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

Lye Town

Lye Town FC is a non league football club formed in 1930 as Lye & Wollescote FC. Lye is a small suburban town a couple of miles from Stourbridge and around eleven miles west of Birmingham.

Within a year or so the football club took on its present mantle and became members of the Worcestershire Combination, where after ending up as runners-up on a couple of occasions, they were crowned champions in 1935-36.

Following the end of World War Two, ‘The Flyers’ joined the Birmingham and District League. They remained in the competition until it was renamed the West Midlands (Regional) League in 1962. Three years later Town were placed in the Premier Division following extension to the league.

Lye went agonisingly close to winning the league title in 1976-77, 1978-79, 1979-80 and 1980-81 when on each occasion they ended the season as runners-up. The wait for the championship came to an end in 1997-98 when the trophy ended up at the Sports Ground.

Fifteen years later Lye once again ended the league campaign in second place, but they were not to be denied in the following 2013-14 season as they won the crown for the second time. This time the win resulted in promotion to the newly reformed Midland League.

Lye Town FC will play in the Midland League Premier Division in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Monday 4th August 2014

It was a glorious summer’s day and I was fortunate to be spending a day off doing something I loved, as I adventured in new places visiting new places and football clubs as well as trying the occasional beer or two!

After the early part of the afternoon had been spent at Aston Villa and Walsall, I was now in full non league mode. After refreshments in Birmingham city centre, I’d taken a wonderful train journey to Stourbridge, where I’d visited the town’s football club.

The no.9 bus had dropped me in Lye at the stop on the by pass. Within five minutes I’d walked along the main A458 and found myself at the gates of the Sports Ground. Unusually I’d failed to do much research ahead of my trip, so I was surprised to find that both the football and towns cricket club shared the facility, the same as at Stourbridge.

The gate was open to the cricket ground, so I entered and walked round the boundary past the football clubhouse and facilities to the large barrel roofed terrace behind the neat goal. It was a bit of a relic from the past, and not unlike a smaller version of the old Cowshed at Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

Another stand with seating ran along the far touchline, with open sections either side. A grass bank enclosed the far end behind the goal, which ran all the way along to the cricket pavilion in the top corner.

Once more, it pointed to days gone by where common sense prevailed and the towns sports ground was used all the year round, with several players no doubt playing both sports at the same venue.

One of the perils of good brisk walks interspersed with food and drink on my groundhopping travels was the sudden need for toilet facilities. On walking to the ground I had passed two pubs on the crossroads. I made my way as quickly as I could to the first of them.

It was really a case of double delight. The pub had a good clean facility with the added comfort of soft paper. Even better it had its own brewery attached. I will forever fondly remember the Windsor Castle Inn and Sadlers Brewery.

I had a fine pint of session ale that could easily have become two or three. However, I still wanted to visit the venue of Cradley Town before the highlight of the day; the Pre Season Friendly between Halesowen Town and Hednesford Town.

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