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

London

September 2015

Monday, May 21, 2018

SC Sonnborn 07 (Germany)



SC Sonnborn 07 e.V. is an amateur football club from the German city of Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia that was formed in 1907 following the merger of the Glaus and Weidner clubs. Home matches were played at Böttinger Weg.

By 1914 the club had progressed to Westdeutschen Liga; the highest level of West German football of the day. Seven years later the club was forced to move homes as Stadion Am Zoo was constructed. They found a new site on Sonnborner Strasse.


In the early 1920’s friendly games against FC Karlsruhe, Sportfreunde Stuttgart and Rh. Köln attracted crowds of up to 5,000 before handball and hockey teams were created within the club in 1924.

Sonnborn’s twenty fifth anniversary was celebrated with a home game against FC Schalke 04, which attracted a crowd of 10,000. The club was highly regarded at this tie in the Westdeutschen Fußballverband.


SCS regrouped after World War Two and missed out in the final of the play-offs to reach the highest amateur level following defeat to TSG Vohwinkel 1946; one of the clubs that would eventually join to become Wuppertaler SV.

Promotion to the Landesliga eventually followed in 1952, where SCS finished as runners-up in 1953-54. It was while at that level in August 1958 that goalkeeper Heinz Höck collapsed after the game against Duisburg 08 with heat stroke before dying the following day.


By 1963 the club had dropped a couple of tiers to the local Bezirksklasse before regaining a Landesliga after just a years sabbatical. Sonnborn narrowly missed out on promotion to the Verbandsliga in 1966 following defeat to Marathon Remscheid.

Two years later SCS were demoted back to the Bezirksklasse. Time was spent in the higher Kreisklasse in the 1970’s before a further promotion came in 1980 to the Bezirksliga, while a new clubhouse and changing rooms were added to the ground.

In 1991 Sonnborn found themselves playing in the local Kreisliga A before climbing back to Bezirksklasse, where the club remained for a period of time as more facilities were added to their home ground.


The club continued performing at local level, developing their facilities and youth set up as well as installing an artificial pitch at Sonnborner Strasse.

The Wuppertal Niederrhein Kreisliga A championship was lifted by SC Sonnborn in the 2017-18 season leading to promotion up to the Oberliga Niederrheim.

SC Sonnborn will play in the Oberliga Niederrheim in the 2018-19 season.


My visit

Tuesday 8th May 2018

It was a scorching hot early evening as I left my hotel in Wuppertal to head to the Regionalliga clash between Wuppertaler SV and Borussia Mönchengladbach II. I had deliberately given myself a little extra time. Google Maps had come up trumps to alert me to another club visit.


The Schebebahn overhead railway was everything I’d hoped. It was dramatic and the thing of dreams to a transport nut. I took it to the Zoo/Stadion stop before crossing the road and walking along Sonnborner Strasse and cutting down an alley to a large car park.

This adjoined the football ground. There was no entrance on my side but I was able to take photos through the wire fence, while trying not to raise suspicion as junior teams were beginning training on the artificial service.


It was a neat and tidy enclosed venue with hard standing around the pitch. The near side had a small grass bank and a few steps of open terracing, while all the facilities were opposite. They contained changing rooms, a clubhouse, open standing and a small stand.

It looked all very much cared for and a hub of the community, like so many clubs on the European mainland. I wandered back to Stadion Am Zoo to enjoy a decent game of football in an excellent venue. Wuppertal had been an inspired choice for an overnight stay.











CB Hounslow United



CB Hounslow United FC is a non-league football club based in the west London suburb of Hounslow, close to Heathrow Airport. The club was formed as Richmond Rangers who disbanded during the 1987-88 season.


The club was reformed and named CB United; with CB standing for Cater Bank, which was a company owned by the father of the chairman who sponsored the club at the time. The team competed in the Hounslow & District Football League.

Local senior club Hounslow FC folded in 1991 as CB progressed to the Middlesex County League for the 1994-95 season; adding Hounslow to their title to take up their present name while playing at Osterley Sports Club.


The club became members of the Combined Counties League for the 2006-07 following the demise of another local side; Hounslow Borough who had reached the Premier Division of the Hellenic League. CB initially consolidated their position in Division One of the competition.

