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

Saturday, February 8, 2014

PSV (Holland)

 Philips Sport Vereniging or PSV or even PSV Eindhoven is one of the most prominent football clubs in The Netherlands. The club were formed on August 31st 1913, and were known as Philips Eftal until 1916, the same year that the team were promoted to the top level of the Brabantian FA.

Coach Wout Buitenweg took PSV to two promotions to reach the Erste Divisie. Despite being relegated in 1925, they regained their status at the first attempt. Frans Otten became chairman of the Philips sports organisation and set about setting high standards of play and facilities.

In 1929 PSV reached the championship play offs, with a win over Velocitas seeing them crowned as champions for the first time. A second success arrived at Philips Sportspark in 1935 following a championship victory over DWS. The first post war triumph came in 1950 as the KNVB Cup was lifted for the first time as HFC Haarlem were beaten 4-3.

The next season saw a third championship title as Willem II were defeated in the final with Coen Dillen’s goals proving invaluable. He departed in 1961 by which time Ben van Gelder had taken over the running of the organisation as players from nationwide joined the club for the first time and the club embraced professionalism.

A 5-2 victory over Ajax in June 1963 sealed a fourth national title for PSV under the management of Bram Appel as head coach. After a couple of other coaches had spells at the helm, Kurt Linder arrived at Philips Stadion in 1968. His side lost two KNVB finals; to Feyenoord in 1969 and Ajax the following year, as well reaching two European Cup Winners Cup semi finals.

Kees Rijvers was appointed as head coach in 1972 as he signed the brothers Willy and Rene van der Kerkhof and Ralf Edstrom to augment the likes of Jan van Beveran and Willy Van der Kuijlen. The team won the 1974 KNVB Cup with a 6-0 hammering of NAC Breda, before going on to win the Eredivisie the following campaign. In 1976 PSV returned to De Kuip to lift the Cup once again; this time by courtesy of a 1-0 win against Roda JC to complete the double after securing the clubs sixth league triumph. The team narrowly missed out on a European Cup Final as they bowed out to St Etienne 1-0 on aggregate.

In 1978 PSV won the league and ended unbeaten as well as claiming their first European trophy. After a Nick Deacy goal proved decisive against FC Barcelona in the semi final. Bastia were beaten 3-0 on aggregate to lift the UEFA Cup.

After a few seasons without success, Hans Kraay was appointed as the new director of football. He immediately looked to sign players of flair such as Ruud Gullit, Soren Lerby, Gerald Vanenberg and Eric Gerets. The Eredivisie was sealed in 1986. Gullit departed during the following season to AC Milan as Guus Hiddink came in as head coach and signed Ronald Koeman, before leading the side to another championship in 1987.

1987-88 proved to be the greatest in the clubs history. The Eredivisie was won with ease and the KNVB Cup was lifted against Roda JC. The icing on the cake was the European Cup campaign. Victories over Fenerbahce, Rapid Wien, Bordeaux and Real Madrid set up a final against Benfica in Stuttgart. The game ended 0-0 but PSV lifted the trophy on penalties with Hans Van Breukelen in goal.

To see the penalty shoot out win over Benfica in the 1988 European Cup Final, go to:


In 1989 PSV signed the Brazilian Romario, going on to lift the 1990 KNVB Cup with a win against Vitesse. Hiddink departed to be replaced by England boss Bobby Robson. Robson lasted two seasons at the Philips Stadion, but led the team to the Eredivisie titles in 1991 and 1992. Romario departed to FC Barcelona in 1993.

Dick Advocaat took over team affairs in the 1994-95 campaign with the team winning another KNVB Cup in 1996 with a win against Sparta Rotterdam, with a young Ronaldo up front, before leaving for FC Barcelona. With the likes of Phillip Cocu, Jaap Stam, Boudewijn Zenden and Wim Jonk in the team and Luuc Nillis leading the scoring charts, PSV won the league in the 1996-97 season.

The players were sold on as Advocaat departed, with Eric Gerets coming in. A young Ruud van Nistelrooy broke onto the scene to provide the goals. A fifteenth Eredivisie was secured in 1999-00, with PSV retaining the crown the following season. Gerets departed with Hiddink returning and Arjen Robben and Park Si-Jung arriving. The team won the league in 2002-03 with Hiddink’s squad adding another title in 2004-05.

From 2005 one specific seat in the stadium — Section D, Row 22, Seat 43 — was kept permanently empty. This was the seat occupied by former Philips chairman Frits Philips. During the latter part of his life, he chose not to use any of the stadium's hospitality facilities and instead took his place in the general crowd. After his death at the age of 100, the PSV administration chose to keep his seat empty as a tribute. In effect the Philips Stadium was "his house". The first ever kick off at the stadium had been made by him, as an eight year old.

