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, June 27, 2017

Danok Bat CF (Spain)

Danok Bat Club de Fica is a football club which is based in the city of Bilbao who were formed in 1972. The clubs primarily function is to develop youth players for careers in the professional game.

After establishing themselves Danok Bat climbed to reach the División de Honor Juvenil de Fútbol; one of seven regional top flight divisions for under age football facing up to the likes of Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Deportivo Alavés.

Future Spain under 21 player Igor Angulo started with Danok Bat in the 1990’s along with future Athletic Club players Mikel Dañobeitia and Unai Expósito. Ander Capa started his career which would climax as a mainstay at Eibar with the club soon after.

Future Deportivo Alavés goalkeeper Iñaki Goitia was another to learn his skills with Danok Bat. Future Athletic right back Iñigo Lekue starred in 2011-12 to follow future San Mamés team mate Sabin Merino, as the club finished as Group II runners-up.

The performance was followed by a third place spot in 2013-14 at their Mallona base high above the city with future Eibar player Iñigo Barrenetxea starring. Another third place was achieved in 2015-16 with mid table following in 2016-17.

Danok Bat CF will play in the División de Honor Juvenil de Fútbol Group II in the 2017-18 season.

My visit

Danok Bat 7 SD Amorebiata 0 (Saturday 25th February 2017) Cadete Division Honor Infantil 3A (att: between150-200)

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Bilbao with my plans containing parts of at least three football matches. Research on the local FA websites had identified Mallona as a venue with youth football before lunch.

Much adult football had been put on the back burner because it was carnival weekend in the region. I’d gone to try and get access to the Las Llanas home of Sestao River Club without success before I headed to Casco Viejo on the Metro.

A fellow groundhopper from the excellent Non League Matters forum had visited the venue a few weeks previously so I knew that I needed the correct exit via a lift. I’d inadvertently been there with my pal Colm in 2004 when we escaped a crazy Mexican getting everyone beers while not carrying money.

After leaving along the wrong tunnel I put myself right. The lift came out on Mallona Zeharkalea, a few yards from the entrance to Campo de Futbol de Mallona. On entering the ground without any admission charge, I found a game was already taking place on the main pitch.

Originally I thought I’d be watching a game involving anchor tenants CD Santutxu. A list of matches was displayed in the window of the entrance hut. It’s fair to say that the multi pitch venue was being well used and showing the advantages of artificial pitches.

Other matches were taking place at the same time as the second pitch was split up as well as a smaller pitch being used by further matches including teams from Danok Bat, CD Santutxu and Club Portugalete.

Parents and grandparents had turned out in force to encourage the youngsters. The facility had a bar serving alcohol as well as soft drinks. My livener was most welcome along with a tortilla Española pitxo.

Even better was to come as a smaller hut next door was selling bocadillos. I bought one stuffed with bacon and cheese and set off looking all the way around the facility before returning to a seat in the main stand for the second half of Danok Bat’s match.

The match was probably around under 15's age group, with Danok Bat being of a very good standard; definitely far too good for their opponents from Amorebieta-Etxano; around fifteen miles south east of Bilbao.

At full time I headed back to the Metro to initially catch a train towards Leioa for another under age game; although my plans changed on route, which can be read here.

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