Numerous senior and junior sides were added to the club, with the first team mainly finishing in the bottom third of the table. However, the club received good news in their quest for their own facility as they were given land at Green Lane formerly used for football pitches.


CB moved to share with Bedfont & Feltham at The Orchard for the 2013-14 season while awaiting for their new development to take shape. Chairman and Manager Frank James led his side to the Division One title in 2015-16 to win promotion to the Premier Division.

Relegation was averted in 2016-17 before the club moved into their new Green Lane venue for the 2017-18 campaign, which yielded a mid table finish.


CB Hounslow United FC will lay in the Combined Counties League Premier Division in the 2018-19 season.


My visit

CB Hounslow United 1 Sutton Common Rovers 0 (Thursday 10th May 2018) Southern Combination Cup Semi-Final (att: c120)


I’d had a hectic time of it over the previous week, with this been my eighth consecutive day of football or cricket watching. There was no way I was going to pass over the chance of visiting a new ground once I’d seen the fixture on Twitter.


It turned out to be quite an eventful evening, but not how I’d expected. Non-league football was about to undergo its biggest overhaul in fourteen years with the introduction of new midland divisions in an effort to cut down on team travel to matches.

There had been plenty of conjecture and projections in public about where this would leave several clubs close to the border of more than one league. It had been predicted that my adopted side Hendon would remain in the Isthmian League.


The team had lost in a penalty shoot out to Dulwich Hamlet a few days earlier in the play-off final in a bid to win promotion to the National League South. The club had played unbroken in the Premier Division of the Isthmian League for the previous fifty five years.


Therefore, it was a bit of a bolt out of the blue when I awoke after a siesta following early shift at work to find that The Dons had been placed in the Southern Division of the Southern League. Twitter and Facebook was going mad at the news. It’s fair to say that there wasn’t much jubilation.


The immediate worry was how many players and even the management team would defect to play in clubs nearer home in the Isthmian League. It was a kick in the teeth coming while the defeat of the previous Monday was still raw.

However, I continued onwards and took the Jubilee, Metropolitan and Circle lines to Hammersmith before catching a Piccadilly train west to Hounslow Central where I alighted and walked down Lampton Road to catch the 222 bus at Bell Close.


This deposited me at Parkway on the Great South-West Road from where it was a brisk five minutes walk to the entrance to the ground on Green Lane next to the Heston & Hounslow Rifle and Heathrow Gymnastic Clubs.

I paid my £6 admission along with an extra quid for the programme before actually entering the ground as I’d read in advance that the catering outlet was at the rear of the main building facing the second pitch at the facility.


£5 got me a cheeseburger, tea and bottle of water. I headed inside and over to the far side of the ground to take up a seat in the stand while catching up with the social media outrage from the announcement. I tried my best to remain positive, while respecting fans of far longer standing than myself.

Meanwhile I took stock of the tidy football ground around me. Aside from the seated stand, there was a small cover behind the far goal, a small bench cover opposite and shelter from any wind in front of the clubhouse and changing rooms building, which had been built tastefully.


The rest of the arena had a mixture of flat open grass and hard standing. It was good to see representatives of one of CB’s junior sides acting as mascots, with many parents also in attendance. It seemed like a proper community club.

There were also a few supporters who’d made the journey from Sutton in the hope of seeing their side go a step nearer to retaining the trophy. The match was played at a fast ace on a hard surface and refereed well by an official who seemed to have a good rapport with the players.


To be honest it wasn’t a classic game by any means. Rovers looked the more likely to score, but a mixture of poor finishing and decent keeping meant the score was blank as the teams trotted down the tunnel at half time as the continual procession of planes coming in to land a mile or so away carried on.

I was rally struggling to concentrate in light of events at FA HQ. I contacted my trusted pals at Hendon FC who were far from happy, but doing their very best to remain positive. It was certainly going to be an interesting few days ahead.


The West Ham v Manchester United game on the radio sounded as tight and dull as the game I was experiencing. United came out after the break looking a far better outfit. It was a similar pattern to the first half and it was becoming obvious that one goal could settle the outcome.

My attention was also been drawn to the travel options to get home. I was working early again the following morning and buses looked few and far between nearby if I wanted to stay until the end. I went for a compromise and made my way round with ten minutes remaining.


