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 their maintenance.

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 fortunate 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 heightens 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 try today. They'll be delighted 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. Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby as he grows into a young man!

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


November 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Northampton Spencer

Northampton Spencer FC are a non league football club from the East Midlands town of Northampton. The club were originally known as Spencer School Old Boys by former members of the school team in 1936. The club played for several decades in local competition.

In 1968 Spencer joined the United Counties League, playing their home games at Dallington Park. After a couple of years they moved to Duston High School, before moving to a home of their own at Kingsthorpe Mill.

The club reached the Premier Division in 1972, but were relegated in 1980. Spencer regained their higher status five years later and going on to be crowned champions in the 1991-92 season. They finished runners up the following season and once again in 1998.

Spencer finished in seventeenth place at the end of the 2011-12 season, but took voluntary relegation. The team and club regrouped before being promoted in 2014-15 under manager Ben Stone.

Northampton Spencer FC will compete in the United Counties League Premier Division in the 2015-16 season.

My visits

Friday 3rd August 2012

I was in Northampton for the day to hopefully enjoy a day of county cricket at Wantage Road and to cheer on Yorkshire. I had visited Sixfields, the home of Northampton Town in the morning before heading to their former home for the cricket. Unfortunately the heavens opened just before lunch, so I was forced to take sanctuary in The Abington.

It was obvious that the weather wasn't going to relent in a hurry so I headed into town for lunch at The Eastgate. The sun had come back out, but through the beauty of Twitter I found out that there would be an inspection at 4.30pm back at The County Ground. There was only one thing to do!

I set off using my map app on my IPhone to head towards Kingsthorpe Mill. It was a lot further than I had anticipated, but I was more than happy to walk my food off. Eventually after a trek down Kingsthorpe Road and then cut through a hosing and light industrial estate to find Studland Road.

A lane led down from the road and round the corner past a practice pitch. The main gate was open as someone from the club was loading his car, probably for a game the following day. He was more than happy for me to go inside the ground and take some photos.

The venue was neat and tidy with a hard standing path all the way around. The far side of the pitch had the dug outs and banking behind with the main railway a bit further behind. The spectator facilities were all down the entrance side. A modern seated stand stood on the half way line, with the main clubhouse and changing room buildings further up filling the rest of the touchline. A overhang provided cover for those wishing to stand to watch the game.

I left and thanked my host, before catching a bus back to the utterly dismal Greyfriars Bus Station. I like a walk, but I wasn't doing that one again!

Northampton Spencer 0 AFC Rushden and Diamonds 0 (Tuesday 14th July 2015) Pre Season Friendly (att: 120)

After finishing my night shifts I was looking for a season opener as well as meeting up with fellow Scarborough supporter Ian Anderson who I had some old programmes for. I killed two birds with one stone by meeting a friend for lunch near to Euston before taking the train to Milton Keynes Central where Ian collected me from his workplace.

Following a pleasant drive through the Northamptonshire countryside and a quick stop at my pals flat very close to Wantage Road cricket ground, we headed to the nearby fine Olde England pub for a quick snifter before going on to Studland Road, where we managed to park up.

Admission was £4. A kind fella on the gate followed us into the clubhouse and gave us the 4 page programme covering three home friendly games for nothing. We settled and had a couple of beers from the average selection on offer. We bought raffle tickets on the way into the ground.

The venue hadn’t changed since my visit for photos a few years previously. The pitch seemed to suffer from moles in places and the surrounds had plenty of rabbit droppings. The crowd mainly stood down the covered sides. We were a bit surprised that Diamonds didn’t have a greater support along with them for this derby game.

The game was of high pace, but there was a shortage of finesse on the rain soaked playing surface. Chances were most certainly at a premium. Spencer matched their higher status rivals.

We returned to the bar at the interval where good news awaited me. I’d won the half time raffle. Predictably enough I opted for the four cans of Tetley Bitter above a box of After Eight Mints!

The second half followed a similar pattern. Neither goalkeeper had a lot to do. The game became tetchy at times as players looked to impress their respective managers. Some of the challenges going in were not of a friendly nature. If ever a game was destined to end goalless, it was this one. And so it proved.

Ian got a good start away from the packed car park as I held my bounty! I was dropped at the newly refurbished Northampton station in good time for my train back to the capital.

Spencer had proved welcoming hosts, and I’d had a good day, but the match didn’t last very long in the memory.

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