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 6, 2012

Swindon Supermarine

Swindon Supermarine FC are a non league football club who were formed in 1992 following the merger of local sides Supermarine FC and Swindon Athletic FC, who were both struggling financially. The club are based in South Marston on the north eastern outskirts of the Wiltshire town.

Athletic had been previously called Penhill FC until 1989 after being formed in 1968, playing their football in the Hellenic League. Supermarine, who were formed as Vickers Armstrong and then just Vickers were formed in 1946, also played their football at that level from 1982 as part of the sporting section of the Vickers Armstrong engineering company, which also played cricket, rugby, archery and bowls.

The new club were placed in the Hellenic League Premier Division. They went on to be crowned the 1997-98 champions, but were denied promotion because of grading issues at Supermarine Road. These were resolved in time for the club to win the title once more in 2000-01 when they were then accepted into the Southern League.

Initially 'The Marine' struggled in their new status, but then reached the end of season play offs in 2005-06. They reached the same stage the season after and this time they were successful as Burnham and then Taunton Town were defeated to result in promotion to the Premier Division.

Financial problems reared their head in the summer of 2010 with a shortfall of £50,000 being revealed. A fans consortium was put together and through various incentives they solved the problem, which included the selling of the stadium naming rights to local company H J Webb & Son with the ground being known as the Webb's Wood Stadium from August 2010.

Cuts in the playing budget led to resignations from the team management and eventual relegation at the end of the 2011-12 season. The former Highworth Town manager Dave Webb was appointed as team boss to try and negotiate a return to the top division. Webb took the side to the play offs at the first attempt before bowing out to Merthyr Town.

Swindon Supermarine FC will play in the Southern League Division One South & West in the 2016-17 season.

My visit

Wednesday 15th August 2012

I had arrived in Swindon as I was returning from a jaunt to Devon the day before and a day of visiting new sports grounds. My plan was to go to that evenings FA Cup replay between Shrivenham and Kidlington and instead of relaxing in the pub before catching the bus I decided to take the chance to visit Supermarine as I didn't know when I'd get another.

I'd attempted to get inside Swindon Town's County Ground without any success, but had higher hopes of my next venture. The number seven bus dropped me at the end of Supermarine Road, near to Honda's UK factory on a large business park with the use of an excellent vale day rider ticket. A few minutes later I was outside the ground where fortunately enough there was someone from the club going inside. He kindly let me follow him.

The Webb's Wood Stadium was a very tidy venue and obviously had plenty of improvements to it in recent times.

I thanked my host and walked back round for the bus back to Swindon bus station in readiness for my ride to the evenings entertainment.

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