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.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Hallam FC, are a non league football club from Sheffield in South Yorkshire who are believed to be the second or third oldest football club in the world, with Cray Wanderers of Kent also laying claim to being second. What is not in dispute is that the clubs home ground at Sandygate is the oldest in existence, as verified by the Guinness Book of Records.
Hallam were formed in 1860 after interest grew at the cricket club at Sandygate over having their own football section to compete with Sheffield FC, who had been formed three years previously. The oldest local derby in the world was played between the two sides at Sandygate on Boxing Day 1860.
In 1867 the club won what is thought to be the first ever football competition, when they lifted the Youdan Cup. In 1878 the England international Billy Mosforth became a regular with both Hallam's football and cricket clubs. Hallam competed in the senior local leagues and entered the FA Amateur Cup for many years. 'The Countrymen' joined the Yorkshire League for the 1952-53 season with the club having to move an Amateur Cup tie that season against Dulwich Hamlet to Hillsborough, with the game attracting a crowd of over 13,000.
Throughout the 50's and 60's Hallam won the Sheffield Cup on several occasions before becoming founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982. ith only seven years of the grounds lease remaining and the new league requiring certain facilities, a new ninety nine year lease was signed to remain at Sandygate.
The clubs profile and history was highlighted during this period thanks to John Steele's hard work and research. Funds came in from interested enthusiasts to install floodlights, two new stands and changing rooms while the old facility was converted into a clubhouse. The Youdan Cup had somehow been lost by the club, but it was bought back in 1997 when it turned up in a Scottish antique dealers shop. The team had also done their job well as they found themselves in the league's Premier Division.
In 2010 the club celebrated their one hundred and fiftieth anniversary with former Premier League referee Uriah Rennie becoming club president. Unfortunately the team were relegated at the end of the celebratory season.
Hallam FC will compete in the Northern Counties East League Division One in the 2013-14 season.
Wednesday 10th October 2012
I awoke in The Harley, a budget hotel in the university area of Sheffield the night after attending a game at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster. I was tired, hungry and not in prisitine condition. The real ale was in fine nick and far too tempting for me to turn down.
I dragged my body up West Bank to the bus stop outside the Children's Hospital. Within minutes my carraige had arrived, I had paid for the excellent value Day Tripper and was sat onboard the top deck, wondering just how much higher the hills would reach. I anticipated Sandygate to be registered as being at high altitude.
The bus dropped me off right outside, but that is where I was to remain. That wasn't a huge problem as I had a sufficient view to see most of the ground. The pitch sloped severely with nothing down the right hand side, where it bordered the cricket ground. There was a neat seated stand on the half way line opposite along with the clubhouse and a small covered standing area at the entrance end. The rest of the ground consisted of open grass and concrete standing.
I entered the courtyard of the flats behind the stand where I was able to get a decent look of the cover behind the goal, before catching a bus back down the mountainous terrain to the city below. I was not upset to find a branch of Greggs to give me some massively needed sustainence to keep my going as I headed to the station to catch the train to my next destination; Oakwell the home of Barnsley FC.