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

London

September 2015

Saturday, February 8, 2014

VV Alverna (Holland)




Voetbalvereniging Alverna, or VV Alverna, as they are more commonly known are an amateur football club from Alverna, which adjoins the town of Wijchen, five miles west of Nijmegen in the west of The Netherlands.



The club was established in 1950 following previous clubs AVE , Helios and Alvernia representing the town. A merger after World War Two led to the creation of Alverna Wijchen Combination (AWC), but this new club did not last long.

Through the initiative of Theo Rutten, the new club was created on May 14th 1950. The club climbed to Vierde (fourth) Klasse by 1967, but found itself back in the Zesde (sixth) Klasse within a few years. Fred Rutten left the club as a junior in 1977 going on to play for PSV before ending up as head coach. The 1999-00 season saw promotion up to Vijfde Klasse under coach Tonnie Wels.












Rick Peters helped the side back to Vierde Klasse in 2000-01, going up once again in 2003-04 as champions. However, the ride didn’t last for long as Alverna were relegated after just one season.

Coach Leo Otten led the side to promotion in 2007-08 as the youth section at the club, among a total membership of over four hundred, continued to provide players for the ten senior sides. In 2012-13 the Eerste Divisie title was won to take Alverna up to the Hoofdklasse.


 








VV Alverna will play in the Zondag (Sunday) Hoofdklasse C in the 2013-14 season.


My visit

Alverna 1 LONGA'30 0 (Sunday 19th January 2014) Zondag Hoofdklasse C (Att: around 200)



It was my fourth day of my long weekend of football and socialising around Holland, and I was rather tired after a heavy day and night in Zwolle, followed by visiting three amateur clubs in Nijmegen before watching the excellent NEC v ADO Den Haag Eredivisie clash.

My research on the excellent Soccerway website (http://uk.soccerway.com/) before the trip had me looking for the potential of a later game. Despite there being many local clubs in the region, Alverna looked my best bet as it was located to the west of the city, as was De Goffert where NEC played.











Common sense should have had me heading to my room for a sleep, but I wasn't going to give up on an opportunity to broaden my knowledge, regardless of missing the first half. The brilliant 9292 transport app on my phone had been most helpful but I had read it wrong this time as I walked a long way for a bus, when there was a closer stop in the park.

Not to worry. I was dropped at the edge of Alverna at the Havenweg stop. I heard the music coming from the ground confirming that it was half time, so I decided to have a look at the home of nearby sv AWC. A path through the copse led me from there to the entrance of Sportpark Bospad. The gates were open for the second half, so I didn’t have to pay, and I picked up a free programme in the welcoming clubhouse.














The facilities were all at the entrance end to the ground on Bospad, with a seated stand in front of the club and the dressing rooms down a tunnel at lower level. The rest of the ground had hard standing all the way round the artificial surface, with a secondary grass pitch alongside.

The game was of the same standard as the one I'd seen at Wezep the day before; hard but skillfull. I was slightly surprised at the amount of long balls being played. I'd missed the goal earlier, which was scored by Rick Hutting. The great thing about nearly every amateur ground I visited was that there was a scoreboard to put me right.











Alverna's skilfull young winger had a good run and shot that struck the far post and the LONGA keeper Kaj Boschker made a decent save, but there were to be no more goals. The win put the home side into seventh place in the league, with the defeat for the side from Lichtenvoorde leaving them bottom of the table.

At least the visitors had the consolation of travelling home in style as they were using the team coach of De Graafschap, which was parked behind the ground. I had about about ten minutes before my bus was due at the Industriepark stop. The no.15 service took me round the houses in Nijmegen and close to De Goffert. It was the bus I should have caught to the game.



After checking into the Prince B&B and enjoying a shower and siesta, I relaxed for the evening and stayed off the beer. The city centre was lovely, even when mainly closed as I wandered about taking in the sights. I got an added bonus on planning an early night that the TV in my room had BBC One and Two, so I got to see Ronnie O’Sullivan win the Masters snooker and later Match of the Day Two!



I slept extremely well, not for the only time on my weekend away.









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