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, October 13, 2012


Barnsley FC are a football club from the former industrial town in South Yorkshire of the same name, who were formed as Barnsley St. Peter's FC in 1887 by a clergyman by the name of Tiverton Preedy. Within a year of formation, the club had moved into their home ground at Oakwell, joining the Sheffield &District League a couple of years later.

In 1895 the club joined the Midland League and took their present name two years afterwards. In 1898 Barnsley were elected to the Football League. Despite struggling in the league, the 1909-10 season saw the team embark on a sensational FA Cup run, getting all the way to the final. Newcastle United equalised in the final minute of the game before winning the replay 2-0.

The 1911-12 season saw a repeat of the Cup run. Once again the game went to a replay, this time against West Bromwich Albion. At Bramall Lane Harry Tufnell scored a last minute winner to take the trophy back to Oakwell. Meanwhile the team continued along in Division Two. After World War One Division One was extended and it was expected that Barnsley would be awarded a place after a good finish before hostilities. However, owing to some underhand dealings their assumed place was awarded to Arsenal.

Before the outbreak of World War Two Barnsley were relegated twice but won their way back on both occasions. Post-war with stars such as George Robledo and Tommy Taylor in the side before he was transferred to Manchester United, the side went down in 1953, were promoted in  1955, but relegated once more in 1959. 

Worse was to follow as the club spent two spells in Division our before recovering and regaining their Third Division spot in 1979 with a young Mick McCarthy and Norman Hunter marshalling the defence and Allan Clarke managing the side. Several managers tried to push the club forward as a young David Hirst scored the goals while the stadium was virtually rebuilt. Danny Wilson put together a fine side to try and achieve promotion which was achieved in the 1996-97 season as the club reached the top flight for the first time, as players such as Neil Thompson, Paul Wilkinson and John Hendrie starred.

The team skippered by Neil Redfearn, with Bulgarian Georgi Hristov amongst several new signings, lasted just one season in the Premier League with Wilson leaving at the end of the season. Several players left as new boss Hendrie struggled despite the arrival of Craig Hignett. Dave Bassett came in to replace Hendrie for the 1999-00 season, using his experience to make some solid signings. 'The Tykes' went all the way to the Play Off Final and playing at Wembley for the first time, but they lost a thriller 4-2.

Bassett departed to be replaced by Nigel Spackman in December 2000, but he couldn't work the oracle and was replaced by Steve Parkin a year later. The 2001-02 season ended with Barnsley relegated to the League's third tier. In October the club were placed into administration by the then owner John Dennis. Much wrangling took place over the ownership afterwards with the League showing their disapproval. Former Leeds chairman Peter Risdale, who carried a questionable record, took over for a short while before departing. Glynn Hodges and then Gudjun Thordarson both had spells as manager before Paul Hart took over for a short while until Andy Ritchie was appointed.

Ritchie took the side to the 2006 Play Off Final at the Millennium Stadium where Swansea City were defeated on penalties for Barnsley to secure promotion to The Championship. However, the boss didn't last more than a few months into the new season before he was replaced by Simon Davey. Several new signings including Brian Howard arrived for the 2007-08 season, which saw another memorable FA Cup run go all the way to the Wembley semi final after dumping out Liverpool and Chelsea along the way. Cardiff City ended any dreams of a final appearance. 

The team narrowly avoided relegation at the end of the season and Davey paid the penalty soon into the new campaign when he was replaced by Mark Robins. After a difficult 2010-11 season Robins handed in his notice, with Rochdale boss Keith Hill replacing him. Barnsley proudly finished the 2011-12 season as only one of two Championship clubs to turn in a profit.

Hill was sacked before Christmas 2012 with the team looking likely to be relegated. David Flitcroft came in and steered the side to safety on the final day of the season.

Barnsley FC will play in The Championship in the 2013-14 season.

My visits

Barnsley 1 Hull City 4 (Wednesday 1st January 1986) Division Two (att: 8,363)

I travelled to this afternoon New Year's game with my mates on the City supporters coach, which set off from Scarborough. We got there about an hour before kick off and although some Tigers fans went off looking for a pub, it looked to have been a dodgy experience. Instead we went straight inside.

We were on a large open terrace with a small disabled stand in the corner to our right. The facilities for us were spartan to say the least. To our right was the Brewery Stand, a full length cover over the rear two thirds of terracing. he terracing continued at the far Pontefract Road End, which had a cover over it. Terracing also ran down the fourth side, with the covered seated West Stand at its rear. It really was an old fashioned ground with no airs or graces but a decent capacity.

The score was 1-1 at half time thanks to a Mike Ring goal, but City destroyed The Tykes in the second half with three goals going in the goal in front of us from Bobby Doyle, Stan McEwan and Richard Jobson; which made it even more pleasurable. 

The coach journey home was joyous and I celebrated by going to The Nelson for beers and pool.

Barnsley 3 Scarborough 4 (Tuesday 16th August 1988) Yorkshire & Humberside Cup (att: 1,788)

This prestigious fixture took place as part of a pre season tournament in Scarborough's second Football League campaign. Hopes were high that Neil Warnock's new signings were going to lead to a successful season. We had been to Huddersfield at the weekend, where a fine display saw off the home team. Sadly their fans saw it fit to smash the windows of the newly acquired Gas Club mini bus before we could get away, so we had plenty to discuss on the way.

Boro were torn apart for long periods of the game by the sublime David Currie. He left the stage to a rapturous ovation from all in the ground with Barnsley leading 3-1. That was all the invitation Boro needed. Goals from Mitch Cook, Neil Thompson and a winner from Steve Norris to add to Tommy Graham's first half effort sent the hundred or so Seadogs home very happy.

Good old George Johnson in charge of the bus made sure we had a stop on the outskirts of York on the way home, no doubt on the insistence of his lad Dave! 

Wednesday 10th October 2012

After staying in Sheffield the previous evening and witnessing a dire Football League Trophy game between Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield, I was on a mission to visit some old and new grounds before heading to the Barton Town Old Boys v Scarborough Athletic clash that evening. I caught the train to Barnsley, slowly coming round after the libation of the night before.

I'd never been on the train to Barnsley before, but my planning meant I was soon going up and over the hill that was Queens Road to see Oakwell in the dip below. I was delighted to see a gate open near to the changing rooms, so I wandered in. A member of staff was on the forecourt and welcomed me to take my photos, on the world wide proviso that I kept off the pitch.

Oakwell had changed beyond all recognition since my previous visit. Above me in the corner was a disabled and sponsors box. Behind the nearest goal was the North Stand, a large single tier of seats where the old open terrace once stood, with the players tunnel near the corner flag. To the right the East Stand remained the same, but the paddock was now all seated. The far Pontefract Road End was also a single tiered seated stand. Alongside was the Corner Stand, a three level structure containing corporate boxes. This led to the two tiered seated East Stand with more boxes separating the levels.

I snapped away and then took in the view in the terraced Grove Street before heading up Belgrave Road, back over the brow of the hill and onto a train to Meadowhall to change for a service to my next club Mexborough Town.

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