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 23, 2015

Geylang International (Singapore)

Geylang International FC is a professional football club in Singapore who were formed as International Contract Specialists (ICS) FC in 1973. Within a year ICS had entered the National League at Division Three level starting out playing at Geylang Field.

In their debut season the Division Three title and Presidents Cup was won leading to support growing for the team, meaning that they had to move games to Jelan Besar or Kallang Stadium as donations came in from well wishers.

In 1975 as Geylang International FC the club were placed in the top tier of the National League, winning the ‘double’ in 1976. Geylang retained the league title the following year with another Presidents Cup coming in a year afterwards.

‘The Eagles’ suffered relegation in 1981, but returned to the top flight after two seasons. Sponsorship started to come arrive for the club in 1984, but despite that they went down once more. This time International bounced straight back. The Premier League was formed in 1988, with Geylang dominating proceedings with six consecutive title wins.

In 1996 the club entered the new S. League as Geylang United FC; going on to win the league and Presidents Cup double at the first attempt. In 2001 Jakbir Khalil’s side won S. League number two. In 2009 The Eagles won their first ever Singapore Cup.

In May 2012, two former players were sent to jail after being found guilty of attempted match fixing. 2013 saw the club return to their Geylang International title and revive their old logo.

A change of emphasis to halt a slide on the pitch led to the recruitment of more foreign players, but it did not work as head coaches came and went as a result. Geylang ended the 2014 season in eighth position under German Head Coach Jorg Peter Steinebrunner.

Geylang International FC will play in the S. League in 2015.

My visit

Wednesday 29th October 2014

The afternoon was getting on as I alighted from Singapore’s SMRT train system at Bedok station. I’d had a fantastic if extremely tiring day in the heat and humidity visiting those accessible S. League venues where I wouldn’t be watching a game throughout my four day stay.

Fortunately the bus stop outside the station had several services stopping outside Bedok Stadium and Sports Complex, to save further punishment on my blistered feet.

Like all other arenas throughout the day, the gates were open to allow easy access for photography. Several locals were asleep in the shade provided by the roof on the long low Main Stand.

There was a long way from the front row to the running track around the pitch, meaning quite a distance to watch football. The far side had open seating as did the curves in temporary form behind the goals.

I walked all the way along behind the stand, with the clubhouse being at the far end. Opposite the arena was the fine Sports Complex housing a swimming complex, sports hall and fitness centre.

As I was struggling, it was a relief when I found a bus to drop me by Aljunied SMRT station so I could have some noodles and chicken with much needed water. Even better was the discovery that another bus would stop close to my hotel, so I could have a siesta and shower before heading out for the evening. It had been a really tiring day out, but really well worth it.

Unfortunately I most of my photos owing to an IT issue, but an official from Geylang kindly forwarded me some images.

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