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

Friday, November 27, 2015

SD Croatia Berlin (Germany)

SD Croatia Berlin is a semi-professional football club from the German capital of Berlin. The club was formed in 1972 as NK Croatia Berlin before being renamed NK Hajduk Berlin in 1985.

The club, which was formed for Croatian immigrants continued to grow before amalgamating with SC Bratsvo 1971 Berlin to become SC Bratsvo-Hajduk Berlin in 1987. In 1988 three smaller clubs; NK Livno, NK Velebit, NK Dinamo joined up, before two years later on the 14th January 1989 a merger with SV Croatia 1987 produced SD Croatia Berlin.

By then the club had lifted the fourth tier Oberliga Nordost, Staffel Nord title in 1988 to reach the third tier Regionalliga Nordost, before being relegated after just one season. 

The club then suffered a succession of relegations from the Verbandsliga Berlin in 2001 and the Landesliga Berlin in 2003, to the seventh tier Bezirksliga Berlin. Further promotions and relegations took place at SD before the Bezirksliga Berlin was won in 2013. This was followed up in 2015 when the Landesliga crown was lifted to gain a place in the sixth tier Berlin-Liga.

SD Croatia Berlin will play in the Berlin-Liga in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Sunday 11th October 2015

While I am most certainly guilty of cramming in as much as I can into any city visit, I was probably pushing my luck heading to Tempelhof for a look at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stadion. My train to Leipzig would be departing from the Haubptbanhof at 10.52 and it was now getting on for 9.30.

My train from Messe Sud Eichkamp meant I needed to go upstairs for a circular line S42 service. On alighting at Tempelhof I knew vaguely where the stadium was, but I was trusting to luck a little bit.

I marched down Tempelhof Dam, spotting another UBahn station ahead, which I stored for later knowledge. It was a stunning day and I was in a lovely area. Taking a right down Borussiastrasse I was sure I was heading in the right direction although I couldn’t see a gap in the buildings.

My stroke of luck came via a map on a bus stop at Berlinickeplatz. Sure enough I was only a short walk away, but time was marching on. Heading down Burchardstrasse at near jogging pace, I found myself at the park which the stadium sat in. The gates were open so in I went.

The actual entrance to the stadium was locked, but I could see inside adequately for photos. Before I visited, I was pretty sure that the stadium hosted the matches of FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin. Well I was nearly right. It staged the Junior matches for Viktoria. However it was the main venue for SD Croatia Berlin.

It had a good section of open terracing down one side with a small covered seated stand in the centre. The other three sides around the running track had a couple of steps of terrace with grass banking beyond. The clubhouse and facilities were behind the south curve.

Walkers were strolling around the track, showing just how a community facility should be used. A youth player in a tracksuit asked me a question in German. I hadn’t a clue what he said, but from his mutterings he’d either arrived at the wrong ground or he was sick of foreigners. Maybe both?

Whatever, if I didn’t get a move on we’d both have problems. I decided to take the Bosestrasse behind the south end, which led into Parkstrasse. It was at this point I became concerned. The buildings gave way to parkland. A local nodded when I pointed straight ahead and said “UBahn?” I prayed that they were being honest!

Soon I was into Lehnepark and could see the main road ahead. On the left up the road was the station I’d seen up ahead around thirty minutes earlier. Alt Tempelhof was a sight for sore eyes on the U6 line.

The ride was spent clock watching. It was going to be tight, especially when we waited at Hallesches Tor for a connecting train. I must have looked like some kind of nutter to my other passengers before we were on our way. We went past the stop for Checkpoint Charlie and thankfully eventually Friedrichstrasse, where I bolted from the train and eventually got upstairs after a helpful local sent me in the right direction.

Upstairs I got some very angry looks from the station security staff, to who I apologise unreservedly if they’re reading this piece. I empathised greatly with them and I too hate idiots who hold the doors open. Thankfully I let go and the train departed, in the wrong direction for me!

My S5 train arrived at 10.40. My heartbeat was slowly reducing as we pulled into the main station a few minutes later. I knew I had to go down two levels to Platform 2, but I was confident I knew what I was doing.

Sure enough I was stood waiting for a couple of minutes as the Leipzig service pulled in. What was all the fuss about? My first move once I’d secured a seat was to pay well over the odds at the buffet car for some snacks, but it was worth every cent.

You never see anything if you don’t make an effort!

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