It proved an astute call as a home attack saw a forward push the ball past the onrushing keeper and place the ball into the empty net. The Sutton players were furious claiming handball, but the referee was having none of it as he ushered them away.

That was my call to head off. In the end I walked up The Parkway towards Cranford Library, where there seemed more services. My Bus Mate phone App came up trumps again. I needed to job down the underpass to the other side in the nick of time.


The 222 took me back to Hounslow West where a Piccadilly line train took me to Acton Town, where I changed to go to Alperton before jumping on buses to Wembley Park for another tube home.

The journey beat Google Maps projection by twenty minutes and I was pretty proud of myself making the effort to head to the match and in my ingenuity in getting home. I certainly didn’t need any help to get to sleep!










Monday, April 23, 2018

Udon Thani (Thailand)


  


Udon Thani FC is a professional football club that was formed in 1999 by the inaugural Chairman, Mr.Sathaporn Kotabut, in the north eastern Thailand city of the same name.

The club entered into the Thailand Provincial League; which was the third tier of Thai football at the time, for the 1999-00 season finishing in fourth place. The club continued competing in the same competition for a further three campaigns.


The best finish came in 2001 as ‘The Orange Giants’ finished fourth once again. Udon Thani withdrew from competitive football between 2005 and 2008 before re-emerging as a club playing in Regional League Division 2 North Eastern Region.

Home matches were played at the Institute of Physical Education Udon Thani Stadium, as the team weighed in with a third place finish in 2009 with coach Phithaya Santawong at the helm. Two mid table finished followed as several coaches had spells in charge of the team.


Another third spot arrived in 2012 with Ousmanou Mohamadou leading the scoring under the stewardship of the Korean Park No Bong before the returning Santawong took control once again to take control for the 2013 campaign.

Two consecutive runners-up berths followed in 2013 and 2014 as Oyewole Yemi Joseph and then Tomiwa Bolarinwa banged in the goals under coaches Santawong, Voottivat Daengsamerkiat and  Somkait Fongpach.


Promphong Kransumrong scored on an incredible 32 occasions in 2015 as Udon Thani finished in third place as Worradet Phuprapri, Hannarong Chunhakunakorn and Somkait Fongpach were employed throughout the season by a frustrated owner.

The club moved to the Udon Thani Rajabhat University Stadium for the 2016 campaign, and the change worked, as Udon Thani romped to the league title as striker Natthaphat Somsri led the way under the tutelage of coach Choketawee Promrut.


This led to the team qualifying for the knock out Champions League to strive for promotion. Nara United were defeated before Udon Thani went out to local rivals Nongbua Pitchaya on away goals.

The 2017 season saw the league system re-organised in Thailand, with Udon Thani being placed in Thai League 3 Upper Region. A runners-up place under Paniphon Kerdyam, and fired by the goals of Valci Júnior led to a place in the play-offs.


Trang were defeated on away goals to send the club up to the second tier Thai League 2. The club returned to the Institute of Physical Education Udon Thani Stadium under the team management of Uthai Boonmoh.

The Thai coach was replaced by Darren Read in April 2018.

Udon Thani FC will play in Thai League 2 in the 2018 season.


My visit

Udon Thani 1 Army United 1 (Sunday 8th April 2018) Thai League 2 (att: 4,534)


There is nothing I enjoy more in life than visiting new places. The amazing Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes had drawn to an end the previous evening and I was ready to relax and enjoy myself without any alarm calls for the final few days of my trip.

My good pal Steve Walker was to join me on another adventure and I’d done all the bookings in eager anticipation a few weeks previously. Just taking the journey down to Udon Thani proved to be an interesting experience.


My mate turned up at my hotel the worse for wear, after enjoying a few too many bars in great company. We boarded the small plane with just two seats on each side of the aisle for the flight south east. He was still merry and wouldn’t shut up for a hours flight. We were about the only westerners on the flight.

We quickly got a cab into town where we found our excellent UD Residence Hotel and grabbed lunch at the impressive Good Corner and a quick recce of the area before a siesta. We reconvened and plumped for the brilliant Restaurant Da Sofia.


The pizza was as good as I could remember tasting and the service first class. We headed to the Day & Night bar area where the locals were most helpful. After a couple of beers at incredibly agreeable prices, it was time to hail a tuk tuk to the match.

