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, April 19, 2014

Lancaster City

Lancaster City FC is a non league football club from the pretty county town of Lancashire of the same name. The club came into being in 1911 as Lancaster Town FC after Lancaster Athletic had led the way from 1905 following a meeting at the town’s Temperance Hall.

Town joined the second division of the Lancashire Combination, where the previous club had also plied their trade. After securing promotion the club won the league title in 1921-22, 1929-30, 1934-35 and 1935-36 as well as finishing runners up on another couple of occasions. They also twice reached the first round of the FA Cup during this period. In 1937 the club became Lancaster City after the granting of the Royal Charter to Lancaster.

City remained in the Lancashire Combination until 1970 when they joined the Northern Premier League for the 1970-71 campaign. At the end of the 1981-82 season City resigned from the league owing to financial reasons and joined the newly formed North West Counties League as a Division One club.

Lancaster suffered relegation in 1985, before they regrouped and rejoined the extended Northern Premier League for 1987-88. Under the stewardship of Alan Tinsley City won Division One in 1995-96 and were promoted to the Premier Division. Following restructuring of non league football ‘The Dolly Blues’ found themselves placed in the newly formed Conference North for the 2004-05 campaign.

Further financial troubles hit the club in 2006-07, which led to the club entering administration and being deducted ten points. As a consequence City restructured and placed in Division One North of the Northern Premier League. Tony Hesketh returned for a second spell in charge of the team at the end of the 2008-09 season.

The next season saw City reach the Play Off Final, but they lost the promotion showdown 1-0 to Colwyn Bay at The Giant Axe. After finishing just outside the play off places for two consecutive seasons, Hesketh left the club 2012 to be replaced by joint bosses Neil Wainwright and Michael Stringfellow. However, after the club cut the playing budget in February 2013 the pair departed. The new manager appointed in April 2013 was former Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers star Darren Peacock.

Peacock and his assistant Trevor Sinclair departed in September 2015 after a disappointing start to the new season to be replaced by former player Philip John Brown.

Lancaster City FC will play in the Northern Premier League Division One North in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Friday 18th April 2014

My visit to Lancaster City came completely by chance on a stunning Good Friday early afternoon. I was on my way to see the match between Morecambe and Scunthorpe United. When planning the day I noted that The Giant Axe was a couple of hundred metres from Lancaster railway station. As I had thirty minutes to kill I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to pop down and take some photos.

An exit from the station conveniently brought me out onto the playing field adjoining the ground, so I walked down the hill. I was delighted to find the gate in the far corner open as a couple of gents worked on the pitch ahead of their home against Padiham the following day.

The Giant Axe had been the clubs home since its formation. Before the football ground became fully enclosed the whole fields staged cricket and tennis as well as football. The name came about because when the exterior wall was viewed from above, it resembled the same shape as an axe head.

The ground had been modernised over the years. The neat main seated John Bagguley Stand stood back from the pitch down one side. Further up stood the changing rooms as well as the bar, refreshments and other facilities. Opposite was the Long Side, a small open terrace with the dug outs, directors lounge and a raised sponsors box and TV gantry with Lancaster Castle in the background at the other side of the railway. At the far end The Shed contained a low covered terrace. At the entrance end was the modern open West Road Terrace. It was a very smart set up.

I left a happy man to have visited such a neat stadium, especially as it was unexpected until a day or so before. The whole town looked very nice. Perhaps one day I would return for a match and a proper look?

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