played in red and white, have been taken from the internet.











1 comment:

  1. New Diet Taps into Innovative Plan to Help Dieters LOSE 15 Pounds within Just 21 Days!

    ReplyDelete