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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Olympisch Stadion (Amsterdam)

The Olympisch Stadion (Olympic Stadium in English) is a stadium in Amsterdam that was built for the 1928 Summer Olympic Games, designed by architect Jan Wils.

Originally the plan was to extend the Harry Elte Stadium, but the local authority turned down the idea as they wanted the land where it stood to build housing. Instead a brand new stadium to the west of the Harry Elte Stadium was commissioned.

Building work began in January 1926, with Prince Hendrik placing the first ceremonial stone in May 1927. The stadium had a running track, with a banked cycle track of 500m outside the track. The capacity of the single tiered stadium was around 31,50, although an extra 5,900 seats could temporarily added over the cycle track.

The 1928 games saw the burning of the Olympic flame for the first time on top of the Marathon Tower, where electronics company Philips fitted four speakers to broadcast messages. During the games, the stadium hosted the equestrian jumping, field hockey, football, gymnastics and korfball (demonstration) events.

Following the Games Ajax and Blau-Wit shared the stadium for their home games. Ajax moved into their own De Meer Stadion in 1934 but continued to use Olympisch Stadion for bigger matches. It was also used for cycling, speedway, athletics and hockey.

In 1937 an extended second tier was added to the north and south wings to extend the capacity to 64,000. Floodlights were added to the stadium so that Ajax could play their European ties in the stadium, while the Holland national teams staged several international games away from De Kuip in Rotterdam.

In 1962 Olympisch Stadion staged the European Cup Final, in which Benfica defeated Real Madrid 5-3. Ajax hammered Liverpool 5-1 in 1966 in a famous match dubbed "De Mistwedstrijd" (the fog match), before Hamburger SV defeated RSC Anderlecht in the 1977 European Cup Winners Cup Final in the old arena in front of a crowd of 66,000.

The stadium hosted the 1987 Speedway World Championship Final.

The final big football match came when Ajax drew 0-0 with Torino in the second leg of the 1992 UEFA Cup Final to win the trophy after the first leg in Italy had ended 2-2. By now the stadium was becoming unsuitable for holding big crowds. Ajax moved into the newly built Amsterdam ArenA in 1996.

The Amsterdam Admirals played the 1995 and 1996 seasons in the World League of American Football.

The city government had announced plans to demolish Olympisch Stadion in 1987, but it was saved to become a national monument. In 1996 it was renovated with the second tier being removed so the stadium returned to its original design.

The cycle track was removed, with offices installed in its place. The stadium once again became an ideal venue for track and field events. The stadium was re-opened by the Prince of Orange in May 2000.

Areas around the stadium were also given a facelift with tennis courts, football pitches, a park and athletics track.

The stadium was chosen to host the 2016 European Athletics Championships.

My visit

Wednesday 27th January 2016

If ever I visited a city that had staged the Olympic Games I always tried to make a call to simply take in the history of the place. When I’d been in Amsterdam as part of my Eurorail tour in October 2000, I’d failed. Admittedly I was low on cash and energy by that stage, plus I was completely ignorant of the benefits of the internet. I managed the trip by guide book!

This was a bit of a shame as I might have have seen the old place in its full glory, although to be fair it looked like they’d done a fine job in restoring it. All the monuments looked good, and there were many signs to show that the stadium did indeed hold the 1928 summer games.

I took the 197 bus after calling at Blauw-Wit Beursbengels which dropped me outside the stadium. Unfortunately the stadium was locked and no tours were scheduled. A gate down one side had a Perspex shield so that I could at least see across to the Main Stand. It was still worth a good walk around.

Once done I caught a tram down to Amstelveenesteg for a train on to Zuid station.

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