A vehicle was commandeered for us; presumably with the driver knowing where he was going. If only things were so simple in Thailand! We were about to have a tour and my patience severely tested.


I was pretty sure that we were heading in the wrong direction, but I left it to our pilot. This was not my greatest ever decision. Within fifteen minutes we’d fought through the heavy traffic to arrive at a municipal facility with a stand, but definitely no professional football.

We headed down a side road where the driver got out and spoke to some locals; two of whom wore Udon Thani replica shirts. Surely they would know? All was looking well as we joined the cross city traffic, some more were decked out in club colours.


All of a sudden, for reasons best known to himself, our driver took a left turn. He looked back to us with pride, only to be met resounding “mai” from the pair of us. He’d taken us to the former home at Udon Thani Rajabhat University.

Off we went again. He obviously had two options on his list. Time was getting on, so I was more than a little relieved to see the shining floodlights of the correct stadium from the main Thanon Pracha Raksa.


We did a left down Ban Lueam to the entrance of the Institute of Physical Education. We jumped out and gave our new close smiling friend a substantial tip on top of the arranged fare. We must have been in a good mood!

I’d contacted some western fans of the club through their Facebook page and was aware that the club got good attendances. Indeed, the stadium had been extended in recent weeks. Rather than going in the best seats, we decided to go with the masses on the far side.


On the way around we saw fans playing instruments and generally getting into a party atmosphere. Thais really did make an effort around the match. The ever amiable Steve ended up playing the tambourine with one group!

To see the atmosphere outside and during the game, click here for a home made video.


Our tickets cost 80 Baht (around £1.70) which allowed us access in any of the three sides opposite the main area. Water cost just a few further Baht. It was encouraging to see so many youngsters in attendance. The fair pricing made it affordable.

Initially we tried to get in the main area down the side, but it was absolutely mobbed from around thirty minutes before kick off. We ended up in one of the new sections near the corner flag, with a tree of all things restricting the view slightly.


The Main Stand had covered seating on the far side. Opposite were open deep steps to allow sitting, with extensions on either side. The ends around the running track had open deep steps, with the visiting fans being plonked in a small section in the corner.

The Army fans were well regimented. It was as though they were still on duty. They remained silent but then chanted in unison; whereas the home support had several little groups around the arena all playing their own instruments and singing their own songs.


The match got underway and soon became clear that it wasn’t going to be a classic. Army’s tactics were extremely obvious. They’d come north to frustrate the hosts and to try and grab a winning goal. Udon Thani did not look to have many ideas how to counteract this tactic.

The hosts Milan Bubalo looked most disappointing. We quickly came to the conclusion that Udon were not playing with enough width to try and get around the disciplined United defence. Indeed, it could have been the Bangkok side who took the lead.


On ten minutes Brazilian midfielder Diego Lima saw a header go just over the bar. Udon were frustrated when they thought they’d sprung the offside trap. We thought it a poor decision at the time, and later highlights confirmed it.

Army came close again half way through the opening period, as Brazilian forward Erivelto saw his effort go narrowly wide. The half closed with a challenge that bordered on assault on Army’s Brazilian skipper Rodrigo Frauches. The referee either didn’t see it or made a shocking decision not to take action.


At the interval we decided to move places and sat behind the goal Udon were hoping to attack. The view wasn’t the best, but we were around a decent atmosphere as fan groups at either side of us tried to raise their side.

The first half had been frankly awful, and we were hoping for some quality after the restart. It was Army who took the lead three minutes after the break. A free kick went wide and found Frauches who lobbed it back into the box where Erivelto headed home.


Udon keeper Witsanusak Kaewruang went down as though shot by a sniper, when he had made a real mess of things from the cross. He hadn’t impressed us too much, and his actions smacked of trying to restore his pride.

We thought that would have been a call for Army to defend even more resolutely, but Udon levelled things up ten minutes later. A very good inswinging cross from Kasidech Wettayawong found the head of Danusorn Wijitpanya to glance home.

Army responded with a fine move and low cross from Tossakorn Boonpeng for Suradet Thongchai to stoop and head goalwards, only to be denied by Kaewruang who made a decent stop to redeem himself.


Udon returned fire when a fine jinking run put in a forward who struck the post; alas from an offside position. A long range effort from an Army player caused confusion for Kaewruang after it deflected off one of his defenders.

