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, November 26, 2015

Sporting Bengal United

Sporting Bengal United FC is a non-league football club based in Mile End in the east of London who were formed in 1996 to encourage Asian football in the capital.

Sporting is operated by the Bangladesh Football Association (UK) and players are selected from the Sunday league clubs which are affiliated to that organisation. They began life in the London Intermediate League, before gaining admission to the Kent League in 2003.

In 2010 the Bangladesh Football Federation selected United players Sadiq Sarwar and Shahed Ahmed to represent their country at the 2010 South Asian Games.

The club were transferred to the Essex Senior League for the 2011-12 season, as they reached the third round of the FA Vase.

Sporting Bengal United FC will play in the Essex Senior League in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Sporting Bengal United 1 Sleaford Town 3: after extra time (Saturday 21st November 2015) FA Vase Round Two (att: approx. 50)

It was the day after my fiftieth birthday and I had felt considerably better. My anniversary had been spent in great company at Ascot Races and then in Camden Town, but I was now really feeling the effects. 

My brother Nick was heading down on the train as we were heading to Germany the next day to meet up with Paul; our other sibling. I headed across to St Pancras to meet him and to find somewhere warm. It was a bitter day, with a strong wind.

We headed to the Pavilion End, a Fuller’s pub we’d looked up near to St Pauls. Top of the table Hull City were live on Sky TV at Bristol City in the lunchtime kick off. The problem we had was to find somewhere showing it as the BT offering was Watford against Manchester United.

The staff put our game on in the corner of the quiet pub as I struggled with a couple of drinks. Nick was great company and keeping me going. City should have won on the way the game panned out, but it ended 1-1. At full time we went to Mansion House only to find engineering works on the District line.

We had to change trains at Monument to bank, which was like a maze under the city streets. Eventually we found the correct Central line platform for a train to Mile End. A bus was stuck at the traffic lights on the crossroads as we left the station on Burdett Road. We jumped on for a couple of stops to Eric Street as we had our luggage.

Despite all the hold ups we walked across the park as the teams were lining up for a minutes silence in tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. Admission was through the leisure centre building and cost £6. The programme was a further £1.50.

We took up a place in the stand to try and keep out of the wind. The stadium hadn’t changed since my previous visit to a Bethnal Green United game as Tower Hamlets were called at the time, a few years previously; which can be viewed here.  

The visitors from Lincolnshire had a few vocal supporters. United had invited lots of young kids as mascots who screamed out encouragement.

It appeared that Sleaford would be more suited to the conditions and state of the pitch, which had been used by Tower Hamlets the previous evening. They were of a stronger build and started with real purpose.

Ryan Oliver put the United Counties League side in front after just six minutes when he finished a cross. Sporting Bengal gradually got into the game and created one or two chances as the game opened up. Under the circumstances it was reasonable fare.

Just before half time we went to the small cold shed and bought a coffee each. Food was restricted to crisps and chocolate bars. It was better than nothing. The scores from elsewhere kept us entertained over the break.

Following the interval it became apparent that the wind was playing a part in the game. Although Sleaford still looked more than capable of scoring, the home side also created chances. A corner fell at the feet of Tunde Adewunmi who fired home.

Despite several more chances at each end, the game ended level at 1-1 at the end of ninety minutes. Despite home fans and officials shouting that the game was going to extra time, we were not the only ones calling it a day. We were just too cold and tired.

Instead of hanging about, we crossed over Rhodeswell Road and caught a bus to Bethnal Green and then a tube back to Bank to return to The Pavilion End.

The pub was a lot busier as they were showing both Manchester City v Liverpool and Real Madrid v Barcelona. We enjoyed a lovely meal while watching two hilarious home defeats. Meanwhile I found out via Twitter that Sleaford had come out victorious at Mile End Stadium thanks to further goals from Oliver and Bradley Hockin.

Nick and I headed to Blackfriars station for a train down to Gatwick where we enjoyed a couple of drinks before a good nights sleep at the Premier Inn to prepare for our morning flight to Berlin.


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