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, November 4, 2012

SC Fortuna Köln (Germany)

SC Fortuna Köln, or Sport Club Fortuna Köln e.V. to give them their full title, are a football club based in the German city of Cologne who were formed on the 21st February 1948 following the merger of three clubs; Victoria Köln 1911, Bayenthaler SV 1920, and Sparkassen-Verein Köln 1927.

Fortuna played regional football. a new wealthy President, Jean Loring assisted the club's playing side, with the club reaching the Bundesliga in 1974 for a short spell. In 1976 FC Alter Markt Köln were absorbed into Fortuna. As a second tier side the club fought all the way to the 1983 DFB Pokal (German Cup) Final, before losing to a goal from Pierre Littbarski saw their neighbours 1FC Köln lift the cup.

Three years later Fortuna nearly reached 1 Bundesliga once more, but were denied in the play-offs by Borussia Dortmund. Relegation to the third tier was avoided to 1992 only because Blau-Weiss 90 Berlin were denied a license for the following season. Loring was ousted from power in 2000, but it would appear that the grass wasn't greener on the other side as Fortuna were bankrupt five years later and unable to compete in league football.

The clubs youth structure was rescued as the senior side started again at the fifth level (at the time) Verbandsliga Mittelrhein before a promotion was won to Nordrhein-Westfalen-Liga in 2008. Around the same time the club ownership fell into the hands of the web based venture Deinfussballclub.de, in a similar move to Ebbsfleet United at the same time.

After re-organisation of the leagues', Fortuna were placed in Regionalliga West in 2011, where they ended in seventh place. In 2013-14 the team lifted the league title and were promoted to 3. Liga.

SC Fortuna Köln will play in 3. Liga in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Friday 26th October 2012

I had the weekend off work and with my own club Scarborough Athletic not having a fixture, I decided to venture once more to North West Germany. I travelled solo on this occasion purely to get to some new stadiums without the distractions of some absolutely top pals who are great company but their presence would be more likely to end in a review of bars and restaurants various!

My flight had dropped me at Cologne/Bonn airport and I had purchased a regional daily rail ticket for Euro 25. I had done my planning, but I amended my schedule to see a couple of venues in Cologne before heading to my hotel in Dusseldorf where I was to spend a couple of nights.

The train arrived at Cologne Hauptbanhof and although I'd been to the city on a few occasions in the past, I still needed to find my bearings. The early alarm call in my Gatwick hotel had caught up with me. I got myself together and found the KVB local tram service under the station. After a change I alighted at Pohligstrasse, which was just across Am Vorgebirgstor from Sudstadion.

I looked through the railed gates and saw a man blowing the autumn leaves and tidying the stadium in preparation for the following weeks encounter with FC Kray. I caught his attention and tried to converse and get him to open the gate to let me in for a few minutes, to no avail. However, I was not to be beaten as I walked around and got myself enough good views for my photos.

Sudstadion was a multi use stadium with the playing area being surrounded by an athletics track. It had a bank of open terracing all the way around it, with one long covered seated stand down the finishing straight of the track.

After taking my snaps I headed back to the tram stop in readiness to head to my next club of the morning; FC Viktoria Köln 1904

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