PSV came agonisingly close to reaching the Champions League final in 2006, but were thwarted in the semi final by AC Milan. Solace came by way of yet another Eredivisie triumph arrived at the club as well as the KNVB Cup with a win against Willem II with a fine side including the likes of Mark van Bommel, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Dennis Rommedahl and Lee Young-Pyo. The league title was retained in 2006-07 before Ronald Koeman came in to replace Hiddink as the team went on to make in four Eredivisie titles in a row.

Koeman departed to Valencia in October 2008, to be replaced for a short spell by Huub Stevens, before Fred Rutten took over. Towards the end of Rutten’s reign much money was spent on new signings without success, leading to the return of Advocaat after a caretaker spell from Cocu who led the team to lift the KNVB Cup in 2012 with a 3-0 win over Heracles Almelo at De Kuip.

van Bommel returned to the club but Advocaat’s team ended up as runners up in both the league and cup. Cocu was named as full time head coach in the summer of 2013. At the same time Jong PSV, the clubs under 23 team were admitted into the Eerste Divisie to help raise the standards of the league and to help younger players develop in senior football.

Cocu took the team to the 2014-15 Eredivisie title, for the first time in seven years to end the previous four year dominance of Ajax. 

PSV will play in the Eredivisie for the 2015-16 season.

My visits

Friday 6th July 1990

I visited the Philips Stadion with my brother Nick after we had travelled to Italia 90 on the trains and we were now returning home. On the train journey on the way to Cologne a couple of weeks earlier, we had noticed the proximity of the stadium to the railway station. We were due to change trains in Utrecht for our last ride on foreign soil to reach Rotterdam and our ferry back to Hull. I checked out the timetable I was eventually mastering and we realised we could kill some time in Eindhoven. It seemed a good idea to see where Bobby Robson would be working for the foreseeable future.

Unbelievably we had one ticket for the World Cup Final with us. Nick had agreed to try and sell it for one of our pals we had met in Italy, but because there was only one, no travel firms were interested. Do they really think we’d have looked to sell it if there’d have been two of them?

We walked round to the stadium and saw an open gate. A club worker was standing nearby so we approached him and explained where we’d been and asked if it was OK if we had a look inside. He said it was fine and seemed a friendly chap. It was a relief not to be asked if we were hooligans for the first time in twenty four hours.

We went inside the ground behind a goal. The stadium was extremely smart and functional. There was benched seating on three sides while the other was taken up by a large two tiered stand divided by corporate boxes. There was a section of terracing which was heavily segregated for away fans in one corner. Philips heaters hung from the roof to keep fans warm in the winter.

We continued on to Rotterdam to catch the ferry to take us back to Blighty. It had been a long tiring trip and I was glad to be returning!

Monday 20th January 2014

My planning and improvisation had been absolutely top notch, even if I said so myself. The Philips Stadion was to stage PSV’s under 19 team, Jong PSV’s Eerste Divisie live TV game against De Graafschap on a cold Monday evening. My budget room was just a clearance or an England players penalty kick away. I was looking forward to seeing a game in the magnificent arena, twenty four years after my previous call.

However, before hand I decided to visit the Jan Louwers Stadion on arrival in the city. This was the base of the city’s ‘second’ club FC Eindhoven and dropping in would save me time before my flight the following morning.

I was very glad to make the decision, as when I to the kind lady who let me inside to take photos that I was going to the game, she broke the news that it had been moved there.

This was not what I wanted to hear. However, I had to call back at the Philips Stadion to collect my ticket anyway, so I decided I’d try and get inside for a look if nothing else. I couldn’t see any open gates at a place that had doubled in size since 1990. Seeing a groundsman I attracted his attention. He said he couldn’t let me in, but a bar by gate 7 would get me views inside.

After taking the lift I entered the empty bar and restaurant. The kind lady showed me to the door at the front and told me to help myself taking photos. I’m glad that I made the effort.

On my previous visit, only one side was two tiered. Now all four sides were, with boxes dividing the two levels. The corners were filled in a continuous rake downstairs. However, the latest addition had been to complete the upper corners in 2001 with a window blind type arrangement with gaps between the rows allowing air to flow inside to assist the pitch’s growth. The bright lamps were on the pitch and turned on, giving off a yellow glow.

I departed to collect my match ticket from the huge store on production of an email allowing me to obtain one as a non member. I presumed that this indicated that the fixture would be categorised as high risk. How little I knew!

To read about the Jong PSV v De Graafschap match, go to:


Unfortunately, I have had to use images from the internet to supplement this post of the Philips Stadion as it was on my first call, as I cannot locate the ones I took at the time. 


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