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

London

September 2015

Monday, December 31, 2012

Pollok



Pollok FC are a non league, or to goive them the proper mantle a Scottish Junior FA club who are based in the Newlands district in the south of Glasgow. The club were formed in 1908, as a section of the Pollokshaws Working Lads Club.



When searching for a suitable home ground, the club were offered the use of some land on Pollok Eastate called Haggs Park by Sir John Stirling Maxwell. In an acknowledgement of his generosity the club adopted the same black and white colours as the heraldic shield of Pollok House. 

However after spending hundreds of pounds on Haggs Park the club were asked to leave during the 1926-27 season as the land was required by the Glasgow Education Authority.



Matches were played at Shawfield Junior's Roseberry Park home and the Queen Mary Tea Gardens in Spiersbridge. A new piece of land was secured on a lease from Messrs. Stevenson, McKellar Ltd., who ran Newlandsfield Works. 

A loan was secured to build a fence around the arena and to construct facilities. The new venue was ready for the start of the 1928-29 season. Pollok played intermediate football for several years before returning to junior status with 'Erry' Armstrong scoring over a hundred goals in one season.



In 1945 a crowd of 15,000 packed into Newlandsfield Park for the Scottish Junior Cup quarter final tie with Fauldhouse United. Many couldn't see but purchased a platform ticket for the adjoining raised Pollokshaws East station and watched from there. 

In 1948 the club were given an ultimatum to either buy the ground or leave it. After many scares the Pollokshaws Co-Operative Company Ltd came to the rescue offering a loan at very fair rates.


Several local cup competitions were collected over the seasons with 'The Lok' ambling along as a moderate junior club, but Pollok benefitted following the demise of nearby Third Lanark in 1967, as many fans decided to adopt them as their new club. 

A new clubhouse was opened at Newlandsfield Park in 1971 leading to improved finances and a period of success from the eighties onwards.



The Scottish Junior Cup was won in 1981 after a Norrie Fulton goal beat Arthurlie in front of 13,000 fans at Hampden Park. Five years later they returned to beat Petershill after a replay. 

In 1987 Lok lost the centenary final to Auchinleck Talbot, but that couldn't take away from a great period as Chic Charnley, Fraser Wishart, Sandy Stewart, Stewart Auld and Dougie Arnott all went on to progress and have successful senior careers.



After winning three Central League titles, latterly under Jim O'Donnell a third Junior Cup was collected in 1997 with a 3-1 win over Tayport at Fir Park before rivals Arthurlie inflicted a 4-0 defeat in the final the following season. 

O'Donnell called it a day after that and was replaced for a brief spell by Andy Dailly before former keeper Ronnie Lowrie took over. Junior football had been re-organised with Pollok being placed in the West Super League Premier Division. 


Lowrie's charges lifted the title in the 2002-03 season. The experienced Rab Sneddon was appointed as manager in 2004 and he led the team to three more league championships in 2005, 2007 and 2008. 

History was made during the 2007-08 season as junior clubs were allowed to enter the Scottish Cup for the first time. Montrose defeated Lok at Newlandsfield Park after a replay, which attracted almost 2,000 fans.



Sneddon resigned owing to work commitments in March 2010. His successor Willie Irvine only lasted a few months before John Richardson took over the reigns. The 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons saw Pollok narrowly avoid relegation.

However, the 2013-14 campaign was a disaster, with just a few players being retained and several off the field controversies with four different managers having spells in charge, blighting the club. The team were relegated to the West of Scotland Super League First Division.



Pollok showed great resilience in regrouping and returning to the top flight as champions at the first attempt under manager Tony McInally. The form continued the following campaign with a run in the Junior Cup all the way to the final at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock.

Yoker Athletic, Royal Albert, Kennoway Star Hearts, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Kilbirnie Ladeside and Hurlford United were defeated, before the Lok went down 4-3 on penalties to Beith Juniors after the match had ended 1-1, with Robbie Winters netting for Pollok.


Pollok finished the 2016-17 Premier Division season with an eight place berth.


Pollok FC will compete in the SJFA West Super League Premier Division in the 2017-18 season.


My visits

Thursday 28th January 2010



Having been generally impressed by my visits to various Scottish junior set ups over the previous few days, I was looking forward to seeing my last for the time being. It had been a wonderful time in a great city and my plans had just about gone perfectly. The train deposited me at Pollokshaws West after my ride to Barrhead to see Loks great rivals, Arthurlie. A brisk walk soon had me on Newlandsfield Road outside the ground.

It was locked, but the low and mesh fencing allowed me some good views. It was interesting to note that the clubhouse behind the goal appeared to be doing a brisk trade on a lunchtime from its entrance from the street.



Newlandsfield Park was a no nonsense old fashioned football ground and I like what I saw. The dressing room block was in the corner by the turnstiles. Three sides had a few steps of open terracing with the final far side being double in size and covered by an almost full length roof. There wasn't a seat in sight or floodlights. Just what the petty ground graders of the English FA would think and why they have their daft stipulations was open to question.

