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, September 7, 2015

SV Stuttgarter Kickers II (Germany)

SV Stuttgarter Kickers II is the reserve team of SV Stuttgarter Kickers from southern Germany. The team is usually made up of players between the ages of eighteen and twenty three with a sprinkling of older experienced players. It is the link between the clubs youth and first team.

The team was formed in 1969. They originally started playing in the highest level of the  three tiered Amateurliga Nordwürttemberg, where they remained until 1974. Kickers II suffered a couple of relegations before the league was disbanded in 1978. 

The team joined the four tiered Verbandsliga Württemberg where they remained until 1987. A couple of runners-up places in 1982 and 1983 were their best return. Three seasons were spend in the Landesliga before returning to the Verbandsliga in 1990.

Promotion to the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg came in 1990-91 but the side lasted just one season at the elevated level before suffering consecutive relegations dropping back to the Landesliga, as the club as a whole hit a slump.

Promotion back to the Verbandsliga came in 1996 with a further elevation to the Oberliga arriving in 2000. In 2010-11 the team finished in sixth position.

SV Stuttgarter Kickers II will play in Oberliga Baden-Württemberg in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Stuttgarter Kickers II 1 FC 08 Villingen 1 (Sunday 16th August 2015) Oberliga Baden-Württemberg (att: 160)

My planned weekend trip to Stuttgart had hit a few snags; not least when I missed my flight and ended up in Strasbourg and arriving in my intended destination over a day late, but this match did not let me down.

I had scoured the fixture list in the weeks leading up to my adventure hoping for a Sunday morning or lunchtime kick off. The football Gods were looking down on me. Kickers II not only played at a decent level, but their 2pm kick off would allow me to get to the main event of the weekend; the Bundesliga clash between VfB Stuttgart and 1.FC Koln in plenty of time.

I must confess to being a bit weary when I got off the U7 tram at Waldau. I was pretty sure I knew where the reserve venue of Bezirkssportanlage was, but I didn’t expect to be able to see into it when I emerged up the station steps. That was most handy! I walked down the path down the side to the gate where a lady was taking admission.

If ever I needed a nudge towards plenty of exercise and sleep, this was surely it. I was charged the reduced admission price of €5. I can only hope that my sky blue Scarborough shirt was mistaken for a Kickers top and I was given the subsidy as a regular. I could but hope!

Admission to the basic venue came with a free teamsheet. The arena had a running track around the excellent playing surface. The only permanent structure was the long low changing rooms and offices block. This had a overhang to offer a little bit of cover. Those already inside were favouring this place. Most supporters were wearing the black and white of the visitors from Villengen. Despite the decent support, some with flags, the teams took to the field in virtual silence. I got my fix by hoofing the misplaced shots of the Kickers hopefuls back onto the pitch after they’d been blazed high and wide of the goal.

Once the game had commenced I decided it was time for some much needed food. I went for the traditional sausage in a bun along with a coffee. It came to €4, and very good it was too.

I expected a decent level of football both from the young hosts looking to impress and perhaps get a game at senior level. Villingen were also up to the task. The pace was fast, with the greasy surface assisting play. The youngish referee; Simon Karcher  of Karlsruhe also seemed pretty good if a little on the dramatic side.

Emmanuel Apler came close for Kickers with a shot across the goal in the early stages. Visiting custodian Daniel Miletic earned his corn with a fine double save while Villingen striker Omar Jatta looked to cause problems to the home rearguard.

Half time seemed to come round quickly, which was perhaps the indication that it had been decent fare. During the interval I went for a walk around the rest of the Waldau site, including a look at Kickers home stadium and the home of SV Eintracht Stuttgart 1896 e,V.

On my return I decided to have a wander around the pitch. As I got behind the far curve, I saw the opening goal. It was a fine effort from Kickers Luca Lippert as he lobbed Miletic from thirty yards to the joy of his team mates. A Daniel Kaiser free kick came close to making it 2-0.

I made my way to the top curve, where many free loaders stood on the path outside the ground and spectated. What a shame they deemed €7 to be too much to help their local club. I sat on a wall behind the goal.

It was as though the action followed me. Joso Kobas in the home net made a fine stop before he was beaten by a clever header by Jatta that looped over him. Villingen pushed on for a winner and the Kickers goal led a charmed life on several occasions.

Both sides spurned good chances to seal a win the closing stages. A fine passing movement from the Kickers side set up unmarked midfielder Marco Koch with an open goal four yards out. Somehow he put it wide. The polite crowd were doing their best to stifle laughter. The shaking of heads broke down the language barrier. It was as bad a miss as I can remember seeing.

Not to be outdone, Gianluca Serpa volleyed wide when free eight yards out at the back post for the balck and whites. It would have been a terrible miss if it had not been for the earlier calamity overshadowing it.

Not long after, the referee blew for full time. I headed off to Waldau to take the U Bahn into town to change for a service to the evening game.

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