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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cheshunt




Cheshunt FC are a non league football club from the commuter town of the same name in Hertfordshire, thirteen miles from central London. The current Cheshunt FC are the second incarnation of the club, with the first being formed around 1880.

That club competed in local league football and reached the semi final of the FA Amateur Cup in 1904. They went on to join the Athenian League in 1919, while playing at Cheshunt Cricket Club's Recreation Ground on Albury Ride. The team fared badly after their first few seasons in the league and after four consecutive bottom finishes they disbanded in 1931, with the club heavily in debt and the cricket club increasing the rent.













In 1946 a new club was formed after a public meeting at the Co-Op Hall in Waltham Cross, using local junior team Crossbrook Sports as their basis. The club were accepted into the London League, playing games at the Gothic Sports Ground before moving to College Road after their first season.

The club began to develop a former gravel pit, turned rubbish dump on Theobalds Grove. The ground was opened on 29th October 1949 with two Nissen huts as changing rooms. The game produced an 11-1 against Hastings United. Between 1951 and 1955 'The Ambers' played in the Delphian League, before rejoining the London League. Cheshunt abandoned the ground in the first season because of drainage problems to move to a new ground at Brookfield Lane before returning for the 1952-53 season. They left once again for Brookfield Lane, where Tottenham Hotspur now trained a season later but returned to Cheshunt Stadium for the 1957-58 season after being asked to leave by Spurs. A lease was signed and the ground levelled with a running track laid around it.

 In 1959 Cheshunt became founder members of the Aetolian League. In 1962 the club transferred to the Spartan League, where they were crowned champions at the first attempt before joining the Athenian League a couple of seasons after.

After winning the tilte on a couple of occassions and having a spell playing in yellow and blue before reverting to amber and black, Cheshunt progressed to the Isthmian League in 1977. Unfortunately nine years later a walkout of the committee, players and management the team were relegated back to the Spartan League.

A third place finish at the end of the 1992-93 season was enough to secure promotion back into the Isthmian League. By 2004 after three promotions the club found themselves in the Premier Division after the playing budget was boosted from new investment. At the end of their first season at that level they finished in a relegation place, but they were reprieved as Hornchurch FC went bust.













However, the club were placed in the Southern League Premier Division. The money began to run out within a few years as many managers came and went until the team were relegated at the end of the 2007-08 season and placed in the Isthmian League Division One North. The team were involved in a low place finish in 2011-12, but survived comfortably in the end.

Cheshunt FC will play in the Isthmian League Division One North in the 2013-14 season.


My visits

Saturday 28th January 1987

I headed to north London on a frosty morning to go and watch Scarborough take on Enfield in an important Football Conference clash. I was in the company of Howard Nurse, Paul Frain and AN Other with Howard driving. After parking near the ground on Southbury Road, I headed off on my own to visit the grounds of Cheshunt and Haringey Borough as well as snaffling a programme from that afternoons Tottenham Hotspur v Scunthorpe United FA Cup third round encounter.













I took the train from Southbury to Theobalds Grove and walked along the lane to visit the stadium. It was open so I could have a proper look around. The ground was pretty basic with a covered seating stand on one side and a small cantilevered cover opposite. They both stood well back from the pitch as there was the remains of a running track around the pitch. The rest of the ground was open and mainly flat grass with a little hard standing.

I headed back but not the easy way. I figured that because I was in London there would be stations around every corner. I didn't appreciate the size of the place. I headed the other way from the station and ended up on the main A10 Great Cambridge Road before walking for what seemed like miles over the M25 and beyond before ending up at Turkey Street station.

I went on to complete my intended tasks and saw Boro win the vital game 1-0 much to the dismay of Barry Fry and his Barnet team whose game had been postponed and had come to cheer on Enfield. Happy days!














Friday 11th January 2008

I had been home for a few days at Christmas and my team Scarborough Athletic had run a draw. Two of the prize winners lived in North East London, so I helped out on saving cash for the club by volunteering to hand deliver the prizes. This also gave me an opportunity to take in a couple of grounds and take photos.

