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, February 10, 2014

RKVV Brabantia (Holland)

Rooms-Katholieke Voetbal Vereniging Brabantia, or RKVV Brabantia as they are more commonly known is an amateur football club from Eindhoven in The Netherlands. The club were registered on March 1st 1922 as Olympia to give boys from the Strijpse district of the city a way to play as street football was banned. The club established its home ground at Sportpark De Hurk.

Once the club joined the Brabantse Voetbal Bond (BVB) in 1924 and had to change their name as there was already a club registered as Olympia. RKVV was eventually selected in 1929 to reflect the clubs catholic links as they played in the RVK’s IVCB competition.

The 1930’s saw great success for ‘d'n Brab’ as in 1936 and 1937 they were crowned IVCB national champions. At the time Brabantia were great rivals with their city neighbours PSV as they battled for supremacy. The RKV merged with the KNVB soon afterwards.

1954 saw the advent of professional football in Holland, which Brabantia tried for the first season before the board under Chairman Paul van Loenhout took the decision to revert to amateur status. The next thirty years saw d’n Brab win several promotions as well as suffer relegations, mainly in the Derde (third) and Tweede (second) Klasse divisions, with an occasional visit to the second tier of amateur football, the Eerste Klasse.

The club continued its ethos of social activity and equality when a women’s team was added in 1975.Meanwhile, the first team suffered a major downturn between 1987 and 1990 as they found themselves down in the Vierde (fourth) Klasse.

Under the guidance of former Dutch international Jan Poortvliet, Brabantia climbed their way back all the way to Eerste Klasse football by 1999. However, following his departure they back down to Derde Klasse within six years.

Gradually the team and club regrouped leading to Brabantia reaching their highest level of football as they reached the Sunday, Zontag Hoofdklasse for the 2012-13 season. Unfortunately their spell lasted just one season as they finished second from bottom and were relegated back to the Eerste Klasse.

RKVV Brabantia will play in Eerste Klasse Zontag – Zuid I (First Class Sunday – South I) in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Tuesday 21st January 2014

My long weekend around Holland was just about to finish. It had been a brilliant trip, although I was now struggling as I’d done so much walking. My final call was to Brabantia after I’d been just outside Eindhoven to Veldhoven to visit the home of VV UNA. My planning once more did me a favour as I jumped out off the bus at the Cederlaan stop.

A ten minute walk through Brabantia’s traditional heartland saw me on Rijstenweg and walking through the gates to the Sportpark de Hurk.

A large car park stood behind the goal of the main pitch. The outstanding feature was what I considered a brilliant piece of modern architecture. The stand was raised with lots of facilities underneath. Its shape and make was not unlike the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground. There were some open seats looking down on the pitch, as well as glassed in areas. The other side of the structure looked down on the minor pitches. The rest of the main arena had hard standing all the way around the artificial pitch, with plentiful high fencing and advertising boards, as well as a scoreboard in the corner.

Some lads were having a kick around on the main pitch. They looked concerned when they saw me. I’m not sure if they were meant to be there, but a wave and a smile soon put everyone at ease. There lied the beauty of such pitches. Casual kick abouts would not ruin the surface. Surely that had to be good if more got involved in exercise?

I was delighted with my endeavours over the four or five days and Brabantia was an excellent place to finish. I walked round the corner as the no.13 bus was due back into the city centre from the Zeelsterstraat stop.

After alighting to take photos of the ornamental gates of Philips Stadion it was time for a quick snack from the vending machine on the station. The meat fritter was a lovely but belated find. I certainly marked that down for any revisit.

I was soon at the airport for my 3pm flight back to Stansted. It had been a great adventure. I would definitely not right off watching a game from that brilliant stand at Sportpark de Hurk, perhaps as a Sunday double header?

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