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

Monday, February 8, 2016

VV Nieuwerkerk (Holland)

VV Nieuwerkerk is a Dutch amateur football club from the town of Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel, which is located on the right bank of the Hollandse Ijssel river, around ten kilometres north east of Rotterdam. ‘De Rode Boeren’ (The Red Farmers) were formed on the 20th July 1929.

Football in the town had a rich heritage, with the game being played in informal mode at    's-Gravenweg, de Kerklaan and de Vijf Boeken. Some years later a team called DOS was formed from workers at 'De Struischvogel' glassworks. When the factory went bankrupt, the team ceased.

The club trundled along for several decades playing Zondag (Sunday) Vierde (fourth) and Vijfde (fifth) klasse football. In 2008-09 the team led by Ed Graper won the Vijfde klasse title. In 2001-02 coach Willem den Besten’s side won the Vierde klasse championship.

In the 2011-12 season, De Rode Boeren were promoted to the Tweede klasse. The run nearly continued the following season, but Nieuwerkerk were defeated in the play-offs 3-1 to DVC at the home of VV Cappelle in front of 3,000 spectators.

Ron Timmers was in charge of the team in 2006-07 as the team finished as runners-up in Tweede klasse before losing out 4-2 in the play-offs to ADO Den Haag Amateurs. Club membership reached the 1,000 mark in 2006 as Nieuwerkerk continued to prosper.

At last the club won the Tweede klasse title in 2010-11, seeing off nearest challengers Jai Hind Rotterdam. After a couple of seasons finishing as runners-up in the 1e klasse B, Nieuwerkerk won promotion to the Hoofdklasse at the culmination of the 2014-15 season.

VV Nieuwerkerk will play in the Zondag hoofdklasse A in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Friday 29th January 2016

It was only a few days before my departure that I came across both BVV Barendrecht of the Topklasse and VV Nieuwerkerk who competed in the Hoofdklasse. Both venues seemed reasonably accessible from Rotterdam Centraal station and worth a visit.

I only just caught the train east, which went by Alexander station, which I’d gone by on my way into Rotterdam the previous day. If only I’d have researched a bit more! It was a sixteen minute journey on the Sprinter train to Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel before another twelve minute walk along Batavierlaan to Sportpark Dorrestein.

The venue had two full sized artificial pitches, three more for juniors and three full sized turf pitches aside from the main arena. Hockey was also catered for with two artificial pitches. It really was a tremendous venue. Naturally there was a large dressing room block and clubhouse, which backed onto the first team pitch.

This also had a fine raised seated main stand down one side with the rest of the ground been made up of open hard standing being backed by raised advertising boards surrounding its artificial pitch. Although the ground was locked I got a great view over the wire gate from one end.

As trains only ran every half hour I was soon on my way. Despite carrying my rucksack to save on another discussion with staff at Rotterdam station, I made the train with plenty of time to spare and had to hide from the inclement weather.

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