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

vv Rigtersbleek (Holland)

Voetbal Vereniging Rigtersbleek to give them their full title is an amateur football club based close to the centre of Enschede in the north east of The Netherlands. The club were formed on the 10th August 1910 by workers of the Rigtersbleek textile factory and being owned by the Van Heck family.

The club became district champions several times before joining the national first division in 1953, with star player Wim Bleijenberg winning three international caps for Holland. The following year the club turned semi professional playing in Erste Divisie and then Hoofdklasse. In 1956 Bleijenberg was sold to Ajax as Rigtersbleek struggled.

After relegation in 1960, the club returned to its amateur status playing in regional football for many seasons. After climbing up from Derde (third) Klasse to Erste (first) Klasse for the 2007-08 campaign, Rigtersbleek won promotion to Hoofdklasse, which is the second level of amateur football, and the fourth tier in total.

The club were relegated back to the third tier Erste Klasse on a Sunday at the end of the 2012-13 season.

vv Rigtersbleek will play in Erste Klasse Zontag Ooste (First Class Sunday – East) in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Saturday 18th January 2014

I was in The Netherlands to enjoy my long weekend off work and to educate myself watching matches and visiting clubs had never previously heard of. It would keep me fit and appreciate the fabric of the game in a country I’ve always had marked down as being very progressive.

As ever I planned to fit in as much as I could, so I was out of bed in Hengelo bright and early. Apart from it wasn’t too bright. The hours time difference meant that 8.30 am in Holland was the same as 7.30 in the UK and the same murky light.

The bus from Hengelo station ran on time, and the display told me when I was getting close to the club. The no.9 went down Hengelostraat before dropping my at the Alleeweg stop. The ground was a hundred yards down Gookatenweg, before I turned right into GJ van Heekstraat and soon came across the entrance.

There were a couple of folks around the clubhouse. The venue had two artificial surfaces. I walked down to the main pitch, which had a decent sized seated stand on the far side and hard standing all the way around the railed pitch. A fine collection of raised advertising boards gave the ground an enclosed feel.

Having completed my task I headed to the Toekonstraat bus stop where within a few minutes the no.1 had arrived and was taking me down to Enschede station.

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