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 their maintenance.

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 fortunate 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 heightens 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 try today. They'll be delighted 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. Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby as he grows into a young man!

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


November 2018

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bexhill United

Bexhill United is a non-league football club from the seaside town of the same name who were formed in 2002 following the merger of Bexhill AAC and Bexhill Town FC. However, it wasn’t the first merger that has led to the present club.

Bexhill Town were originally called Allen West FC as they joined the Sussex County League in 1923-24, before being renamed Bexhill FC in 1926. The club re-emerged after World War Two as Bexhill Town Athletic FC, all the time playing at The Polegrove.

In 1950 the club merged with Bexhill Amateur Athletic, while keeping the Bexhill Town Athletic name. The 1956-57 season saw Bexhill crowned as Sussex County League champions before finishing runners-up the following campaign.

Further league titles followed in 1965-66 and 1966-67. A hat-trick of triumphs was denied as Bexhill finished runners-up on goal average in 1967-68. In 1969 the club split with Bexhill Amateur Athletic to become known as Bexhill Town FC.

After a decade in the league’s top flight, Bexhill were relegated to Division Two in 1980-81. A further demotion to Division Three followed in 1984-85. The club quickly regrouped and won promotion to Division two just twelve months later.

The Division Two title was secured in 1989-90 as the club remained in Division One until they were relegated at the completion of the 1993-94 season. A further demotion came in 1997-98 as Bexhill found themselves back in Division Three.

Following the 2002 merger Bexhill United won promotion as Division Three runners-up in 2007-08. The club were relegated just a year later, but fought back immediately to return to Division Two in April 2010.

A series of mid table finishes followed before the Sussex County League was retitled the Southern Combination from the 2015-16 season. ‘The Pirates’ were placed in the second tier Division One.

Bexhill United FC will play in the Southern Combination Division One in the 2017-18 season.

My visits

Tuesday 12th December 2007

It was a bright but cool winter’s day as I explored the south coast by rail and on foot. Having already visited the football venues of Lewes and Eastbourne I caught the train along a few yards from the sea before alighting at Collington.

After a short walk I was at The Polegrove, a pleasant venue catering for football, hockey, bowls and cricket. While there was a rail around the football pitch, there was nothing of note for spectators on three sides.

However, there was hard standing on the fourth side with a quite majestic grade two listed raised seated wooden stand straddling the half way line. Unfortunately I lost the photos of the day owing to laptop issues a year or two later.

Once I’d completed my recce I wandered towards the town centre to catch a train from Bexhill to Hastings, to discover another new town and to see what football offered along the coast.

Monday 24th July 2017

My trip the Sussex coast had gone really well after visits to three venues before heading to Brighton for a brief break. Beers had been taken in The Victory and then The Queen’s Head before grabbing some snacks for a train eastwards.

Having changed at Lewes, the Ore service dropped me at Collington from where I walked down Richmond Road before entering through a gap into The Polegrove; the town’s main sports venue.

Some serious looking games of bowls were taking place on the several greens, while some lads were in the cricket nets over the hedge. A funfair was in the process of being set up on much of the cricket field.

Meanwhile, a small sided veterans football match was just about to get underway in front of the majestic Stand.

The structure was a crowning glory of a relatively basic venue, which was really a football pitch in a park. Toilets, changing rooms, a tea bar and clubhouse were also alongside the only cover in the ground.

Despite the temptation to hand around and watch some football, with the announcement of a barbecue to follow, I headed along the sea front to add some yardage to my daily keep fit campaign.

Bexhill-on-Sea was the sort of place I expected to bump into Dad’s Army’s Captain Mainwaring on his way home from the bank. It was sleepy, but nice with an Italian influence looking at some of the cafes.

I’d walked further than I intended and had the option to take a train back to Eastbourne or go by road. I decided to take the bus to take in some extra coastal views on my way to visit The Oval home of Eastbourne United Association.

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