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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

VfL Benrath 06 (Germany)

VfL Benrath 06 e.V. is a sports club with a strong football section from Benrath, a suburb of Dusseldorf in the north west of Germany, who were formed in 1906.

Benrath came to prominence in the 1930’s as they competed in the top two regional tiers. The club were crowned Westdeutscher Pokalsieger champions in 1932 and 1933 after progressing to the final rounds of the German championship in 1930 before losing out to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Under Trainer Sepp Kretschmann, Benrath won the Gauligameister Niederrhein in 1934 and 1935 as they continued to be the areas leading club. Schalke 04 ended the clubs dreams in the final round of 1934, while they went down 4-2 in the semi-finals the following year against VfL Stuttgart.

Such was the status of the club that when Germany defeated Luxemburg 9-1 in a 1934 World Cup Qualifier, seven of the goals were shared between Benrath’s Karl Hohmann and Josef Rasselnberg.

In 1939 Benrath left the Gauliga but returned in 1941 where they remained until 1945. It was the start of a gradual decline at the club although they were Deutscher Amateurmeister (Amatuer Champions) in 1957 under Trainer Franz Linken.

The club descended into local district football competition but began their rise again in 2009 to reach the fifth tier Oberliga Niederrhein by 2012 before they dropped back down to the Niederrhein Landesliga.

VfL Benrath 06 will play in the Niederrhein Landesliga Gruppe 1 in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Sunday 1st March 2015

For the second time in 2015 I decided to make the most of my Sunday off work. After a brilliant day out in Turin and Milan, I decided it was time to head to one of my favourite city’s.

My early morning flight from Stanstead deposited me at Bonn/Koln Airport slightly ahead of schedule. My destination via Düsseldorf was to be the Bundesliga clash in nearby Mönchengladbach between Borussia and  SC Paderborn 07.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay over and take advantage of my late start at work the following day as it was my turn to head off for my retraining on the company’s Fit for the Future plan. It’s fair to say I wasn’t massively looking forward to it; not least as I really fancied a night out in Düsseldorf’s Aldstadt, but hey ho.

While it’s fair to say I’m a fan of German ales and pubs, I most certainly didn’t want to be in one all day. With this in mind I made plans to get the most out of my limited time. While I could find no early kick offs to marry up a ‘double’ the Karl-Hohmann-Straße home of VfL Benrath grabbed my attention when doing research.

Because I had a match ticket and the German’s recognise the importance of football fans, I only needed a train ticket to Benrath as the rest of my journey to the game was all inclusive with the already cheap ticket. It was a stark reminder of how we are taken for a ride, and a bloody expensive one at that, in the UK.

Alighting at Düsseldorf-Benrath station I quickly realised I’d left my Scarborough Athletic woolly hat on the train and the weather was cold if bright. I rung Dad to chat over Boro’s game the previous day and to see how the turn had gone at the Railway Club. It made the walk through the pretty enough little town go quicker.

The final bit of the walk meant a footpath over the dual carriageway to the grounds of the sports club. The gates by the clubhouse were open so in I went. The main arena was flanked by two other pitches; the first with an asphalt surface and the far one with a 3G pitch with club offices, changing facilities and a café on the approach.

Despite the main pitch having a running track around it, I was impressed. It was a typical German arena of the 1950’s onwards. The one covered stand ran down most of one side, with several rows of open terracing running down the opposite side and behind the far end curve.

Having got all the photos I required I headed off as several of Benrath’s youth teams players began to arrive. This is where my plans went a little array.

As it was a nice day and I loved my walks, I decided to follow the path for the best part of a couple of miles through some lovely scenery to Niederheid tram stop, only to find out that there wasn’t a service for quite some time. There was a tram due back to the station so I plumped for that option. While I enjoyed the ride in a very pleasant area, time was getting the better of me.

Even worse was to follow as I got on a slow stopping train into Düsseldorf in frustration at the late running fast service; which promptly hurtled past us a few seconds after we departed Düsseldorf-Benrath!

I’d guess that there may be occasion for me to find myself in Düsseldorf at some point in the future. If I do, I’ll look out for Benrath’s fixtures in case I can fit it in between more prominent fixtures.

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