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

VV UNA (Holland)

VV UNA, or Voetbalvereniging UNA, to give their full title are a semi professional football club from the Zeelst area of the town of Veldhoven, which is located close to the south west of Eindhoven in The Netherlands.

A previous club called de Kemphanen had been formed in 1924, but their existence was short lived. On November 7th 1929 a new club was born, with UNA being chosen as the name as it was translated to ‘United’ from Latin. Jan Spelbrink became the clubs first chairman.

UNA joined the Eindhoven leagues and by the end of their first decade had reached the Eerste Klasse (first class) level. Players had to leave the club to work in Germany as Holland was occupied but tit didn’t stop UNA winning the league title following championship matches against Dosko of Duizel in the 1940-41 season to lift club to the KNVB Vierde (fourth) Klasse.

Promotion meant that the Hagendorenseweg ground was unsuitable, so the club managed to acquire land on Hoogstraat behind café De Kleine Man. The new ground was officially blessed by Father van Wely in 1948.

UNA won promotion in 1953 following victory over VV Gemert to reach the third tier of amateur football. The club appealed door to door to the local residents of Zeelst as the club struggled financially in July 1955. Further upheaval came when the land at Hoogstraat was required for new housing. The meant UNA moving once again, this time a hundred metres south, to the new Sportpark Zeelst on Sportlaan. The new ground was opened on August 24th 1958 by Mayor Ras.

In 1962-63 the team under coach Harrie van Elderen won the championship and were promoted to the second level Tweede Klasse. The 1964-65 campaign was the clubs most successful yet, as not only did UNA’s first team win another title to join amateur football’s elite Eerste Klasse, their second and seventh teams also win their championships. In 1966 seating and standing areas were added to Sportpark Zeelst, while a year later the clubhouse was opened.

In 1969 the club suffered its first relegation as UNA went back down to the second tier. By 1974 the team won promotion once again to regain its status as membership grew to six hundred. Head coach Meeuwissen led the club to further glory in 1976 when victory over the Breda club Baronie took UNA up to the Hoofdklasse.

The team suffered relegation, but went back up in May 1981 under the coaching of Guus de Graef. However, their spell lasted just one season before being demoted back to the Eerste Klasse. It was agreed to re-organise the club in November 1982 to spread the responsibilities and to give its senior, junior and women’s sections given equal status.

The 1984-85 season saw UNA suffer another demotion back to the Tweede Klasse, third grade of the amateur game. By 1989 a new clubhouse was opened, and eight years after the grandstand was replaced with a new structure. Further developments arrived in the consequent years in the form of a new boardroom and sponsors facilities.

On the pitch UNA won promotion under Theo Raymakers in 1990, but were relegated once more to the third tier Tweede Klasse two years later. Victory over RKSV Neunan saw Piet Corstiaans’ side go back up at the first attempt. In 2000 coach Eus Marijnissen led UNA to another title to regain Eerste Klasse status before going on to the Hoodklasse soon after.

Having Hoofdklasse allowed UNA to enter the KNVB Cup. The 2002 season saw fine wins against Geldrop and FC Den Bosch in the group stages led to a first round home game against Eredivisie leaders RKC Waalwijk. The game was moved to the Jan Louwers Stadion in Eindhoven as Sportpark Zeelst didn’t have sufficient lighting. UNA put in a fine display before going out 2-0 in front of 1,500 fans.

UNA qualified twice more for the Cup without further success, in the following years. In 2007-08 the team ended the season as runners up in their Sunday Hoofdklasse division, before winning the title in 2010-11 and being promoted to Topklasse football for the first time.

Their spell lasted just one campaign at the new status before they were relegated back to the Hoofdklasse. However, this setback didn’t deter UNA who won back their place at the first attempt under the leadership of Mark Schenning.

VV UNA will play in Topklasse Zontag (Sunday) in the 2013-14 season.

My visit

Tuesday 21st January 2014

My adventure over a long weekend around matches and football clubs of Holland was coming to an end. My last bus ride out of Eindhoven saw me catch the no.15 service to Julianastraat in Veldhoven and then walk around the corner to Sportlaan.

The entrance to Sportpark Zeelst was unfortunately locked, but the views were still good of the impressive venue, which had hard standing all the way around as well as lots of raised advertising hoardings, which gave the impression of a well run club. The grandstand was a decent sized structure down the far side, with the clubhouse and facilities all behind the near goal.

With my task complete it was time to take the bus back from close to UNA’s former home, back towards Eindhoven and one last club before heading to the airport.

No comments:

Post a Comment