After a brief walk up and down the main road to fill in a little time I went up the steps of Pollokshaws East station and gained another excellent view of the ground as I awaited my train to Mount Florida and my tour of Hampden Park.



My only regret as such was that I may struggle to fit in watching games at so many excellent venues, but you never know what's around the next corner!

Pollok 1 Glenafton Athletic 3 (Saturday 24th February 2018) SJFA West Super League Premier Division (att: c550)


I’d flown to Glasgow from Southend the previous evening, going on to enjoy fine ales in the Bon Accord, The Griffin and State Bar meeting up with Karl and Guy who’d travelled up earlier from Yorkshire. We were also introduced to Karl’s cousin who lived in Paisley.

A good night had been had by all, with the weather getting very cold when we left the final pub. My mates were asking if I’d made my mind up about where I was heading the following day. They had tickets for Rangers v Hearts, but I fancied something different.


We met up again in The Counting House and I still hadn’t made up my mind while breakfasting or over beers while we chatted in the Horse Shoe. I was whittling the list down owing to distance and the fact that Scotland were taking England on at Murrayfield. I figured the trains would be packed in an easterly direction.

I was slightly tempted by the thought of the match at Camelon Juniors who were up against Carnoustie Panmure with a 1.30 kick off. Colin Williams, a friend from Hampstead CC had messaged me to say his brother was refereeing that clash.


After another beer in Ross’s I left my Ibrox bound pals to catch a bus north with the intention of heading to Maryhill v Cumbernauld United. I knew it was a good venue and easy to get to and from. I was also aware of reasonable nearby bars and the ground had a clubhouse.

I’m glad I checked Twitter as we reached Sauchiehall Street heading up the hill. The game was frozen off, along with my second choice; Shettleston v Troon. However, my third choice was still on, and Google Maps came to the rescue as I caught a bus back south.


We travelled down Kilmarnock Road to Shawlands for the encounter at Newlandsfield Park, or New Camp as the locals nicknamed it, between Pollok and Glenafton Athletic. The ride also gave me ideas for further drinking expeditions. There were certainly plenty of choices.


I’d been slightly reluctant to return to Newlandsfield Park as I knew that it often staged cup finals at the tail end of the season. That could have come in handy if I fancied a ride north in warmer climes, but I had no regrets as soon as I saw the size of the crowd gathering.


It really was an excellent football ground. Admission cost me £6, with the programme a further £1.50. It was a beautiful sunny day, but the temperatures were dropping all the time. I was certainly thankful for the 2pm kick off time.

My first port of call was the refreshment hut on the far side. A fine Scotch Pie set me back £1.40. Not full, I went for a steak pie and fantastic thick home made lentil soup for the combined price of £2.90. Junior football clubs certainly offered value for money.


A decent turn out of away fans had travelled up from Ayrshire, and congregated on the open side. I enjoyed most of the first half from the large cover before taking in the rest from behind the goal to enjoy the bright weather.

The match was typical juniors fare with plenty of passion involved while everyone got stuck into the referee Garry Doherty from an early stage. The nearside linesman was fighting a losing battle in asking both benches to stay clear of the touchline.


Pollok took the lead on eighteen minutes after Glenafton’s keeper Brian McGarrity spilled a low thirty yard free kick from Adam Forde with Stefan McCluskey following up to square for skipper Paul Gallacher to tap into the empty net.

‘Lok continued to have the majority of the play but couldn’t build on their lead against a resolute Athletic rear guard whose side began to have moments of their own on the offensive. I had a walk at the interval and positioned myself in the corner near the Lok Club.


The hosts were tricky enough going forward, but the break up in their play in the final third was frustrating the home fans. Glenafton were getting more and more into the match, so it was no real surprise when they gained parity on sixty five minutes.

A pin point Connor Lynas cross into the area was met by an excellent free header from substitute Michael McCann. Just three minutes later Gallacher allowed his man to get the wrong side of him as a free kick was slung into the box.


Referee Doherty had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, with Chris Dallas giving Jordan Longmuir no chance in the Lok net. The home teams tried to press for an equaliser, but they looked susceptible on the break.

The killer blow came in the closing stages as Longmuir controlled a back pass and attempted to clear. Unfortunately for him, Dallas had made ground and charged the ball down, with it ricocheting into the goal.


The locals weren’t happy as I went round the corner at full time to catch a bus back to Bath Street. My afternoon improved further as I cashed out on my fixed odds bet and won £80. Decent results for Scarborough Athletic and Hendon also helped.


I returned to the Easy Hotel to have a nod while listening to Scotland defeat England in the Calcutta Cup before meeting my happy pals in Jackson’s. Rangers had won to put the icing on the cake. The atmosphere proved to be brilliant all evening.

We went on to enjoy drinks in The Pot Still, Drum & Monkey, Horse Shoe, The Royal Scot, Imperial Bar and the Bon Accord with every pub busy and exuding a great atmosphere. It was a pleasure to be out in a great city with top company.


We didn’t bother looking for a late night establishment and just settled for supper before heading our separate ways. I was on a train at 9.37am the following day to go and watch Aberdeen v Celtic.


I love Glasgow!












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