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

Monday, April 22, 2013

Police United (Thailand)

Police United FC was a professional football club based in Lak Si to the north of the Thai capital of Bangkok. The club was dissolved at the end of the 2015 season, before merging with BEC Tero Sasana, to be become Tero Police FC for the 2018 campaign.

The Tero Police page, with full background, can be viewed here

The club were formed in 1960 as Police United, under the management of the Royal Thai Police before going on to enjoy a rich and successful history.

United won the League Cup in 1989, 1991 and 1993 before league honours followed. However, the team was relegated in 1997, before returning to the top flight as the club were crowned champions of Division One, and gaining promotion to the TPL in 1999 with Yordchay Dejleh topping the scoring chart.

Police were relegated once again in 2001-02 before winning promotion once again in 2006. The ups and downs continued as the team was relegated just one year later. The goals of Manit Noywech helped United to promotion and the Division 1 title in 2009 with Chaiyong Khumpiam the championship winning coach for a second time.

The club was taken over by the Insee concrete company in 2010 after league regulations required all clubs to be private franchises and the club moved from the Booyachinda Stadium to the Thamassat Stadium in Rangsit.

Thawatchai Damrong-Ongtrakul took on the coaching duties in 2011, with Police finishing in mid table for four consecutive seasons; with the goals coming from Chakrit Buathong, Surachat Sareepim, Leandro Dos Santos and Michaël Murcy throughout the period.

Police suffered a poor 2014 season and were relegated to Division One. Head coach Attaphol Buspakom was given the task of restoring their former status as the club decamped to their traditional Booyachinda Stadium home next to the police headquarters as Insee ended their sponsorship in the club.

The team won the Division 1 title in fine style with Tana Chanabut smashing in twenty five goals. However, the success came at a price as it was discovered that the club failed to pay their players.

The clubs license was revoked, leading to a sabbatical from competitive football. A solution was found when BEC Tero Sasana became homeless; with the Booyachinda Stadium offering a welcome refuge. The clubs merged for the 2018 season.

My visit

Insee Police United 0 Suphanburi 2 (Wednesday 27th March 2013) Thai Premier League

I was on a free day before meeting up with my team mates for the cricket the following week in Chiang Mai and I'd made the most of it in temperatures up to forty degrees as I'd visited several stadiums as well as the first half of the Regional League game between Luk Tapfah and Futera Seeker.

A taxi took me up the main road towards Ayutthaya before pulling off at Khlong Nueng to the Ransit Campus of the Thammasat University. My driver dropped me right outside the entrance for the VIP seats, which cost 200 Baht, which equalled around £4.50, and was quite expensive compared to other prices. I jogged up the stairs into the sparsely occupied seating area.

Thammasat Stadium was a fine arena. I'd wanted to visit for some time after seeing photos of it, and flying over it one day before landing at the nearby Don Mueng Airport. It had been constructed for the 1998 Asian Games, resembling a scaled down Rajamangala Stadium, with dipping open ends but with roofs down both sides. 

The dramatic floodlights hovered over each corner of the arena. United's move there as well as a joint tenancy with Regional League Luk Isan - Thai Air had kept the stadium in use. Once more it was nice to be in a stand with plentiful leg room.

There were far more fans on the far side. The home ultras away to my left totalled only around fifty fans, but the away ends behind the other goal were there in large numbers and were making a lot of noise as well. The game was a decent standard on a snooker table like surface.

Suphanburi went one up following what look like a dive earned them a penalty. The spot kick was slotted away as the visiting support went wild. In fairness their heroes had been the better side up until then. The Police side started throwing themselves to the floor as they detected a weak referee.

Suphanburi almost doubled their lead as the home keeper made an awful hash of a free kick, before United had a superb set piece of their own come back off the woodwork. 

The game flowed from end to end as Suphanburi's African forward lobbed the keeper but saw his effort brilliantly headed off the line. Police's import forward decided that falling over and acting was the order of the day.

At half time I walked round the back of the away end and visited the plentiful refreshment stands behind the far side, as well as purchasing a Police away shirt for around £15. I decided to go in with the majority of the home fans for the second period in the Crimson Cops Stand.

United piled on the pressure for much of the second half, but they couldn't find a way to equalise. The visitors rode their luck and still carried danger on the break. Frustrations were growing around me as the game grew towards its conclusion. 

A Suphanburi forward ran unchallenged at the Police rearguard and finished with aplomb to seal the victory.

At full time I went back to the main gates by the duel carriageway and after ten minutes of concern managed to get a taxi to take me back to the city centre. I could only guess that my driver was desperate to get home for his favourite TV show, as we showed everything a clean pair of heels as he weaved in and out of any traffic at great speed.

I'd had a great day out and was happy to get to my hotel for a proper nights sleep after the rarity of an alcohol free day on holiday!

To catch some of the atmosphere of the evening, please click here:

Wednesday 1st April 2015

On a steaming hot April Fools Day I declared to Steve that I wanted to visit a couple of stadiums I’d never previously been to; but by local transport.

We set off from my hosts’ home at Samakorn in Minburi on foot before catching the local Songtheaw; a type of open backed van with wooden seats at either side. In Minburi town centre the market was thriving and the area was a general hive of activity. 

We crossed the road and soon found a mini bus heading in the right general direction. It would eventually go to Chattachak but we needed to be towards Lak Si. We alighted once it headed down Phahonyothin Road.

We weren’t exactly sure how much further along Chaeng Wattana we needed to be but we decided to walk and find out.

Under normal circumstances this would have been a wise idea, but the temperatures were touching 40’. Fortunately we were in the shade or under cover through ramshackle settlements as the tight pavements were shared with mopeds. After a walk of over two miles we bought some drinks and sunk into a seat at the open Bunyajinda Stadium.

We were dripping in sweat but happy to see that a junior match was just about to take part on the pitch. Steve made enquiries and deducted it was a final of a junior tournament involving a Japanese side and the local Sistamon team. Even smaller kids played on the running track surrounding the pitch.

Boonyachinda Stadium had three stands down one side with roofing, all next to each other with the outer two at an angle to be closer to the pitch. The far side had a section of open seating, while there was no spectator accommodation behind either goal.

After around fifteen minutes we made a move as we wanted to visit the home of BBCU, a couple of kilometres west across a golf course and major roads. We decided to take the journey by taxi once we could find one!

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