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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Club Portugalete (Spain)

Club Portugalete is a football club from the town of Portugalete that is situated on the south bank of the River Nervión in the metropolitan area of Bilbao in Spain’s Basque country. The football club was formed in 1944.

Initially Club played in local and regional football before progressing from División de Honor de Vizcaya to compete in the Tercera División for the 1951-52 season in Grupo II. The team consolidated its place before dropping back down to División de Honor de Vizcaya at the end of the 1957-58 campaign.

Portugalete regathered and won promotion back to the third tier in 1962-63, where they competed in Grupo III. A fourth place finish in 1964-65 promised much, but Club were relegated back to regional step four football the following season.

Club came straight back from División de Honor de Vizcaya at the first attempt, but third tier football proved to be too much, as the team were relegated just one year later. This time Portugalete would stay down for seventeen years.

By the time Club were ready for another push for promotion, the regional league had become the fifth level of Spanish football. Portugalete lasted three seasons in the fourth tier Tercera División, before being relegated once more in 1987-88.

This time Portugalete would spend thirteen years playing in the División de Honor de Vizcaya before being promoted once more in 2000-01. In the 2004-05 season Club won the Grupo IV title of the Tercera División, taking the team through to the promotion play-offs.

Wins over SD Noja and then Utebo FC saw Portugalete promoted to the third tier Segunda División B. However, the step up proved to be one too far for the club as they were demoted after just one season.

In 2007-08 Club once again lifted their Tercera División group title; but on this occasion they went out in the promotion play-offs to CD Villanueva. Portugalete continued to put in fine performances for the fans at La Florida.

However, the successful league season secured qualification to the 2008-09 Copa del Rey, where Portugalete progressed to the Round of 32 before going out 7-1 on aggregate to CF Valencia.

The club reached the same stage of the cup in 2010-11. Victories over SD Noja and CD Castellón saw Portugalete paired against Getafe CF, who went through on away goals after the tie ended 1-1 on aggregate.

The 2014-15 once again saw the lifting of the Grupo IV crown of the Tercera División. In the play-offs Club were defeated by CF Talavera de la Reina, but the club were still placed in Segunda División B for the 2015-16 season.

Portugalete fished bottom of the Grupo II table and were relegated back to the fourth tier Tercera División, where they finished the 2016-17 campaign in fifth place; just outside the promotion play-offs under manager Carlos Docando.

Club Portugalete will play in the Tercera División Grupo IV in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Friday 24th February 2017

My long weekend in Bilbao and its surrounding area was underway as the weather stayed fine during the mid afternoon. I’d already visited the homes of Barakaldo CF and Sestao River Club. Although I’d gathered some decent snaps, I’d not got inside either stadium.

Alighting at Portugalete Metro stop I crossed the main Avenida Carlos VII Etorbidea and then followed the narrower Doctor José Zaldua Kalea up the hill. The corner of Los Llanos Hiribidea showed me that I’d reached my destination, as I saw Club’s offices outside La Florida.

A little bit further along I came to an open gate, so that I could go inside and have a proper look at the venue.

La Florida was very neat with its full length covered seated stand down one side and open terracing opposite and behind the far goal. The near end had a couple of steps and flat open standing before it gave way in the corner to the offices and changing rooms and clubhouse.

Behind the seated stand there was a second pitch with an artificial surface and further back a sports hall. I had the choice of a revisit the following day for Club’s match against SD Balmaseda or the local derby between Arena Club and Sestao River Club, which eventually won the day.

Once I’d got my photos I headed further along Doctor José Zaldua Kalea, through a little stretch of open land before arriving at the venue of two smaller clubs; Gazteak CF and Peña Athletic Santurtzi.

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