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

Friday, January 24, 2014

FC Twente (Holland)

FC Twente are a professional football club from the north east city of Enschede in The Netherlands. The club were formed on the 1st July 1965 following the merger of Sportclub (SC) Enschede and Enschedese Boys.

SC Enschede had been formed on the 1st June 1910 and quickly going on to become a leading football club in the country. In 1926 SC were crowned as national champions as well as winning the Eastern League five times. When the national Eredivisie was formed in 1956, SC Enschede became one of the top sides, but by 1965 they were saddled with debts, which led to the merger.

Enschedese Boys were originally called Lotisco when formed on the 20th June 1906. They had a severe rivalry with SC who were supported by the middle class and factory owners, whereas Boys were the working class club. It was said that fans of De Boys refused to wear black shoe laces as that was the colour of Sportclub, whereas their fans supposedly would not eat erwtensoep as it was the green colour of Boys.

De Boys also suffered with financial problems and also suffered on the pitch. The city of Enschede wanted one club to challenge for honours, so the merger came about, although they both continued as separate amateur clubs playing in regional football.

The new club moved into the multi purpose Diekman Stadion. They faired well in Eredivisie with a few top five finishes, before nearly lifting the title in 1973-74. They travelled to De Kuip to challenge Feyenoord in the league decider, but lost the game 3-2. As a consolation Twente (which is the name of the region in which Enschede lies) were placed in the UEFA Cup for the following season.

FC Twente went all the way to the UEFA Cup Final of 1975 before losing to Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 on aggregate after defeating Juventus in the semi finals. In 1977 FC Twente won the KNVB Cup following a 3-0 final win over PEC Zwolle at De Goffert in Nijmegen.

‘De Tukkers’ were relegated to Eerste Divisie in 1983, but returned to the top flight after just a seasons abstinence. The club re-established itself and qualified for the UEFA Cup on a few occasions. Hans Meyer led the side to a third place finish in 1997. The club left Diekman Stadion for the brand new Arke Stadion in March 1998, which was built between the city centres of Enschede and Hengelo.

In 2001 PSV were defeated on penalties in the final the KNVB Cup although the Ultra Vak-P fans ran amok soon at the new surroundings following a slump in the teams form soon after. During the 2002-03 season the club was declared bankrupt, but a new company was quickly formed with businessman Joop Munsterman taking over as chairman.

FC Twente were defeated by FC Utrecht in the 2004 KNVB Cup Final before major developments arrived at the club in 2008. Steve McClaren was appointed as the new head coach as the team played in the Champions League qualifiers. The Arke Stadion was renamed De Grolsch Verde in a sponsorship deal with the local brewers as the arena was extended. The team finished as Eredivisie runners up in 2008-09 as well as losing KNVB finalists after going down to SC Heerenveen in the final.

FC Twente went on to win their first Eredivisie in 2009-10 losing only two games all season. MCClaren resigned and moved to Wolfsburg, to be replaced by Belgian Michel Preud’homme. His side lifted their third KNVB Cup after coming back from 2-0 down to defeat Ajax 3-2. A week later FC Twente had to go to play Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA, leading the league by one point going into the final game. Ajax won the game 3-1 to leave FC Twente as runners up.

Co Adriaanse took over in the managers seat from Preud’homme for 2012-13, but a sixth placed finish led to Michael Jansen taking over.

FC Twente will play in Eredivisie in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

FC Twente 3 Heracles 1 (Friday 17th January 2014) Eredivisie (Att: 29,750)

I was in need of an annual venture over to Europe to watch some football for a weekend. After looking at possibilities for Germany and Belgium, I plumped for The Netherlands as my monthly long weekend off work coincided with the resumption of fixtures after the winter break.

After strategic advanced planning I flew to Eindhoven from Stanstead after hearing the end of the demoralising ODI between Australia and England and purchased an Anonymous OV Chipcard for all travel in the country on arrival. It was like an Oyster card, only covering everything. What a sensible idea! My long train ride had a couple of changes in Utrecht and Apeldoorn before I arrived in Hengelo, where I was to stay for the night.

The Hampshire City Hotel was a top class choice, as it was only a couple of minutes from the station. The helpful staff provided me with a continental plug adaptor as I’d left mine at home. De Grolsche Veste was located between there and Enschede and just a five minute train ride away, with Enschede Drienerlo station serving the stadium.

The club had been most helpful sorting me a ticket, after initially saying it may have been tough as it was the first game back following the break and a local derby to boot..I had to pay €43.50 for my ticket, which I collected at the stadium booth near to the station exit. A sensibly priced and sized programme cost me €1. The small size like some clubs issued in the 60's in the UK with all the required info, but it fitted into a back pocket.

I wandered around before going inside, even getting access into the fans bar. Unfortunately the place was predictably packed, so getting a beer was going to be hard work. I decided to give it a miss and go in search of my turnstile. After a big climb up the stairs I reached the concourse level, when I grabbed a quick look outside, before returning in search of a beer. A token system was in operation to buy plastic club munts (coins) from a machine, which were then exchanged for food and drink.

I enjoyed a lovely sweet dark local Grolsch, followed by a light one with a smoked hot dog, before heading to my seat and also take some photos from different angles. Beers could be taken to your seat like at all grounds I came across in Holland and Germany when I’ve visited.

The stadium was excellent, with two tiers around three sides and a lower side by the railway. My seat was right up on the top deck towards the byline offering great views of the action. It took some climbing to the top. The visitors from Almelo had one block of seats allocated, although their fans made themselves heard. Home fans in Vak P created plenty of atmosphere including their own take on "You'll Never Walk Alone" before kick off.

Twente went in deservedly 1-0 ahead at the break although Heracles had plenty of play after winger Quincy Promes backheeled and then fired into the far corner of the Heracles net. There were other opportunities, but the interval score was about right. I was struggling by the break with tiredness after such a long day and was glad to get up and have a stretch.

A second goal came soon after the interval from Luc Castaignos following a couple of attempts being kept out. A straight red card to the last Heracles defender, Jeroen Veldmate made the visitor’s task even harder not long after. To their credit they kept going and pulled a goal back with a fine individual effort, not that Twente's fans appreciated it, as the German Mark Uth ran from the half way line with defenders backing off before planting a shot into the top corner of the net. 

It woke Twente from their complacency as they pushed forward and sealed the game with a penalty from Serbian forward Dusan Tadic with two minutes remaining. The result was a fair reflection on the game.

There was a hell of a crush trying to get through the turnstiles that led to the tunnel under the railway for the return ride. It was quite scary at one point, with the organisation poor. The normal entrance to the far platform was cut off, but without any signage. Many locals had made the same error as myself. It was a relief to get on a train heading back to my base.

I was in a pub with decent loud music sampling more Grolsch within half an hour after a brief look around the centre of Hengelo to round off a long but very enjoyable day. I slept very well that night!

To see a brief clip I took at the game, click on: 


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