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.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Beaconsfield SYCOB FC are a non league football club who were formed in 1994, following a merger of Beaconsfield United FC and Slough Youth Centre Old Boys FC, and are based in the South Buckinghamshire market town of Beaconsfield.
Beaconsfield United were formed in 1921, playing in local competition until 1979 when they joined the London Spartan League. They had a couple of sixth placed finishes but had a very good venue near to the M40 at Holloways Park, which they had moved into in 1971 on land owned by their patron Lord Burnham.
Slough Youth Centre Old Boys entered adult competition in 1947. Again they competed in local football until 1990 when they became members of the Chiltonian League. The team finished runners up in 1993-94, but to be promoted they needed to share a ground up to standard.
An approach was made to United who were struggling financially at the time, and it was agreed that a merger was the best way forward with the new club taking United's place in the Spartan South Midlands League. The move was a success as 'The Rams' were crowned champions twice. On the first occasion they were denied promotion to the Isthmian League as Holloways Park was deemed not up to scratch. However, after the title win of 2003-04 promotion was gained to the Southern League.
The team were relegated back to the Spartan South Midlands League at the end of the 2006-07 season, but they regained their Southern League place at the first attempt with another championship. After the turmoil of losing their manager, coach, several players and chairman to near neighbours Burnham the club rebuilt.
Beaconsfield SYCOB were given a reprieve from relegation owing to league re-organisation in 2010, from which they turned their fortunes around to end the 2011-12 season in the play offs where they went out in the semi finals to Bedworth United. The team continued to progress under the management of James Pritchard.
The club reached another play off semi final in 2012-13 after finishing in fifth place. his time they were defeated by Rugby Town.
Beaconsfield SYCOB FC will compete in the Southern League Division One Central in the 2013-14 season.
Beaconsfield SYCOB 3 Daventry Town 1 (Monday 25th February 2013) Southern League Division One Central (att: 70)
Beaconsfield had been on my radar for a while, but it was one of those grounds that looked to be hard work to get to midweek. Owing to me taking my eye off the ball at work it transpired that I was on leave for the first week of the new allowance, so I decided that this was as good a time as any to bite the bullet.
I needed a good walk and some fresh air after slumming it the day before and having a good old sample of real ale around meeting pals and watching the League Cup Finals after completing my night shifts. In the quiet shadows of Wembley Stadium, which was a polar opposite from twenty four hours earlier, I caught a train to Beaconsfield after a quick change at Gerards Cross. Within a few minutes I was on the number 74 bus from Maxwell Road, with the helpful driver dropping me near to the ground and pointing out where I needed to be on my return.
After a short walk down the lane behind the ground I was soon paying £8 admission plus £2 for the programme, which was a double issue with the previous Saturday's game with Royston Town. I was hungry and happy to see a fine snack bar behind the goal built inside the clubhouse facing outside, where I purchased a good cheeseburger chips and a cup of tea.
Holloways Park was a better venue that I had anticipated. The large clubhouse and changing rooms building were behind the goal by the entrance. A good covered terracing with crush barriers stood in front of it. There was a few steps of open terracing down the left hand side, with a Main Stand with seating on the half way line. The rest of the ground consisted of flat open hard standing. The floodlights were quite low, but offered plenty of light.
It was a cold night with a wind blowing down the pitch. The Rams took advantage of this against their purple clad visitors when Yashwa Romeo scored with a glancing header from a free kick, after causing the Daventry defence plenty of problems. After my usual lap of the ground I was now in the relative warmth of the covered terrace. Daventry and their decent following of fans seemed relieved to be only one down at the interval.
I went into the clubhouse for another cuppa at the break as it was too cold for beer, and I was trying to keep off it after the previous days activities! The room was pleasant enough with adverts for the Amersham Jazz Club which was staged there on the walls. An Italian Serie A game was getting a bit of attention on the plasma TV, while several others were doing the same as me and listening via earphones to the West Ham v Spurs thriller on the radio.
Daventry looked a different side after the restart with the wind advantage as home keeper Sam Southerton was put under pressure. This led to them winning a penalty, which Jamie Gould slotted away. This woke SYCOB from their slumber as they came straight up the pitch to the covered end to regain the lead as Ryan Blake scored at the near post after seventy three minutes when keeper Richard Morris should have probably kept it out.
The night got a whole lot worse for Morris ten minutes later when a cross came in from the right, with him and skipper Guy Sanders colliding. The ball went in off Sanders, but Morris was left with a badly injured leg. After a delay of ten minutes he was helped down the tunnel with a defender Kyle Cartwright taking over between the sticks and going on to make a couple of unorthodox stops.
Close to the end Ryan Howell smashed a shot against the underside of the SYCOB crossbar, but the scoreline was about right. The Rams looked a decent side and more incisive than their reasonable opponents. I sneaked out with seconds remaining courtesy of a gate in the far corner near to the bus stop, which was used to retrieve errant clearances.
I was glad when the bus arrived to get me out of the cold, but I had enjoyed my evening out at a reasonable game at a pleasant venue.