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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

National Stadium Singapore

The National Stadium in Singapore forms part of the Sports Hub and was opened in June 2014 to replace the old National or Kallang Stadium.

The old place had been opened in July 1973 with a capacity of 55,000. It held many major events over the years including the Southeast Asian Games, National Day Parades and many major concerts featuring the likes of Davis Bowie, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Elton John as well as a visit from Pope John Paul II.

However, it was football that the stadium was most famous for. The Singapore national team played their matches there, as well as it staging the Singapore Cup Final from 1996 until its closure. Singapore Lions who played in the Malaysian Premier League from 1921 to 1994, winning the Malaysian Cup on many occasions with the legendary ‘Kallang Roar’ greeting the home side.

The ASEAN Football Championship in 2007 was the last major event held at the stadium before its official closure in June 2007. However yet another eleven matches were held at Kallng; the last on the 6th January 2010 as Iran defeated Singapore 3-1 in an Asian Cup qualifier.

Demolition took place in 2010 and 2011, while major events were moved to a temporary stadium at the Marine Bay Floating Platform.

Work on the new stadium was delayed from its original 2008 starting date because of the financial crisis of the time. The stadium forms just part of the Hub which includes the Aquatic Centre, the multi-purpose OCBC Arena, the Singapore Sports Museum, the Sports Hub library, the Kallang Wave shopping mall and the current Singapore Indoor Stadium, as well as a Water Sports Centre at the adjacent Kallang Basin.

The old National Stadium - image taken from the internet

 The stadium has been constructed in such a way that it can stage rectangular sports such as football or rugby as well as cricket and accommodating an athletics track thanks to the retractable seating in the lower tier.

From a distance the stadium looks like a huge dome, with its fully retractable roof which takes twenty five minutes to open. At the time of completion it was the largest dome structure in the world.

All appeared perfect apart from one vital ingredient. The playing surface was awful and led to events being moved to other venues. The pitch simply fell apart during a rugby event and during the Brazil v Italy friendly football international.

My visit

Thursday 29th October 2014

My free bus tour as part of my three day tourist pass was done. Originally I’d intended to stay out and enjoy a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel. The lack of pricing on their website was one deterrent, added to the fact I was not at my most hygienic because of the heat and humidity.

Instead I decided to eat in Chinatown before taking a SMRT train to Stadium station which was more or less under the main arena. Signs pointed to all the different facilities around the Hub. I followed the steps to the reception office in the hope of entering the stadium.

My first view had been a couple of days earlier when alighting from the train at Kallang. It looked like something that had landed from outer space. Despite my research I hadn’t realised that it was so close to my hotel. I simply had to take a closer look.

Unfortunately there were no stadium tours until the weekend. Instead I wandered right round the perimeter grabbing a look through the gates and taking photos wherever I could. The entrances were all well above pitch level.

After a complete lap I took the covered walkway to the junction with Mountbatten Road where I crossed the busy road by footbridge and headed home for a nap and a shower before that evening’s match activities.

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