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

London

September 2015

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tottenham Hotspur Academy


The Tottenham Hotspur Academy is made up mainly of players under the age of twenty one since the restructuring of most professional football since the late 1990’s.


The historical reserve team played in various divisions before the change. The youngsters of the club had delivered Youth Cup triumphs in 1970, 1974 and 1990. Once in the modern era the under 21s won the FA Premier Reserve League South in 2006 before becoming runners-up in the U21 Premiership League in 2012/13.


In September 2012 Tottenham opened a brand new architecturally designed Training Centre on 77 acres of land and, located on Hotspur Way in Enfield. It became the home of the Club's First Team and Academy and is recognised as one of the best in Europe.


Further developments came with the building of a lodge at the centre to accommodate the players of the club in 2017. In April 2017 the club and football suffered a devastating blow when former England international and Tottenham Academy coach Ugo Ehiogu died after suffering a heart attack at the Training Centre.


My visit

Tottenham Hotspur U21 0 CSKA Moscow U21 0 (Wednesday 7th December 2016) UEFA Youth League (Att: 147)

I was not going to miss an opportunity to visit the highly acclaimed training centre, especially on a day off from work. My ticket was obtained by a phone call a week or so ago through my fan number from previous purchasing history.


I set off in a less than pristine condition after a good old booze up around the Hendon game, the night before. I thought departing at midday from Kingsbury would be ample time to make a 2pm kick off?


However, I took the first three "short cuts" which would set the tone for the following two hours twenty minutes. I got it wrong. The Overground train dropped me at Highbury & Islington, from where I took a tube to Seven Sisters. 


Instead of a train to Turkey Street, I thought I knew best and took three buses, passing the rapidly growing "New" White Hart Lane and eventually ending up at Turkey Street for a walk through very pleasant surroundings to the centre's entrance. Note to self: learn the difference between the A1010 and the A10 for future reference!


There was heavy security at the gate, with one visiting fan desperately hoping that I had a spare ticket, before I walked through a staggering development to pitch number 2. A pleasant steward directed me to the main reception for a free teamsheet before I took up my uncovered seat.


Only one side of the pitch was open to spectators, which had two open stands of a couple of rows each and a tented covered stand in the middle section for media and club staff etc. A few young Spurs players sat amongst the crowd, who were made up of interested onlookers and parents by the look of things. It was a strangely muted atmosphere; not dislike watching an outdoor game of snooker.


As mentioned I was running late and missed the first 20 minutes, missing CSKA turn down the lead from a spot kick. Not a lot else happened in the rest of the half. At the break most fans adjourned to the warmth of the reception over the road, to use the drinks machine. A semi-permanent food stall stood outside selling warm food and drink.


I got a tea for a decent £1.20 while I surveyed the amazing facility which had eleven full sized pitches without a blade of grass out of place, as well as indoor facilities and even a pristine putting green, where I can imagine a fair few chunks of players wages may have been punted?


The second half was an improvement, with both keepers pulling off a couple of decent stops. CSKA looked the more likely side to snatch the win, but it wasn't to be.


For all provided to players and coaches I was impressed to see that Tottenham still managed to produce players who seem reluctant to kick with both feet. No wonder the England team were in such a mess!


At full time I made my way back to the A10 for a bus down to where I saw Scarborough play a couple of times back in the day at a super old stadium, but is now a retail complex and housing. I really felt for Enfield fans.


Another bus took me to Barnet where I alighted for a fantastic tea at the Red Lion Toby Carvery, before taking another bus in head to tail traffic because of a road accident by New Barnet Station to Brickfield Lane for the evening's entertainment in the Herts Senior Cup between Hadley and Hitchin Town.




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