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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Altona 93 (Germany)

Altona 93, or Altonaer Fußball-Club von 1893 e. V. to give them their full name, are one of Germany's oldest football clubs. Based in the Altona district in Hamburg in the north of the country, the club were originally known as Altonaer Cricketclub as the sport was quite popular at the time.

They were renamed Altonaer Fussball und Cricket Club and then Altonaer Fussball Club in quick succession as members of the Altona-Hamburg Football League and then as hosts of the first ever German National Championship Final, when VfB Leipzip played DFC Prague, with AFC player Franz Behr refereeing at Exerzierweide.

In 1903 and 1909 Altona reached the national semi finals, as well as moving into their new AFC-Kampfbahn home stadium. In 1919, the club merged with Altonaer TS 1880 to become known as VfL Altona. This lasted for just three years before the club took on the title of Altonaer FC 1893 VfL. Yet another merger occured in 1933, when a partnership with  Borussia 03 Bahrenfeld created Altonaer FC 93 Borussia.

Under the Third Reich, German football was divided into sixteen top divisions, with Altona being placed in Gauliga Nordmark and then Gauliga Hamburg. In 1944 the Kampfbahn was renamed the Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn in honour of a German amateur international who was killed in an air-raid.

Once peace was restored Altona commenced playing in Stadtliga Hamburg, before earning promotion to the top tier Oberliga Nord. In 1955 the team reached the German Cup (DFB Pokal) semi finals. Upon the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963, the club was placed in the second tier Regionaliga Nord. From 1969 to 1981 the club slipped down the leagues to find themselves at third and fourth tier levels. Worse was to follow as they were relegated to Landesliga Hamburg-Hammonia.

In 1979 the title of Altona FC was restored as the team flirted between the third and fifth levels of the German league structure including spells in Regionaliga and Oberliga football. After the introduction of 3.Bundesliga and further restructuring of the lower leagues, AFC were placed in Oberliga Hamburg once more.

Altona 93 will compete in the Oberliga Hamburg for the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Monday 29th October 2012

It was officially the second day of winter, and the weather was certainly not disappointing, as a cold wind blew through the city of Hamburg on my fourth and final day of football and socialising in Germany.

I had woken in decent shape and wanted to discover stadiums. I'd already been to the home of Victoria Hamburg and wanted to fit Altona in before heading up to Stellingen for the midday tour around the Imtech Arena and to learn all about the city's prominent club; HSV. However, there was something that made me very eager to visit the Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn. It was partly the picture I'd seen of the stand and partly the red, black and white hooped shirts worn by the team. They were a club steeped in history.

Not even the setback of waiting for a train to Bahrenfeld, which would have meant hanging around until the evening rush hour, put me off. Instead I decided it was time for a brisk hike. I eventually worked out the general direction in which I needed to go and set off through the streets with great gusto.

After more confusion, which led to me stumbling across the home of FC Teutonia 05, I was soon on the main Behringstrasse. I took advantage of spotting that several buses ran along there back to Altona station, which cheered me up no end. It had been further than I'd anticipated. I found the stadium a hundred metres or so along Griegstrasse. The impressive clubhouse immediately impressed as did an open gate next to it. I entered and aroused interest from the groundsman clearing up from the previous days game.

My German and his English was very basic, but a smile and me showing that I was keen to take photos did the trick. I'm very pleased it did, as an excellent old fashioned venue spread out in front of me. The Main Stand was just as good as in the picture I'd seen, with open terracing flanking it. The far end was once open terracing, but was gradually becoming overgrown. The far side was open terracing with the near end grass banking. The arena looked like it once had a running track around it, albeit not one that detatched fans too far back from the action. It was interesting to see American Football goalposts stood behind the goals. A real example of getting the most from a ground.

I headed away and thanked my friend and his colleague. Fortunately for me a bus was soon at my stop and I enjoyed a leisurely ride back before the ride to a grander, but less intimate venue.

I had grown a soft spot for Altona and the Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn as I had earlier at Victoria. I was already hoping for a return, maybe as a weekend double header?

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