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.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The current Wellingborough Town FC were reformed in 2004, following the demise of the original club of the same name, who were formed in 1867, making them the first club to be formed in Northamptonshire.
Originally starting out playing partly as a rugby club, they became dedicated to football a couple of years later playing matches at Broad Green. Ten years later they were believed to be the first club to play a game under floodlights, when they entertained Bedford at Bassett's Close.
In 1894 'The Doughboys' or 'The Cornies' as the club have been nicknamed after the industries in the town, became founder members of the Leicestershire & Northants League, before moving into the Midland League the following season. In 1901 Town progressed into the Southern League moving into a new ground at the Dog & Duck on London Road at the same time.
In 1905 as Wellingborough Redwell, they resigned from the Southern League, before reverting to their original name in 1919. Wellingborough joined the United Counties League in 1936, where they would remain for thirty two years before joining the Metropolitan League. They won that league in the 1969-70 season, moving into the West Midlands Regional League. Town made another move in 1971 to the Southern League.
The club struggled for several seasons and in 1989 they were relegated back to the United Counties League. In 2002 the club succumbed to the continual struggle and folded.
After a break of over two years without a club, three friends got together and assembled a group of twenty four people to re-establish Wellingborough own. Amongst them was Peter Ebdon, a resident of the town. he Dog & Duck had more or less survived, despite part of the land becoming a Travelodge motel.
The club spent their comeback season in the Northamptonshire Senior Youth League before securing a place in the United Counties League. The Doughboys won Division One in 2005-06 and were promoted to the Premier Division. In November 2008 a former player and chairman Martin Potton returned and help save the club, who were not getting the backing of local sponsorship.
The club stabilised itself over the following couple of years on and off the pitch, with a deal being signed with the newly formed AFC Rushden & Diamonds for them to be tenants at the Dog & Duck from the start of the 2012-13 season, thus aiding the finances.
Wellingborough Town FC will play in the United Counties League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 Luton Town 3 (Friday 3rd August 2012) Pre Season Friendly (att: 346)
I had enjoyed a fine day in Northampton on my day day off work where 'd seen a rain interrupted day in the County Championship between Northants and Yorkshire as well as visiting the grounds of Northampton Town, Northampton Saints and Northampton Spencer.
The bus took me from near The County Ground to Wellingborough town centre. The size of the market town somewhat surprised me, with it having a vibrant centre and plenty of pubs. However, I wanted to offer my money over the bar at the football club and to guarantee a programme.
The walk took me a good fifteen minutes, and I was slightly concerned at one point that I had gone the wrong way. I carried on past the impressive Wellingborough School with its historical buildings and manicured playing fields before finding the Dog & Duck. Stewards were by the gate advising supporters and motorists and offering a warm welcome. The match programme was £2, but covered all four home friendlies.
My friend Ian Anderson had advised me that the clubhouse wasn't up to much, but I went with the hunch that with Diamonds sharing, then improvements must have been made. I was pleased to be correct, and although there was no real ale the cheerful barman poured me a reasonable enough pint of Eagle smoothflow.
I had a nice chat with some Diamonds fans as we watched Team GB continue their excellent run. I couldn't believed a signed framed shirt on the wall was of York City. What a welcome for a Scarborough fan!
The game was decent enough as I walked around the Dog & Duck taking in the surroundings. The Clubhouse End also had food stands and a raised patio and the changing rooms with the players emerging from the corner. The rest of the end was flat open standing with the car park behind. he London Road Side was a narrow piece of flat standing with the dug outs near the half way line. The far end was open grass. The final side, which had a home of Wellingborough Whitworth FC just behind it had the Peter Ebdon Stand, which was a raised seating deck with the back couple of rows taken out for standing spectators. Either side of it was flat open standing.
I later read that improvements were planned, with a portable covered terrace being payed for by the tenants.
The walk back to the station took about twenty minutes and I was back home for just gone midnight. I had a good evening out at a decent old school venue to top off a pleasant day away from the capital.
To read more about the game and see additional photos, go to the AFC Rushden & Diamonds page at: