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, August 9, 2014


Dorking FC is a non league football club who represent the Surrey market town, which is located twenty one miles south of Central London. The club was formed in 1880, becoming the second oldest in the county.

For many years Dorking played friendly matches and in local competition before entering the Surrey County Senior League as founder members in 1922. ‘The Chicks’ took their nickname from the towns cockerel emblem played its games at Pixham Lane, before moving to a new ground at Meadowbank in 1956.

Later that year Dorking moved to compete in to the Corinthian League, before progressing to the Athenian League in 1963. In 1974 the club merged with homeless neighbours Guildford City to form Guildford & Dorking United FC while remaining at Meadowbank.

The merger didn’t work, leading to the club folding mid season a couple of campaigns later. A new club Dorking Town were quickly formed to complete the fixtures before they dropped down to the Surrey Senior League for the 1977-78 season. By 1983 the club secured a place in the Isthmian League and reverted to its Dorking FC title.

In 1989 Dorking won the Isthmian League Division Two South championship, going on the following year to reach the final of the Surrey Senior Cup for the first time in 104 years, but they were defeated in the showpiece.

The 1992-93 season saw the good times continue at Meadowbank as The Chicks fought their way to an FA Cup First Round appearance. Peter Shilton’s Plymouth Argyle side left Surrey with a 3-2 victory. Dorking also won promotion to the Premier Division at the conclusion of the season.

However, the club then hit a downward spiral. Relegations in 1994, 1995 and 1997 saw the club back in Division Three, which was consequently, renamed Division Two upon reorganisation.  

In 2004 Dorking finished as runners up and won promotion, but went back down the following year. By 2006 the club went further down the pyramid to join the Combined Counties League. Things turned worse a couple of years later when they were relegated down to Division One of the competition.

The club regrouped and regained their Premier Division place at the first attempt. However, they found themselves at the lower grade once more in 2013 after finishing bottom of the table. Worse was to follow as Meadowbank was shut down by the local council due to health and safety concerns during the 2013-14 season, leaving the club to use several venues as ‘home’ grounds to enable The Chicks to complete the season.

At this point a new consortium of businessmen and local football people took over the reigns of the club and set it up as a Community Interest Company run on an entirely voluntary basis, ensuring that any profits would go back into ventures to benefit the community. This ensured free football and coaching for local juniors and the redevelopment of Meadowbank.

While work took place, Dorking agreed a groundshare to play at The New Defence, home of neighbours Horley Town for the 2014-15 season as the team reverted to their original colours of green and red stripes with former coaching staff rejoining as local businesses began sponsorship.

Dorking FC will play in the Combined Counties League Division One in the 2014-15 season.

My visit

Friday 3rd November 2006

With the day off work I decided to get into the mood for the following day when I was travelling north to watch Scarborough play at Droylsden by visiting some new venues.

Having missed my intended train from London Bridge I relaxed before catching the 10am service to Dorking. A ten minute brisk walk through the pretty town saw me at Meadowbank, where a club official was working on the ground.

It was an impressive venue, if showing signs of age. The entrance side had an old Main Stand with red tip up seats, with changing rooms one side and other facilities on the other. A small cover further up the touchline offered protection to standing spectators. The far end had a long low cover right along the goal line. The other end had a couple of steps in the open with grass beyond. The final side had another low cover in the centre, with the dug outs in front. Open standing was either side.

Rather than taking a train back towards the metropolis I found that a bus service ran from near to the railway station to drop me very close to Leatherhead FC; my next destination.

Meadowbank certainly had something about it, and I fully intended to return on a match day.

To read about The Chicks and see photos while they were tenants at Horley Town, go to http://worldgroundhop.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Horley%20Town

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