The match was into the fourth minute of stoppage time when United’s Kanok Kohyangphueak was shown a harsh red card for a robust challenge. His side had one last opportunity to snatch all three points when Erivelto’s misguided free header nearly set up Diego Lima.


We headed back to the main road and then started walking down Thanon Pracha Raksa towards the city centre when we flagged down a tuk tuk heading in the other direction. We were soon dropped at Central Plaza and heading back to Day & Night.

We went on to have a fantastic evening in a vibrant and most agreeable area for nightlife. It certainly received the thumbs up when we gathered our thoughts the following morning.





Friday, February 2, 2018

Stirling Albion


Stirling Albion FC is a football club from the historic city of Stirling, in Central Scotland, that was formed in 1945 to replace King’s Park who formerly represented the city in the Scottish Leagues.

King’s Park had been formed in 1875, playing at Forthbank Park, after moving from the King’s Park area of Stirling. In 1881 the club became founder members of the Scottish Alliance before leaving after just one season.


King’s Park would go on to play in some lower level league’s before joining the Central Football League in 1909; remaining there until 1921, when they joined the newly formed Division Two of the Scottish Football League.

The team just missed out on promotion in 1927-28, before debutant Jim Dyet netted eight times in one game against Forfar Athletic in January 1930. Alex Haddow became another fans favourite with his scoring feats.

King’s Park played a few friendlies during World War Two until the club went into hibernation. They were dealt a blow when Forthbank Park was bombed by the Luftwaffe. The club folded in 1945 and were replaced by Stirling Albion FC.


Thomas Fergusson, a local coal magnate, had been in charge at King’s Park before becoming the driving force behind Albion. He purchased the Annfield estate, a quarter of a mile from the city centre, where Annfield Stadium was constructed.

Stirling had several promotions and relegations over their first twenty years. In 1948-49 Albion were promoted to the top flight from Scottish League Division B, but went back down just twelve months later.

The team went back up at the first attempt in 1950-51 but finished bottom in Scottish League Division A and returned to the second tier. The Scottish League Division B title was secured in 1952-53. This time ‘The Binos’ lasted three seasons in the top division.


Albion won the retitled Scottish League Division Two championship in 1957-58, before the side was relegated again in 1959-60. Another second tier title arrived at Annfield in 1960-61, but yet again Stirling lasted just one season in the top flight; as the club earned the nickname of ‘The Yo-Yo’s’.

Albion finished bottom of Division Two before winning the title twelve months later in 1964-65. The team lasted until the culmination of the 1967-68 campaign before dropping back down. The Binos remained there until league restructuring in 1975; when they were placed in the third level Scottish League Division Two.

Stirling won that league in 1976-77, and moved up to Division One; where they remained until being relegated in 1980-81. Alex Smith took charge of the team as they finished regularly in mid table.


Smith was replaced by George Peebles in 1986 as the council bought Annfield to save the club from financial strife, before installing an Astroturf pitch to maximise profits. The Main Stand was demolished owing to safety concerns.

Peebles, then Jim Fleeting and then star striker John Brogan took turns as manager; with Brogan leading Albion to the Division Two title in 1990-91. The new Forthbank Stadium, a mile from the city centre, was opened in 1993 to replace Annfield Stadium.

Albion went up in 1995-96 under Kevin Drinkell, before going down to the third tier in 1997-98, a year after the league’s were restructured once again to include four divisions; despite the goals of Alex Bone. John Philliben took over in charge of the team, before former international Ray Stewart arrived as the new team manager in 2000.


The team was relegated from the Second Division in 2000-01 with Stewart being replaced by Allan Moore in the summer of 2002. Promotion back to the Second Division followed a few months later, as fortunes continued to improve.

Albion won a place in the First Division after clinching promotion via the play-offs in 2006-07 as a Stewart Devine goal along with a brace from Robert Snodgrass defeated Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium. However, the part-timers were relegated after just twelve months.

Moore took the club back to the second tier after the team lifted the Second Division title in 2009-10 before Moore departed to Greenock Morton, while Chairman Peter McKenzie agreed to sell the club to the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust.


John O’Neill took over as manager before he was replaced by Jocky Scott in January 2011. However, the change couldn’t save The Binos from relegation back to the Second Division a few months later. Defender Greig McDonald was appointed as manager in December 2011.

