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

Darlington Railway Athletic

Darlington Railway Athletic FC is a non-league football club from the north-eastern town of the same name, who were originally formed in 1919.

The club became members of the Northern League between 1919 and 1925 before returning to the Darlington & District League. League titles followed in 1932-33 and 1964-65 before completing the league and cup double in 1967-68.

Railway progressed to the Teesside League, where they remained for many seasons. The club bounced back from finishing bottom of the table in 1986-87 to become runners-up in 1988-89. The improvement saw RA move to the Wearside League for the 1990-91 season.

All was well at Brinkburn Road as the team won promotion to Division One of the competition at the first attempt, before the club folded at the end of the 1991-92 campaign, before being reformed to compete in the Darlington & District League.

'The Railwaymen' rejoined the Wearside League in 2000-01; going on to win the championship in 2004-05 and promotion to the Northern League in the following season, where they became members of Division Two.

In their debut 2005-06 season, Railway were promoted to Division One after a third place finish. The club retained their status for just one season as they finished bottom of the league and were relegated back to Division Two.

Fifth place finishes in 2011-12 and 2012-13 were as close as RA came to a return to Division One, with the team generally finishing in the lower half of the table; which continued to 2016-17 under manager Peter Mulcaster.

Darlington Railway Athletic FC will play in the Northern League Division Two for season 2017-18.

My visits

Wednesday 9th January 2008 

I had just had an early morning visit to what remained of Feethams, the old home of Darlington FC after alighting from a train from London.

I checked my map that I had printed from google earth and thought I'd walk to Brinkburn Road. It was uphill through what seemed of miles of terraced streets. I really didn't think the town was that large. Not for the first or last time, the map had not shown the distances as I had imagined.

I eventually got to the ground, only to find it locked up with excellent security fencing. I did my very best to take some photos from the angles and gaps available.

From what I could make out the ground had a path running around the pitch with some flat grass standing. There were small covers behind both goals, with another small stand with seats on the half way line. The opposite side backed onto the cricket ground. The clubhouse and changing rooms were by the corner flag behind the Brinkburn Road goal.

All in all a bit disappointing not to get inside or a better view. However, I feel that was more because of the distance I walked there and back, although at least it was downhill on the return. Brinkburn Road was not much to write home about in truth, but it's no doubt more than adequate for the crowds who attend games at the level the club are comfortable at.

Wednesday 22nd January 2017

Disappointed that I didn’t gain access the first time around, I decided to give it another go on a visit to southern County Durham before heading off to watch Scarborough Athletic in action in the North Riding Senior Cup at Stokesley.

This time I used the Max1 bus as part of my excellent one day pass from Tubwell Row, which dropped me off at the Brinkburn Road stop. From there it was just a couple of minutes walk to the ground.

The venue was just as I remembered and imagined from my previously obscured look. This time the gate was open to enable me to get photos from a better vantage point; albeit through thick fog.

Once I’d completed my task I toddled back down the hill to Cockerton Library for the next service to Shildon, and a previously unvisited town.

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