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 their maintenance.

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 fortunate 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 heightens 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 try today. They'll be delighted 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. Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby as he grows into a young man!

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


November 2018

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Camelon Juniors

Camelon Juniors FC is a Scottish non-league football club from the large settlement of Camelon, which is on the western outskirts of Falkirk in the Central Lowlands. The football club was formed in 1920, when Camelon was a busy shipping port on the Forth and Clyde Canal, hence the club nickname of ‘The Mariners’.

The club immediately joined the Stirlingshire Junior Association, with ‘Junior’ relating to club status rather than age group. Without a home ground of their own, Camelon progressed to the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup at the first attempt before being defeated by Wishaw.

The club committee soon realised that they needed a home ground of their own, as they were having to play ‘home’ ties as far away as Bo’ness and Stirling. After a proposed venue at Larbert Road fell through, a local farmer Mr George Strang, offered the club some land on the north bank of the canal after he heard many of the team had been in the army.

Carmuirs Park was named after the farm on which the ground was prepared, and allowed Camelon to progress. Future Scotland, Rangers and Falkirk goalkeeper Jerry Dawson started his career with the club before moving to Ibrox in 1929.

The team competed in the Stirlingshire, Intermediate and Lothian Leagues, while a fine run in 1952 saw the Mariners reach the final of the Scottish Junior Cup, where they were defeated 1-0 by Kilbirnie Ladeside at Hampden Park.

Following the re-organisation of Junior football, Camelon became members of the East Region of the Scottish JFA. The team went of to become champions of East Region Division One in 1979-80 and again in 1993-94. Kevin McAllister started his career at the club in the early 80’s before enjoying a fine career with Falkirk, Chelsea and Hibernian.

Success followed in the 1994-95 season as Camelon retained their league title as well as defeating Whitburn 2-0 to lift the Scottish Junior Cup. The Mariners returned to the final the following season, but they were defeated 2-0 by Tayport after extra time.

Around this period the Football Trust gave a grant to build a covered enclosure in front of the pavilion to further enhance the impressive Carmuirs Park arena. The team went on to become Lothian District League Division One winners in 2003–04 and 2005–06 before progressing to the SJFA East Region Super League.

In December 2010 the former Linlithgow Rose stalwart Danny Smith was appointed as Camelon manager. The remained in charge before the lure of managing his former club tempted him away in March 2014. Former Ayr United player John Sludden came in as Smith’s replacement.

Camelon Juniors FC will play in the SJFA East Superleague in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Sunday 17th January 2016

With a ticket for the Falkirk against Hibernian Championship clash secured, I set about having a look as to also visit any nearby Junior clubs while in the area. Falkirk Juniors were located at Grangemouth Stadium, which didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm. However, Camelon was a different matter.

I had almost visited for an end of season clash after night shifts a year or two previously along with a look at the Falkirk Wheel, but something else came up. I wasn’t going to waste a second opportunity to visit Carmuirs Park.

It was a cold lunchtime when I alighted from the train after spending the previous night in Edinburgh. Snow had fallen the day before, with many matches being abandoned mid way through. Indeed, my afternoon match at Falkirk was only spared because of the artificial pitch and the hard work of some brilliant volunteers to clear it along with the surrounding areas.

It was just a five minute walk to the ground from the station. The hill on Carmuirs Street offered a decent view across the pitch to the far side. All the gates into the ground looked to be locked. As a rule I have a look to see if there any views from elsewhere, but on this occasion I entered into the social club adjoining the ground on Fairlie Drive.

The locals working inside the club getting it ready for opening time were warm and friendly. They went out of their way to try and find the key to get me inside the ground. I was even offered a cuppa! After many attempts they finally admitted defeat and apologised profusely. What lovely folk!

Not to be beaten I walked around the corner and found a gate with railings, so I could see clearly inside and take some snaps of the impressive snow covered venue.

The near end looked to have open terracing behind the goal, with the far end a grass bank. The near side had terracing along the length of the pitch, with a decent cover between the penalty areas. The opposite side had more open terracing with another cover, not quite as long as the other, with the pavilion and facilities behind. There were no seats or floodlights.

The far corner had another similar gate, so I took some shots from there, which arose some curiosity from a small gathering on the canal bank; particularly from one bloke clutching a can of beer.

“Hey big man. Are you the new forward for Camelon Juniors” he shouted. I replied that I wish I was fit enough. It seemed to get a decent response. I was on my way, but he kept shouting. I acknowledged but kept walking. I’m not entirely sure what advice was being offered but it was growing slightly menacing!

I checked to see if any buses were due into Falkirk as I was ahead of time for my intended train. It certainly wasn’t a day to be sitting about. A little idea came to me. I decided that if a train was due to Larbert, I’d take it and go for a look at Stenhousemuir’s Ochilview Park.

My luck was in. The Dublane service was arriving in a couple of minutes. I jumped on board for a bonus adventure, with a sense that I may well return for a match at Carmuirs Park.

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