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, September 9, 2013

Sutton Coldfield Town

Sutton Coldfield Town FC is a non league football club from the large suburb eight miles north of the centre of Birmingham of the same name. The club were formed in 1879 starting out playing at Sutton Park.

Town competed in the Central Birmingham League, Aston & District League, Small Heath League and the Suburban League. ‘The Royals’ moved to Coles Lane in 1920 as they competed in the Birmingham Alliance and Birmingham Combination as Sutton Town.

For 1962-63 Town played in the newly renamed West Midlands (Regional) League, changing their name to incorporate ‘Coldfield’ in its title in 1964. A year later Sutton moved to the Worcestershire Combination, which changed its name to the Midland Combination for the 1968-69 season.

After finishing league runners up in consecutive seasons at the turn of the 70’s, The Royals won their first championships in 1977-78 and 1978-79, resulting in a move to the higher West Midlands (Regional) League where they won the title at the first attempt. A fine FA Cup run in 1980-81 saw Town reach the First Round, where Doncaster Rovers ended the fun with a 2-0 win at Coles Lane.

Town won promotion to the Southern League Midland Division for 1982-83 after a second place finish in the West Midlands (Regional) League. Further success came when they were promoted to the Premier Division at the first attempt, but relegation came after just one season at the elevated status.

Town remained in the differently titled second tier of the Southern League for many years. They reached the play offs in 2003-04, but Banbury United ended any hopes of promotion. Following restructuring Sutton were allocated a place in Southern League Division One Midlands in 2006-07, but were transferred owing to the geographical location to the Northern Premier League Division One South for the 2010-11 campaign.

The Royals won promotion in 2014-15 via the play offs as Newcastle Town and then Leek Town were defeated to bring Premier Divisioon football to Coles Lane.

Sutton Coldfield Town FC will play in the Northern Premier Premier Division for the 2016-17 season.

My visit

Romulus 4 Scarborough Athletic 2 (Saturday 7th September 2013) Northern Premier League Division One South (att: 171)

For full details of my day out and my view of the match, please visit the Romulus page at: http://worldgroundhop.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Romulus

Here is my impression of Coles Lane.

The nice fifteen minute leisurely walk from the station took me down to Coles Lane, where gap between the houses took me to the ground entrance. A small shop selling drinks and groceries was by the entrance.

Cars were parked on the hard standing to the left hand end of the arena, next to the clubhouse with its refreshments serving hatch in front. Several building housed other activities such as the local Table Tennis and Sub Aqua Clubs. The left hand touchline had a cover and then a section of open standing. The far end had a cover over the hard standing directly behind the goal.

The final side was dominated by a superb old Main Stand, which was a raised seating deck with flat hard standing in front and changing rooms below the seats. The centre section had blue tip up seats for dignitaries, with the wings consisting of well worn benches. The view was magnificent from there once I’d negotiated the rickety old stairs.

A small section of what was becoming overgrown terracing was further down the touchline. It typified a slightly ageing and ramshackle look, but it I would rather have that than an identikit newly built ground any day. The lifeblood of the ground was the artificial 3G pitch, and the extra block of changing rooms and toilets stood next to it, which allowed the partitioning off of the playing area to hire whenever senior football was not being played.

Coles Lane had adapted to embrace new facilities in a traditional arena. If only all clubs could consider doing similar in the future.

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