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, February 3, 2013

Bo'ness United

Bo'ness United are a Scottish junior (non league) football club who were formed in 1945 following the merger of Bo'ness FC and Bo'ness Cadora FC. The town of Bo'ness is located on the south bank of the Firth of Forth, around seventeen miles north west of Edinburgh. Borrowstounness, to give the town its proper, but seldom used proper name, was once a mining town and major port but later became a commuter town.

Bo'ness FC had been formed in 1882, playing in regional competition at a ground by the Parish Church and then Soo & Cra Park. In 1886 the club moved into Newtown Park, before joining the expanded Scottish League Second Division in 1921. In 1927 the team lifted the title and were promoted to the First Division, but their spell there lasted just one season.

The club struggled as the industries suffered and many locals were unemployed. During the 1932-33 season Bo'ness were expelled from the League, but they continued as a non league club until the merger after World War Two.

In their second season United went thirty five games unbeaten, but lost out in the Scottish Junior Cup Final to Shawfield Juniors. However they returned to Hampden Park to lift the cup in 1948 when Irvine Meadow were seen off as thousands of fans greeted the teams homecoming. 'The BU's' went many years without any further major honours, but the Junior Cup returned to Newtown Park in 1975 following victory against the Ayrshire outfit Darvel Juniors.

Two losing final appearences came in 1979 and 1983 when Cumnock Juniors and then East Kilbride Thistle broke Bo'ness hearts. However United returned to the final at Ibrox the following year, as many experts made them massive underdogs against Ballieston Juniors. The BU's clearly hadn't read the script as the team won 2-0 as they were inspired by a superb Lex Shields performance.

The old stand at Newtown Park
image taken from Wikipedia
The club won several cups and leagues over the years and following the re-organisation of the SJFA United found themselves in the East Region Super League. The 2006-07 season saw the team being relegated, but they bounced back at the first attempt under manager Eric Sinclair. The Bu's struggled on their return, with Sinclair resigning and then Paul McKinlay having a spell as team boss before Alan McGonigal took over in the summer of 2009.

McGonigal introduced many new players and his methods paid immediate dividends as United won their first league title since 1969, clinching it in the final game over local rivals Linlithgow Rose. Bo'ness went on to retain the championship in the 2010-11 season.

Bo'ness United will play in the SJFA East Region Super League in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Tuesday 29th January 2013

I had a day free in Edinburgh before my Dad was to join me, so rather than just sitting around I planned a day of groundhopping. Having already covered several clubs in the capital I had taken the train to Linlithgow to call by the home of Rose before taking a bus down to the coast to Bo'ness.

It was a wild day with winds and occasional scrawly showers keeping me on the move. My map and timetable had shown me that I had just less than thirty minutes to walk from the stop near the leisure centre on Gauze Road through the playing fields, onto Newtown Park and then to Castlehill for the return service.

I got to the ground to find it locked, but I wasn't totally beaten as I found plenty of angles through the fences to view it and take photos. It was a fine arena, but not quite what it had been previously. The Main Stand on Jamieson Avenue had gone apart from its base which housed the facilities. The roof had been taken down and a sloping cover put over the old seating deck. A substantial open terracing was at the Linlithgow Road End, while terracing went round the rest of the pitch. A decent cover offered protection opposite the old stand.

Having completed my photography I went in search of Castlehill. a little behind schedule. Fortunately as I was partaking in my latest get fit campaign I jogged and arrived a little ahead of time. It was at this point I got a little confused as I saw a bus stop just around the corner on the main Dean Road. I didn't want to be in the wrong place, so I went to ask the man stood in the shelter. He was explaining as I saw the bus through the houses on Castlehill. I ran to the top of the street where the bus had gone ten yards past the stop and pleaded with the driver to let me on, but he just shrugged his shoulders and drove off.

To say I was not amused was an understatement. The poor bloke at the other stop shook his head and agreed that the driver had been an absolute tosser. I thought I was going to have to wait for an hour for the next bus, in what has to be said was not a particularly pretty place. He calmed me down and said a service was due to go into the town centre and then return to Linlithgow from there.

He then asked the twenty four million dollar question. "What was I doing there?" I explained and expected for him to give me an immediate wide berth. As it happened he turned out to be a loyal BU's fan! We got talking about all things football and in particular Scottish junior football. He told me that the old stand roof had been removed as asbestos was found in it, so it was necessary under health and safety guidelines. He was also pondering whether to travel north to Dundee Violet in the Junior Cup at the weekend. I was really glad to chat with someone with a mutual interest and I was a bit sad to see him get out in the centre.

I remained on the bus, complete with a friendly driver back to Linlithgow Cross so that I could catch my train back to Edinburgh in time for a siesta before meeting my Dad off the train for tea and frivolities!

It had not gone how I planned my visit, but I'm glad it went the way it did. I left knowing a lot more than when I arrived, which is one of the joys of my hobby.

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