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

Friday, November 30, 2012

KFC Uerdingen 05 (Germany)

KFC Uerdingen 05 (Krefelder Fußballclub Uerdingen 05 e.V., to give them their full title) are a football club in the district of Uerdingen in the 'velvet and silk' city of Krefeld in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia. 

The club was formed on the 17th November 1905 as Fußball-Club Uerdingen 05, until August 1919 when they were joined by Sportvereinigung des Realgymnasiums Urdingen. In 1927 the club moved into the newly constructed Grotenburg-Stadion.

During World War II the club joined forces with VfB 1910 Uerdingen, playing as Kriegspielgemeinschaft Uerdingen. In peacetime they continued their alliance as Spielvereinigung Uerdingen 05, until February 1948 when VfB became an independant club once more. In 1950 SpVgg returned to their original name of FC Uerdingen 05.

1953 saw another merger with Werkssportgruppe Bayer AG Uerdingen, the works team of the chemical giants Bayer AG, taking the name FC Bayer 05 Uerdingen. Having played their football at local amateur level, the club progressed to Amateurliga Niederrhein in the early 60's. 

Further progression came in 1971 as Uerdingen reached Regionalliga West. After a few seasons of strong finishes, they ended the 1974-75 season as runners-up, which led to promotion to the Bundesliga as their home stadium was renovated to hold the bigger crowds.

The historical logos of the club

Their spell in the top flight lasted just one season, before they were relegated to 2.Bundesliga Nord. A second place finish in 1979 saw Uerdingen promoted once again; this time for a period of two years. They were obviously not satisfied with second tier football as the club were promoted once more in 1983, to start the clubs most successful period.

In 1986 Bayer Uerdingen finished in third place in the Bundesliga and also winning the DFB Pokal (German Cup) in 1985 after beating Bayern Munich 2-1 in the final at Berlin's Olympiastadion.

To see action of the great day, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iMgSVL90Ng

The following season saw the club in European Cup Winners Cup action, with the quarter final seeing one of the most dramatic games in UEFA history. By half time in the second leg at the Grotenburg-Stadion Uerdingen were 5-1 down on aggregate to Dynamo Dresden. The final fourty five minutes saw the home side hammer in six unanswered goal to win the tie 7-5 over the two games, before losing to Atletico Madrid in the semi-final.

To see the dramatic Dynamo second leg, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ9aVIkUPLg

Following these successes the Grotenburg was given further refurbishments, and all seemed well despite a few promotions and relegations between the top flight and 2.Bundesliga and winning the Intertoto Cup on four occasions, until 1995 when Bayer withdrew their funding. The club started their 1995-96 Bundesliga campaign as Krefelder Fußball-Club Uerdingen 05 in the Bundesliga, before two relegations saw the club plying their trade in the third tier Regionalliga Nord by the turn of the millennium.

Worse was to follow in 2003 as the DFB refused the club a license to compete at that level owing to financial problems. Instead KFC were placed in Oberliga Nordrhein. The German leagues were restructured for the 2008-09 season with the introduction of 3.Bundesliga. Uerdingen hoped for a place in the fourth tier Regionalliga under the stewardship of veteran coach and Fortuna Düsseldorf legend Aleksandar Ristić for a short spell.

Instead, the club were placed in the Verbandsliga. In 2010-11 Uerdingen won their first promotion in seventeen years as they lifted the Verbandsliga title and a place in the NRW-Liga. When this league was disbanded, KFC were placed in Oberliga Niederrhein as the club tried to raise finances with some inavative ideas to assist in their push back up the leagues, including a friendly with Bayern Munich which drew a crowd of 30,000 for a friendly.

KFC Uerdingen 05 played in the Oberliga Niederrhein in the 2012-13 season and went on to win the title, gaining promotion back to the Regionalliga. However, the joy wasn't to last too long as Uerdingen finished in fifteenth position in the 2014-15 season, and were relegated once again.

KFC Uerdingen 05 will play in the Oberliga Neiderrhein in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Saturday 27th October 2012

I awoke in my Dusseldorf hotel on a beautiful bright late autumn morning after a really good first day in Germany in my search of new stadiums and football. The previous nights 3-3 draw in Cologne, followed by a really good drink in Dusseldorf's Aldstadt had put me in a really good mood, as well as helping me to a much needed deep sleep.

My afternoon destination was Gelsenkirchen for the clash between Schalke and Nuremburg, but I was determined not to waste my morning. I remember Bayer Uerdingen from my youth and had since done some research as to their demise. Their website showed a good old fashioned stadium, and I wanted to see it in the flesh.

After a quick train from my adjacent station to Dusseldorf's Hauptbanhof, I was soon on a train via Neuss which would stop at the Krefeld-Oppum station. After a twenty minute ride I was out in the cool air and taking a ten minutes brisk walk up Buddestrasse past the tram stop and pretty Schonwasserpark and into the busy main Berliner Strasse. This took me past the zoo and to the stadium.

The road up to the stands took me past the wonderful sight of hundreds of kids practising on artificial pitches in the hope of becoming the next local hero, as their doting parents looked on. I was even happier on finding the gates in the corner to the stadium open. What I found was a ground I grew up going to games in. It was a real beauty.

The North Stand was a large covered single tiered block of seats. Opposite was the South Strand, which backed onto the training ground, with a seating tier behind a large terraced paddock. The West Terrace was a huge open end up to the pitch with a scoreboard at the rear. These three constructions had all been built after the successes of the Cup Winners Cup. The final East Terrace was the original which was curved away from the pitch, where the athletics track once ran.

I wandered along the back of the South Stand, where a drinks kiosk was open for spectators watching the youngsters going through their drills. Everyone seemed friendly, with a few allo's and smiles being exchanged. 

I gained access into the West Terrace, which was showing signs of not being used for some time. The stadium car park was being used for a car boot stall come flea market, so I had a look at the stalls to see if anything took my interest before heading back to the station.

Having a few minutes to kill, I took the opportunity to pop into a local bakery, where the friendly staff spoke perfect English on seeing me struggle with my pidgin German. The large Danish pastry and strong coffee were most welcoming. 

At this point I made a decision after a bit of thought and took a train into Krefeld, where I hoped to get a fast train towards Duisburg in the hope that time would be a kind enough to allow me the opportunity of visiting the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena. The trains were fine as I'd planned, but the stadium was too far from the station. I couldn't really complain.

I'd visited a lovely city, albeit briefly and seen a tremendous traditional stadium with youths playing the game. I knew for certain that one day in the future that I wanted to attend a KFC Uerdingen 05, preferably with the club doing well.

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