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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Southwick



Southwick FC have a long and interesting history as a non league football club based in Southwick, which is a western suburb of the city of Brighton & Hove. The club were formed in 1882 and became founder members of the Sussex County League in 1920.

In their first twenty eight years as members 'The Wickers' were crowned as league champions on four occasions as well as finishing as runners up four times. In 1952 the club decided to try their luck in the Metropolitan League, but they returned to the Sussex County League after just three seasons.


Southwick suffered a relegation but soon bounced back, before they lifted a fifth league title in 1969. The 1974-75 season saw a further championship as well the clubs only appearance at the first round stage of the FA Cup, where they were defeated 5-0 at Dean Court to AFC Bournemouth.

After finishing league runners up for the ninth time, the Wickers joined the Combined Counties League for the 1984-85 season. Money was thrown at the playing budget as the team won promotion at the first attempt to the Isthmian League after finishing as runners up.


In 1986 they went up as champions, and they spent a further couple of seasons at Division One level until the cash ran out with the Old Barn Way ground struggling to meet the grading requirements. The club nearly went bust, but the efforts of George Bailey and Mick Fogden behind the scenes saved the day.

After a relegation in 1991, The Wickers rejoined the Sussex County League for the 1992-93 season as a new Chairman took over and promised great things. Within a decade the club had been promoted and relegated twice, finding themselves in the leagues' second tier. Another demotion came at the culmination of the 2012-13 season.


In 2014-15 Southwick won promotion to the Southern Combination Division One, as the Sussex County League had been renamed.

Southwick FC will play in the Southern Combination Football League Division One in the 2015-16 season.


My visit

Friday 30th November 2008

I arrived in Brighton after a rather hazy and long coach journey from London, no doubt assisted by the slight hangover I was wearing following a night out in the capital with my brother Nick. The journey was spent listening to Talksport's Mike 'Porky' Parry proclaiming that the FA had made a brilliant decision in pinpointing Fabio Capello as the man to take the national team forward. I must have been in a bit of a mess, as I believed what I was hearing.

After a walk to Brighton railway station, I caught the train to Fishergate station. A short walk later had me entering the car park to Southwick's Old Barn Way home. The club were to be the first of six I was to visit throughout the day along the West Sussex coast.


I entered the open clubhouse outside the grounds entrance and was given permission to go inside and take some photos.

Old Barn Way was a basic venue and it wasn't hard to figure out how the club struggled to invest in it for them to progress during the boom years. It was basically hemmed in with flat open standing all the way round, apart from a few steps of terracing by the turnstiles and a small cover next to the clubhouse, where the players would enter the pitch from. A stand formerly stood on the far side.


I left and cut along the side of the railway to catch a train from Southwick station to Shoreham, where I would find great difficulties in even finding the grounds entrance!









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