I alighted at Theobalds Grove and walked to the ground, only to find it locked. However, I wasn't to be beaten and I found a way in behind the goal through the overgrowth. The ground had been smartened up from my previous visit, with a new fence around the pitch allowing fans to get closer to the pitch, particularly behind the goals. The Main Stand was tidier with an additional Kurtis Townsend Stand alongside it for standing fans, which was named in honour of a young player at the club who had been killed in a car crash. Seats were installed in the stand on the opposite side of the pitch.

I left the ground and went on a long walk of around three miles to take a look at the home of Waltham Abbey FC before dropping the prizes off in Enfield.














Cheshunt 1 Enfield Town 1 (Sunday 22nd July 2012) Pre Season Friendly





I had the day off work so I headed to Cheshunt Stadium in the company of good friends from my days of youth watching football in Scarborough and around the country; Dave Cammish, Gary Griffiths and Rydell Gray. Dave bought his son Ashley along for the reunion. I travelled by tube, overground and National Rail to Theobalds Grove.











After a lunch with Gary and Ryd at the fine Moon and Cross Wetherspoons pub,Gary drove up past Theobalds Grove station where we collected Dave and Ashley before we got parked near to the gates on a glorious afternoon. The admission price was a very acceptable £5, with just a quid for kids. He programme cost £2, which I considered at least 50p too much. We adjourned to the bar that was located to the rear of the stand, where the changing rooms once were. It was very modern and only the lack of any real ale on tap or in bottles stopped it scoring maximum marks.











The ground had changed a little since my previous call with the perimeter fences being moved in close behind the goals owing to an FA ground grading regulation. Some of the stands and pitchside fencing stood quite a long way back because there was formerly a running track around the playing area. Cheshunt had done a decent job with what they had to play with.

Cheshunt had something of a decent run towards the back end of the previous season. There seemed to be a positive feel around the place, with one poster asking for volunteers to help get involved as the club aimed for Conference football. This set the alarm bells off in my head. I commented that I hoped that this would not jeopardise their finances. Their opponents were riding on the crest of a wave after winning promotion through the play offs and had moved into their own home ground. 

The match had some moments of real quality. Enfield played some good stuff after the home keeper pulled off a brilliant early save from a fierce drive from outside the box. The visitors were keen to get around the back from wide and put dangerous crosses in. There was a light hearted moment when the referee, who looked like he’d taken advantage of an all-inclusive summer break, stopped play after an injury and instructed the Town keeper to give the ball back to Cheshunt. His clearance had the home keeper back pedalling and bounced over his bar. Enfield took the lead about ten minutes from the break with a goal of real quality as …..volleyed a pass past the wrong footed home custodian.











After quick check up on England’s ailing bowling attack and the Open leader’s board at the interval, we went back outside into the soaring temperatures to see Cheshunt get back into the game without really threatening the Enfield goal. There were a few subsitutions, but they were sensibly made during the interval so that the rhythm of the game didn’t suffer. With around ten minutes to go the home side were rewarded when ….slotted home a neat finish from around twenty yards after lots of neat passing play.

The draw was the right result in our neutral eyes. It had been a decent enough game in decent surroundings. We agreed that it was probably best to visit that particular venue of a pleasant day, rather than be exposed to its openness on a winter’s night. 

Although it’s never easy to make predictions on the basis of early pre-season games, I tipped Cheshunt for a play-off place, with a mid-table finish for Enfield in their newly elevated status.











We headed back to the pub for a good chat and drinks before us train travellers said our goodbyes and returned to the station. The Sawbridgeworth father and son combo were met by signs telling them that because of a signal failure there were no northbound trains. They decided to head to Seven Sisters with me for better options. I was to find troubles too as someone decided a walk along the tracks at Camden seemed a good idea.

Warm weather and beer! Thank goodness we spent our time a little more constructively, well at least for that lovely Sunday!








1 comment:

  1. +$3,624 profit last week...

    Get 5 Star verified winning picks on NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL + Anti-Vegas Smart Money Signals...

    ReplyDelete