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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Worksop Town

Worksop Town FC, from the Nottinghamshire town located fifteen miles south east of Sheffield, lay claims to have been formed in 1861, making them the worlds fourth oldest football club behind Sheffield, Cray Wanderers and Hallam.

Town began life at a ground in Netherton Road before moving to Central Avenue in 1891, where they shared with Worksop Cricket Club. The following year the club became founder members of the Sheffield League before entering the Midland League in 1896. 'The Tigers' left for a three year period before rejoining again in 1900.

The clubs former Central Way home

In the 1907-08 season Worksop lost 9-1 away to Chelsea in the FA Cup in front of an incredible crowd of 70,184. In the 1920-21 season they performed a major shock by drawing 0-0 in the Cup away against the might of Tottenham Hotspur. The club controversially agreed to play the replay at White Hart Lane, which ended in a 9-0 defeat and the boycotting of home games from disgruntled supporters.

That setback didn't prevent Town from lifting the Midland League title the following season, but in 1930 they once again left the league. In 1935 the club became members of the Yorkshire League, but chose to rejoin the Midland League once again in 1949; going on to lift the title for a second time in 1966. In 1968 Worksop became founder members of the Northern Premier League, but after the inaugural season they decided once again to return to their former league.

A third Midland League crown was collected in 1973. By the 1974-75 season Town once again  moved across to the Northern Premier League, but suffered a relegation to its newly formed Division One in 1989. At the same time the club lost its home ground and had to share with Gainsborough Trinity, twenty miles away, for three seasons. The club returned to a new ground on Sandy Lane, and in 1998 they were promoted to the Premier Division. The team were boosted by the inclusion of former England international Chris Waddle for three seasons.

In 2001 property developer Howard Raymond, the son of London night club owner and publisher Paul Raymond, bought the club. He unveiled plans to upgrade Sandy Lane into a Football League standard stadium. In 2004 the club were founder members of Conference North, but large debts appeared including owing £60,000 to the local council in 2005.

Raymond formed a new company called 1861 Leisure Ltd to take over the club and its assets, resulting in the league deducting them ten points. Relegation followed at the end of the 2006-07 season and a return to the Northern Premier League. Raymond seperated the football club from the holding company, making them tenants at Sandy Lane. In April 2008, without any reason, the club officials were locked out of the ground.

Town had to groundshare at Hucknall Town for the 2008-09 season and then at Ilkeston Town for the following campaign. In the summer of 2010 Jason Clark the Managing Director of B2Net took over the club and entered preliminary talks with Raymond over a return to Sandy Lane. However, a deal was signed to play at Canon Park the home of Retford United, was signed for two seasons. 

However, after Peter Whitehead of Parramore Sports bought the ground from Raymond and moved in his own club and renamed them Worksop Parramore, Town were invited back as tenants for the 2011-12 season. In the meantime Clark was working with Bassetlaw Council to provide a new home stadium for the club.

Worksop Town FC will play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division in the 2013-14 season.

My visits

Worksop Town 0 Scarborough 0 (Saturday 12th August 2006) Conference North (att: 610)

The old Scarborough club started what was to be their last season with a ten point deduction owing to financial irregularities as well as relegation. I travelled up on the train to Nottingham, and then on the Robin Hood Line to Worksop.

On arrival I met with Carl Ellis and a Sheffield United supporting mate, before heading to the uninspiring Grafton Hotel for a couple of pints before heading to the ground. There was a good following of over two hundred Seadogs hoping that fortunes would improve on and off the pitch. Carl spotted the owners who had offered hope. He wasn't convinced!

Sandy Lane was a tidy enough venue. The turnstile end had a tiny cover behind the goal as well as a two storey clubhouse. The Main Stand with changing rooms at the rear stood down one side, with open standing opposite. The far goal had a seated stand behind the central section. The rest of the ground consisted of open standing.

The game was played in hot conditions, with not too much happening. Off the pitch it was different. It was apparent that a group of local youths were looking for bother. Unfortunately a few young Seadogs decided to get involved in what was nothing more than handbags, but it soured the atmosphere. We had plenty of problenms of our own to deal with without other distractions.

The locals were thrown out and then proceeded to walk round the back of the open terrace where many Boro fans were stood and throw stones over. A few minutes from the end ony Hackworth missed a guilt edged chance to win the game.

There was no problems getting back to the station where we had a beer in he Mallard, but were told off for using our mobile phones! I made the long and weary journey home with the idea of heading midweek to Stalybridge a couple of games later. Football makes you do the strangest things.

Worksop Parramore 4 Scarborough Athletic 4 (Saturday 8th September 2012) NCEL Premier Division (att: 157)

Go to the Worksop Parramore page for a description of the upgraded Sandy Lane and an account of an absolutely cracking game.

No comments:

Post a Comment