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


September 2015

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wootton Blue Cross

Wootton Blue Cross FC hail from the large village of Wootton, which is located a few miles outside Bedford. The club were formed in 1887, with the name reputedly coming with the new manager who had been formerly with the disbanded Hitchin Blue Cross FC.

Blue Cross started out life competing in the Bedford & District League before they joined the South Midlands League at the end of World War Two. The were crowned champions in 1948 and remained in the league until 1955 when they joined the United Counties League.

  Wootton won the league in 1968 and 1970 and then joined the new Premier Division a couple of seasons later. They finished runners up in 1981, but remained there without lifting the title. However, a difficult 2007-08 season when four different managers had a go in the hot seat led to relegation.

Former Premier League player and local lad Calum Davenport joined the club during the 2009-10 season in an attempt to get himself fit for a return to professional football. He stayed at the club the following season and took on a coaching role with the club.

Blue Cross resigned from the United Counties League Division One at the end of the 2012-13 season after finishing twelth, taking up a place in the Bedfordshire County Football League.

Wootton Blue Cross FC will compete in the Bedfordshire County Football League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.

  My visit

Wednesday 1st August 2012

I had headed north after completing my early shift at work to meet up with fellow Scarborough Athletic fan Ian Anderson, who lived in Northampton. He had kindly suggested to drive me to that evenings pre season friendly between Bedford Town and Cambridge United, and also to a couple of nearby non league grounds before hand.

We had been to AFC Kempston Rovers and then arrived at the pretty village of Wootton. Weston Park was located down a small lane just off Bedford Road, the main thoroughfare of the village.

Ian parked up while I attracted the attention of a couple of blokes going about their work at the far side of the ground. I explained what I was doing and they welcomed me inside. One of them saw my Boro shirt and commented that he had a relation living in Ruston, just a few miles outside Scarborough. We had a little chat before I went inside and took my photos.

The ground was basic, but in a pleasant way. There wasn't a lot of room between the pitch and the boundary fence. A small path circled the playing area, with large brick dugouts located on the far side. The main spectator facilities were located under one roof at the front of the clubhouse and changing rooms, with seating and an area for those wishing to stand being catered for.

  I thanked the gents and got back into the car, where Ian was busy perusing the programmes I'd taken for him. We left and after a pleasant drive seeing a couple of tidy Bedford & District League grounds, we found a nice country inn to contemplate another excellent day for Team GB at the Olympics.

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