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

C.D. Mafra (Portugal)

Clube Desportivo Mafra is a football club from the town of Mafra, which is located around thirty miles north west of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The football club were formed on May 24th 1965.

Initially the club started out life competing in the regional Associação de Futebol de Lisboa leagues from their Campo Doutor Mário Silveira. The club built a good youth foundation and eventually progressed to the national leagues after winning the Campeonato Distrital Divisão Honra in 1991-92.

Following several seasons in the third and then fourth tier Terceira Divisão after restructuring, CD Mafra were promoted to the third level Segunda Divisão B for 2002-03. Three seasons later the league was changed to Segunda Divisão.

The team pushed on in the right direction and finished as runners-up in both 2010-11 and 2012-13. The third tier was renamed Campeonato Nacional de Seniores for the 2013-14 campaign, with the new title being good to Mafra.

The team finished top of the regional Serie F before falling short in the promotion round. However, it was to be a different story in 2014-15 as Mafra finished the regular season in second spot before winning the south group promotion round.

Mafra were promoted to the second tier Segunda Liga for the 2015-16, while moving home first team matches to the Estádio Municipal de Mafra.

CD Mafra will play in Segunda Liga in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Saturday 13th February 2015

Sometimes my groundhopping trips have been known to go not exactly to plan, but bring great hilarity to my mates who shake their heads in disbelief. The afternoon out in Mafra ranks right up there with the best of them. It was a lesson in always double checking all information before you set off.

Everything had been planned and was going well. My tour of the Estádio Alvalade was good and I’d found the stop to Mafra over the road at Campo Grande. I had plenty of time to kill, as I didn’t want to arrive too early in such wet weather.

My plan was to take the 1.45 express bus. As time got closer I examined the timetable and using my Google translate tool on my IPhone I realised that it only ran on school days! Eventually the driver got back onto the bus and pulled in for us to depart at 2.15.

This was pushing it tight and I realised that I’d probably miss kick off, but not to worry. I paid €7.20 for a return ticket and even had a quick nap once we’d climbed out of Lisbon’s northern suburbs. Once I woke I became concerned. The mist and fog was getting thicker all the time.

It was so bad when we got to Mafra that the driver had to tell us that we’d arrived. Normally the giant Mafra National Palace would have dominated the scene. It was over the road but it was nigh on invisible. Would the match be on?

I went slightly off track going down the wrong road of two heading down to the club. I soon corrected myself and went round the corner onto R Serpa Pinto, hearing shouts and the referees whistle coming out of Campo Doutor Mário Silveira. Everything was going to be alright!

Or so I thought. The gate was open and although there were a few fans near the entrance, there was no football taking place on the main grass pitch. The noise was coming from the artificial surface alongside where a junior match was taking place.

This is where I should have immediately asked or checked the internet, but I simply put it down to the Segunda Liga match against Braga II being postponed. It would be several hours before I noticed that Mafra had won that particular game 1-0, but it had been played at Estádio Municipal de Mafra, a further ten minutes walk away.

The weather was so grim it would have been awkward to find the other venue in any case. I decided to take some photos of the club’s traditional home and have a good look around.

Like many Portuguese venues it was built into a hill. The main side had open terrace, then a covered stand across half way and then a large cover, that was used by maintenance and the groundsman. The far end had the changing rooms and club buildings. The far side had a couple of steps of terracing with the second pitch next to it. That pitch had a fine open terraced raised high above the pitch. The entrance end consisted of flat open standing.

Further problems arrived when my phone started to cut out, depite there being plenty of battery left. Something similar had happened to me in New York when at another inadvertent game at Fordham Rams. I tried several times to get it back in action but it cut out again.

Cutting my losses I headed back to the bus stop. I had time to kill so I had a Super Bock while lamenting my luck. I tried to explain to the fellas behind the counter what had happened while we watched the Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao match on TV. That must have confused them!

The fog had cleared so much that I could see the walls of the palace over the road. I thought that I’d got the camera on my phone to work, but it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t too upset when the bus appeared in the gloom. I drifted off and woke up at the terminus.

Rather than go back to my apartment and get changed to go back out, I headed for Rossio where I knew there was an English pub nearby. The young lady in the information booth sent me on the right way, and despite getting another soaking I found The George and snaffled the one spare seat at the bar.

I had a really nice conversation with a fella over from Bristol while watching the Wales v Scotland rugby and I caught up with all the football results and Chelsea hammering Newcastle United. A few pints and a good chat with several in the bar put me back on the right track.

The rest of the evening was spent wandering down to the waterfront before calling in at several bars along the way. By the time I got back I was tired and emotional, but able to laugh at the day’s fiasco; even then I found out that the game had gone ahead!

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