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

XerxesDZB (Holland)

XerxesDZB is an amateur football club from Rotterdam in Holland who were formed on the 1st March 1904 as RFC Xerxes, going on to win their first regional championship three years later.

A second title arrived in 1911 along with promotion to Tweede klasse. In 1931 a further district title followed with Xerxes being elevated to the Erste klasse. The club regularly played fixtures against the likes of Feijenoord, Sparta, ADO, Ajax and Blauw Wit.

Semi-professional football arrived in the Netherlands in the 50’s with Xerxes becoming members of Erste Divisie for the 1956-57 season. The following season saw the team finish bottom of Group B and relegation back to the amateur ranks.

Promotion back to the Eerste Divisie was achieved in 1965, followed by a rise to the top flight Eredivisie a year later with Willem van Hanegem, Hans Dorjee, Rob Jacobs and Eddy Treytel playing starring roles on the pitch.

However, the club sponsor pulled out at the same time the stadium was lost for the building of a hospital leading Xerxes to merge with the pro section of DHC Delft to become Xerxex/DHC'66. It lasted just one year because of poor support from the public of Delft.

Meanwhile the Xerxes amateur section had continued in the fourth Vierde klasse. They won their league and promotion in 1969. Two further consecutive promotions saw Xerxes in the Erste klasse for the 1971-72 campaign. The remarkable run continued as the title was won at the first attempt.

The Hoofdklasse was introduced in 1974 as the highest ranked amateur divisions, with Saturday and Sunday football. Xerxes did not initially qualify but reached the Zondag (Sunday) Hoofdklasse in 1976.

In 1980 Xerxes were crowned as Zondag Hoofdklasse champions, but lost in the national championship final to Saturday champions Noordwijk. By the 1990’s the club were struggling financially, not helped by having to leave their ground once more for a railway to be built.

In 2000 the club merged with DZB Zevenkamp, to become XerxesDZB. The club fielded teams for Saturday and Sunday football. The Saturday section managed to achieve second tier Hoofdklasse football for the 2012-13 season, while the Sunday side played at the fourth Vierde klasse following an enforced relegation.

XerxesDZB will play in Zaterdag Hoofdklasse B in the 2015-16 season.

My visit

Thursday 28th January 2016

I’d already visited Excelsior and Sparta on a sunny but cool morning, before I took the B line Metro from Marconiplein all the way across the city for a forty minutes ride to Nieuw Verlaat. My pre planning suggested that a walk along the side of the tram track and then going up the large path of Schout Bontenbalpad would take me to the entrance. I was about to learn differently.

Many areas of the Netherlands are protected by small dikes around land to prevent flooding. There was one right between Wollefoppenweg and the ground. There was nothing else for it but than to cut across half way down the path I’d already trod and cut through the housing to the actual entrance on Albert Rousselsingel.

It was a long way round but the gates were open, which was good news after such an effort! I found a decent ground with two practice pitches as I entered and a further three beyond the main pitch, which had an artificial surface. Wollefoppenpark had several club buildings including a decent sized clubhouse and an injury clinic.

The main pitch had an excellent raised seated stand on the far side. The near side had a few rows of open terracing. The rest of the arena had hard standing and was backed by raised advertisement boards. It was nice to see some youngsters getting the full benefit of the artificial pitch, by having an impromptu game into the near end goal.

Once done I cut through the housing area and past a small outdoor market on the main square of the area, before catching the train towards VV Capelle, my final destination of an enjoyable morning.

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