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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shrivenham





Shrivenham FC are a non league football club from the large village in Oxfordshire of the same name, a few miles north east of Swindon. The club were formed in 1900 and spent the first one hundred and one years  playing local league competition.


After winning the North Berks League for the second time in the 2000-01 season, they were promoted to the Hellenic League. In 2004-05 'Shrivy' were crowned champions of Division One West and were promoted to the Premier Division.

Shrivenham were relegated at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

Shrivenham FC will compete in the Hellenic League Division One West for the 2015-16 season.


My visit

Shrivenham 6 Kindlington 3 (Wednesday 15th August 2012) FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay (att: 75)


I was enjoying the second of my days off after night shift after visiting Devon the day before for the Exeter City v Crystal Palace League Cup tie. I had made my way to Swindon after visiting three non league grounds on route. After a failed attempt to get inside The County Ground and then a successful look at the home of Swindon Supermarine, I took the Gold Bus to the village of Shrivenham.


I was off to a good start as the driver was satisfied with my day pass for local bus routes. I alighted at Shrivenham Green and then took the five minute walk up Highworth Road, just behind the visiting players who were parking up opposite the grounds entrance. I paid my £5, which included a programme, to the welcoming man in the hatch at the end of the clubhouse and went inside.


Barrington Park was very neat and tidy and obviously a venue that had recently staged a decent standard of local football. The clubhouse stood back behind the goal, with a raised level in front of it with a couple of row of old bucket seats and some covered standing. The grass bank then slopes down to the hard standing path that runs around the pitch. To the left was a small modern seated stand and then open grass and large dug outs, including disused ones on the half way line, which would have made an ideal stand for under fives! The far end was bordered by trees and the final touchline had a perimeter fence behind the flat hard standing.


There was a large advert for the local Arkells beers, but sadly none were on sale in the clubhouse. I had to make do with a cold bottle of Wadsworths 6X, while I had a semi conversation with some older blokes who seemingly went to other games in the Swindon area. I purchased an excellent bacon roll and mug of tea for £3 from the food counter which divided the bar and changing rooms.


I took my place down the side opposite the benches as the teams came out and readied for kick off. I was looking forward to an entertaining game as the first match had ended in a 2-2 draw the previous Saturday.

I was very quickly entertained. Shrivenham were one up after about fifteen seconds after a weak shot had somehow got past the Kidlington keeper. It was so bad I was laughing. as was a bloke up the touchline. I heard he had a north eastern accent so I walked up for a chat. 


Pete turned out to be a fan of Horden, Sunderland and Durham CCC. He was also down for a couple of days break and had been to the Oxford United v AFC Bournemouth game the previous evening. We got chatting throughout the evening on a variety of subjects. It turned out he knew a fair bit about Scarborough and Northern League football and knew former Boro hero Harry 'A' Dunn. 


The near linesman who was also trying to suppress his amusement at the goal was joining in with us. On two minutes it was two nil as a home forward ran through and slotted home. "This is going to be a hammering", mused my new pal and looked hard to argue.

However, how little we knew! Kiddy got it back level as they didn't let their heads drop. Then the visiting keeper had another howler as he was knocked over in a challenge going for a challenge from a through ball and the Shrivy player tapped into an empty net as there were screams for a foul. We thought he should have followed the advice of one of his colleagues and cleared the lot up.


All night we agreed that the officials had good games despite the whining from the players. Both linesmen were decent blokes too, which always gains sympathy for any slight error in my book. The experienced ref showed admirable common sense when booking the Kiddy full back for a clumsy but not malicious tackle, when many of his younger colleagues could well of got all excited and shown a red card.

We retired to the clubhouse at half time to see that England had just equalised in their friendly with Italy and were showing signs of playing some excellent football.


I went on a lap of the ground to get my photos and as I was nearing completion Shrivy extended their lead with a cracking goal, although the keeper was again suspect. Kiddy never stopped trying, and at times they outplayed their more senior opponents. Once again they reduced the arrears and had a little spell where I thought of extra time. This would have been a problem for me as I had to catch the 9.40 bus to Swindon so that I could connect with my pre booked train to London.

I was not to worry, as Kiddy's porous defence leaked twice more in the closing stages. It had been an excellent game throughout although some of the moaning and foul language from the players was disappointing; especially when there was a full page advert in the programme expressing that the Hellenic League observed zero tolerance towards such behaviour. It begged the question as to how they acted before the stricter regime?


I said my goodbyes to Pete, who had been excellent company and a real bonus to the evening out, as I jogged down to the green to await my bus. The driver allowed my to only pay to the local bus boundary in lieu, which was once again most appreciated.

There was still time for me to sample a pint of Arkells, which was taken in the Great Western and turned out to be average on all counts. I wandered over to the station for my ride back to Paddington to end a fabulous couple of days away from the capital.


Shrivenham had been a lovely night out, but it was galling to think the match was in the same round of the FA Cup that my club Scarborough Athletic had been knocked out to Spennymoor Town. If only we'd have drawn teams of the abilities of those on show in Oxfordshire!











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