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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Barakaldo CF (Spain)

Barakaldo Club de Fútbol is a football club that was formed in 1917; originally as Baracaldo Football-Club, in the town of Barakaldo, which is located on the south side of the River Nervión, a few miles west of Bilbao in Spain’s Basque country.

The club started out in Biscaya regional football, playing on land between the railway and El Cuadro Maderos, in their formative years. They moved to a field by Rio Galindo before moving a few hundred yards further away from the river to the original Campo Lasesarre in 1922.

‘Fabriles‘,meaning factories in Spanish and reflected the area of the time, became the club nickname, as they entered the third tier Tercera División in 1928-29 as members of Grupo II.

Barakaldo won their division in 1929-30 with future Spanish international Serafín Aedo in the side alongside Pablo Barcos, but missed out on promotion to Segunda División after defeat in the play-off final to CD Castellón. Another title followed in 1930-31 but once again the team were denied second tier football after losing to Celta de Vigo.

Three runners-up places followed before Barakaldo were elevated to Segunda División for the 1934-35 season. The team retained their lofty status as Bata banged in the goals. In 1940 the club changed title to Baracaldo Oriamendi until 1943.

As Baracaldo Altos Hornos; meaning Barakaldo Blast Furnace when translated; again to reflect the areas industry and club patronage, the club suffered relegation in 1944-45; before regrouping and winning promotion at the first time of asking via a play-off win over Jerez.

Barakaldo continued in Segunda División as former international striker Guillermo Gorostiza having a spell at the club, with some top five finishes before finishing bottom of the table in 1956-57 to suffer relegation to Tercera División despite the efforts of striker Telmo Zarra. Once again the club bounced straight back with promotion twelve months later.

This time the clubs spell in the second level lasted three seasons. Back in Tercera División, Barakaldo had a mid table finish before lifting the Grupo IV title in 1962-63 before losing in the play-offs to Atlético Ceuta.

The team retained their divisional title in 1963-64, going on to win promotion to Segunda División after an aggregate win against Calvo Sotelo Andorra in the play-offs. Barakaldo’s fluctuating fortunes continued as they suffered relegation in 1965-66.

Barakaldo remained at that level until the Grupo IV title was once again lifted in 1971-72 after the club changed its name to the current title, to win promotion to the second tier once again as former international Luis María Echeberría ended his career at the club. 1974-75 saw the team relegated once again before they went back up in 1976-77.

Manuel Sarabia, the former Athletic Club and Spain striker had a loan spell at Lasesarre, before a nineteenth place finish in 1978-79 led to relegation to Segunda División B following league reorganisation. Barakaldo lifted the Grupo I title at the first attempt to return to the second level of Spanish football.

However, the step up proved too steep as the side were relegated after just one season. Future La Liga manager Mané was in charge of the team in the 1981-82 campaign, before another setback hit the club in 1983-84 as Barakaldo went down another tier to the fourth level Tercera División.

A title arrived at the increasingly dilapidated Lasesarre in 1987-88 to elevate Barakaldo back to Segunda División B, where they were placed in Grupo I. In 1997-98 the team won the title with goals coming from Aitor Bouzo as Jon Ander López stood out in goal. The team missed out on promotion through the play-offs.

The end for the original Campo Lasesarre came in October 2000, which was marked with a 1-0 victory over Osasuna B. The club decamped to Campo de San Vicente; a municipal athletic stadium half a mile away from their base.

Another divisional Grupo II Segunda B title followed in 2001-02, but once again Barakaldo missed out on promotion. In September 2003 the club moved into the new Campo de Lasesarre; a few hundred yards north from their old stadium, as the whole area was regenerated, while the goals of Alberto Alejandro cheered the fans.

Barakaldo reached the second round of the Copa del Rey on a few occasions thanks to the goalscoring efforts of Ion Vélez, before reaching round three in 2008-09 where they went out to Real Unión.

The 2010-11 season saw the team finish bottom of the table to be relegated back to Grupo IV of the Tercera División. A second place finish in 2011-12 propelled Barakaldo into the play offs, where they progressed to seal promotion with an aggregate win against Águilas FC.

Back in the third level Segunda División B, Barakaldo consolidated their position in Grupo II with goals coming from Jon Orbegozo, while Jon Ander Serantes proved a steady influence in goal until his departure in the summer of 2014 to be replaced by Pato Guillén.

Barakaldo also reached the third round of the 2014-15 Copa del Rey, where they were defeated by SD Huesca. The following season they reached the round of 32, where they went out 5-1 on aggregate to CD Valencia with Alejandro García continuing the clubs fine tradition of signing fine goalkeepers.

Gonzalo Arconada was appointed as team manager after a thirteenth place league finish in the 2016-17 season.

Barakaldo CF will play in Segunda División B Grupo II in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Friday 24th February 2017

My long weekend in Bilbao and its surrounding districts was finally underway after my British Airways flight arrived in Biscaya over an hour late. The bus had dropped me at San Mamés, before I took the regional railway a few stops to Desertu-Barakaldo.

Campo de Lasesarre was just a short stroll along Paseo El Ferrocarril, not that it would have been obvious to be a football venue, if not for the club offices in the near corner. It really was a stadium which had used modern art to the max.

The roof was made up of straight line turrets. Translucent panels formed the exterior. Although I couldn’t get inside, the plentiful gaps all the way around gave me some great views of the venue. The floodlight design was also innovative. It was though it had been designed on an etch-a-sketch; such were the dominance of straight lines.

In side the stadium, it is an all seated arena with the seating made up of several colours. They are slightly raised above the pitch. All fans received a fine view. Apparently old time Barakaldo fans missed their old home, but there was no doubt of the new place’s functionality.

After wandering all the way around and getting plentiful photos, I headed towards Urbinago Metro station; across old industrial landscapes and a tributary of the river, where old met the modern.

It rather encapsulated Bilbao and its surrounds; little did I realise it at the time. It is a destination I heartily recommend; especially when the weather is right.

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