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, February 25, 2016

Casa Pia A.C. (Portugal)

Casa Pia Atlético Clube is a sports association based in the district of Monsanto in the northern suburbs of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon who were formed on July 3rd 1920. The association has sections for futsal, handball, karate, gymnastics, weightlifting, hockey, table tennis, wrestling and fishing as well as football, which is covered below.

The club is named after the Portuguese children’s charity; Casa Pia, with the Estádio Pina Manique football stadium being named after the founder of the charity. Of the eighteen founders of the club, Mario da Silva Marques would become Portugal’s first ever Olympic swimmer, while António Pinho would play in Portugal’s first ever football international.

The club were immediately a success as the completed a double of the Distrital de Lisboa e Taça Associação in 1920-21 as well as travelling north to defeat FC Porto, before the national championship was inaugurated.

The team travelled abroad as pioneers to compete in tournaments in Paris, San Sebastian and Seville. The club were a big name in the world of football as they continued to spread their name. They were invited to open the new stadium of Vitória F.C. in Setúbal along with Atletico CP’s Restilo home. In 1925 Casa Pia opened the Estádio das Amoreiras, defeating hosts SL Benfica 2-0.

In 1938-39 Casa Pia became founder members of the national Primeira Divisão, finishing in eighth place before returning to Lisbon football.

The club lost its own home venue due to the staging of the Exposição do Mundo Português exhibition in 1940. The club were forced to become tenants at various venues around the city; Salésias (for training), FNAT in Belém, Cascalheira, Campolide, Santo Amaro, and Estrela da Amadora.

In 1954 the club moved to Monsanto to the newly constructed Estádio Pina Manique. Promotion was won to the national second tier Segunda Divisão in 1964-65 before slipping back to district football. A further elevation came in 1991-92 as Casa Pia played in the Terceira Divisão.

The team won the Série F regional division in 1993-94 and won promotion to the Segunda Divisão, the second level of Portuguese football of the day. They remained at that level until the conclusion of the 1997-98 season when the club were relegated back to the third tier.

A consecutive relegation saw Casa Pia in the fourth tiered Terceira Divisão after league re-organisation and renaming. The club regrouped and went back up to Segunda Divisão after winning their division in 1999-00.

The run at the third tier lasted three seasons before the club went back down to Terceira Divisão in 2002-03. Showing great resolution Casa Pia won promotion back to the third level at the first attempt before dropping down once again two years later. The 2009-10 campaign saw another elevation to the Segunda Divisão before going straight back down.

After further league re-organisation Casa Pia were placed in Serie G of the newly formed third tier 2013–14 Campeonato Nacional de Seniores (later renamed the Campeonato de Portugal). They club came close to winning promotion to the second tier Liga Pro at the end of the 2014-15 season, but they went down 2-1 on aggregate in the play-offs against Varzim.

Casa Pia AC will play in the Campeonato de Portugal Serie G in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Saturday 13th February 2016

The rain was still in the air from the night before as I made myself a bite to eat in my Alfama apartment in Lisbon’s old town. Quite sensibly I’d had an early night as I wanted to be out and about and visiting some more football venues after the really encouraging start at Moscavide and Sacavenense the previous afternoon.

I took a ten minutes walk to Terreiro Paco, which was the first bit of sightseeing of the day in the impressive square. Lisbon really did have some superb architecture at an early glance. I saw the 711 bus at the stop and ran across to get on. The driver tried to explain something, but realised we had a language barrier.

We set off in the wrong direction and I was a bit concerned until it transpired he was heading to the terminus before setting off in the right direction. All was good. We returned to Terreiro Paco on the way out towards Alto da Damaia.

The first part of the route was like a sightseeing tour all of its own as we passed squares and monuments. The Portuguese were certainly not scared of honouring their heroes. We travelled gradually uphill along the plush Avenida da Liberdade to the Praça do Marques de Pombal monument before we headed north west on the main Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco.

It was not long before we reached the huge green space of Parque Florestal de Monsanto. The forest park made it feel like we were out in the country with its winding roads. I was glad to have my map app on my phone to keep me right. Sure enough as soon as we left at the other side, the floodlights of Estádio Pina Manique were straight in front of us.

Although in hindsight I got off a stop early, I had soon worked out my way to the entrance to the stadium, with a sign over the road confirming this. A coach was in the open courtyard with the gates to the stadium also open. This was great news.

I passed a monument to the founding fathers of the club and went past some of the backroom staff loading the coach for an away match, most probably for the juniors. I used sign language and tried to explain that I just wanted to take some photos. All was fine.

It was easy to imagine a packed Estádio Pina Manique in years gone by, and even though it had obviously seen batter days, it was still impressive. There was a disused shale running track around the pitch, with both ends and one side having grass banking, where once there may have well being spectator accommodation. The main side, with all the facilities behind, had a long section of steep stepped terracing with a roof in the centre. Best of all, it had four old fashioned corner floodlight pylons.

There appeared to be a café up in the top corner, and although a warm drink might have been good, I had a schedule to adhere to. I returned to the same bus stop as I’d alighted to save any confusion. I was about to have plenty of that as the day continued.

Once again, a previously unheard of club and venue had come up trumps. I really was enjoying Lisbon!

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