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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Olympiastadion (Munich)

The Olympiastadion in Munich was constructed between 1968 and 1972 in an area with pits caused by the bombings in World War Two as part of the Olympiapark München, which was the main venue for the 1972 Olympic Games.

The Games saw many memorable performances, but also much sadness following the massacre of eleven Israeli competitors by the Palestinian terrorist group; Black September.

Following the Games the Olympiastadion became the home of FC Bayern München and city rivals TSV 1860 München as well as staging many West Germany international matches. The stadium hosted the final of the 1974 World Cup with its expanded capacity of 75,200 as West Germany defeated Holland 2-1.

In 1979 the venue saw Nottingham Forest defeat IFK Malmö in the European Cup Final. Three years later the arena staged its first concert as the Rolling Stones appeared. They were the first of many household names to appear including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Prince, U2, Elton John and Depeche Mode.

In 1982 TSV departed back across town to their homely Grünwalder Stadion for a period of fifteen years. Olympiastadion staged the final of Euro 88 as Marco van Basten scored an iconic goal to help Holland defeat the USSR.

In 1989 the arena staged the World Speedway Final, before Olympique de Marseille defeated AC Milan to win the UEFA Champions League Final in 1993.

Borussia Dortmund won the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final at the Olympiastadion following a win against Juventus. The final full men’s football international was staged on 1st September 2001 as England defeated Germany 5-1.

Günther Behnisch, the architect of the stadium refused permission for the structure to be changed in any radical way, so Bayern and TSV decided to construct a football stadium a few kilometres north.

TSV departed to play a farewell 2014-15 season at Grünwalder Stadion while Bayern remained until the summer of 2015 before moving to the Allianz Arena. This meant that the Olympiastadion had to look for alternative uses.

In December 2006 it held the Tour de Ski cross-country skiing competition. The following year it staged the Spar European Cup athletics meeting. In 2010 and 2011 the stadium hosted the Touring Car Series Race of Champions events.

The 2012 UEFA Women's Champions League Final was staged at Olympiastadion as Olympique Lyonnais retained the trophy.

Rumours continued to circulate as to the further usage of the stadium.

 My visit

Friday 17th December 2016

My visit to Munich was going along fantastically well through a mixture of sightseeing, socialising and visiting football clubs. I’d enjoyed lunch in the Christmas Market before I caught the UBahn to Olympiapark.

Leaving the station, I walked along for a look over Georg-Brauchle-Ring at the BMW museum before walking through the wonderful park; passing the Olympia-Eissportzentrum (ice rink) before paying to go up the Olympiaturm tower to get a fantastic view of the area and around Munich. It was well worth the €7 fee.

The visit meant a lot to me as the 1972 Olympic Games and 1974 World Cup were the first major sporting tournaments that I could remember. I grew up with memories of watching as a young lad on TV; never dreaming I’d actually see it for myself.

Coming back down to earth I wandered past the Olympiahalle, which had seen Olga Korbut amaze the world with her gymnastic display and the Olympia-Schwimmhalle, where Mark Spitz won his seven gold medals. 

All the results were laid out on plaques near the stadium entrance on Coubertinplatz; a main thoroughfare. I took plenty of time to bring back images in my mind.

Admission to the stadium cost only €3.50 and I was free to wander around at will. I was in total awe, if a little sad that it didn’t seem to be in use. The pitch and track areas were being refurbished. The seating was as steep as I’d seen around a running track and helped negate the distance to the field.

The architect Günther Behnisch, along with engineer Frei Otto had created a thing of real beauty. There was one single tier of seating, with terracing at either end. The VIP area was over on the far side. The amazing roof covered this side and areas behind each end. It was made of large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass stabilized by steel cables to try to emulate The Alps.

As there was no time limit on my visit I wandered all the way around the rear of the seats before wandering behind them down the main side and looking at as many facilities as possible. I even made a little video, which you can look at below in homage to a special night in 2001.

A small former catering hut had been converted at very low maintenance, so visitors could enter and watch a film featuring great moments of the stadium. I could have sat there all night if I hadn’t been busy later that evening.

Reluctantly I wandered away looking across to the former Olympic Village where the awful massacre of 1972 began and contemplating just how lucky I was before taking the U8 back to Moosach for a wash and change at the LetoMotel in readiness for my evening’s entertainment at the Allianz Arena, which can be read about here.

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