Stirling were relegated to the Third Division at the end of the 2011-12 campaign. Jordan White lifted the gloom at the Forthbank Stadium with his goals. Promotion arrived with a play-off final win against East Fife in 2013-14.


Stuart McLaren arrived as manager in the summer of 2014 but he couldn’t prevent Albion from finishing bottom of the table and being relegated to Scottish League Two for the 2015-16 season. Dave Mackay replaced McLaren in November 2016, as Ross McMillan captained the team.

Stirling Albion will play in Scottish League Two in the 2017-18 season.


My visit

Stirling Albion 1 Cowdenbeath 0 (Wednesday 31st January 2018) Scottish League Two (att: 395)


My trains and hotel in Glasgow had been booked for a few weeks, with my intention being the Premiership match between St Johnstone and Hamilton Academical. However, the game was postponed owing to the Saints involvement in a rearranged Scottish Cup tie.

Other matches had also been deferred owing to bad weather when the Cup ties were originally scheduled. Fortunately Albion’s match with Cowdenbeath was rescheduled so I could tick off another new ground.


After a smooth journey, the beauty of social media came to the fore as it transpired that Patrick Waterhouse and I would be in Glasgow at the same time. We enjoyed a couple of convivial beers in The Horse Shoe.

There was time for me to jump in a cab and enjoy a couple more in the fabulous Bon Accord; where the Partick supporting barman Craig was on hand for a natter. I took the train around the corner at Charing Cross, before changing at Queen Street onto a fast service north east.

Fortunately, I woke from a brief slumber to alight and then walk the twenty minutes to Forthbank Stadium. Admission was £13, with a basic programme another quid. Teamsheets were handed out free of charge.


The unmistakable aroma of the catering drifted through a door and I was soon enjoying a steak pie and Bovril for £4 up in the seats as I took in the stadium. Two seated stands faced each other across the pitch, while both ends had sections of open terracing.

It was neat and had a bit more character than several modern builds. Only the one stand was open for the match; with fans of ‘The Blue Brazil’ having a couple of blocks at the far end. The pitch looked in immaculate condition in the dipping temperatures.

The club song of ‘Beautiful Sunday’ was played with one fan miming along with his guitar while trying to get others to sing along. The teams came out and congregated for a minute’s applause for ‘Mr Stirling Albion’ Peter McKenzie who had recently passed away.




Cowdenbeath came into the game cut adrift at the bottom of the table and already looking like they would need to prevail in the play-offs to secure their Scottish League status for the second consecutive season. Albion were placed just outside the play-off positions.

It is fair to say that the match wasn’t a classic. Home keeper Cammy Binnie made a relatively easy save look spectacular from a shot from outside the box. Albion probably had slightly better quality, but little cutting edge. Cowdenbeath huffed and puffed throughout.

The only goal sunned the game up. Visiting goalie David McGurn parried out a corner, but the ball went straight against defender Jamie Pyper who inadvertently turned it in to his own net for an own goal ten minutes from the break.


Blair Malcolm tested Binnie on the stroke of half time before I went for a stretch. I’d already indulged in an extra Scotch pie and I couldn’t find access to the bar, so I just had a wander about and took some extra photos.

Brad Smith had the next attempt for Cowdenbeath, but Binnie tipped the ball over the bar in extravagant fashion. Feisty forward David Cox was trying his best to get the Blues back into the game, but he lacked pace. He was doing a fine job of upsetting referee Gavin Ross, who eventually showed him the yellow card.

I enjoyed the play of the visitors left back Harvey Swann, who contributed regularly, but it wasn’t going to be his sides night. Seven minutes from time Albion came close to doubling the lead when another corner caused more confusion.


Cox’s lack of pace denied him getting on the end of a fine probing Swann centre. Albion held on to take all three points and move into a play-off place. The visiting team players sank to their knees. They gave it their best, but they lacked quality and looked a poor outfit.

It was time for me to get a move on back to the station. Trains were replaced by buses owing to the electrification of the line between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It was good to jump on the warm bus out of the freezing conditions.

I started listening to the whining Manchester United and Chelsea fans ringing the phone in on TalkSport and awoke outside Queen Street station just forty five minutes later. A train took me on to Charing Cross and I was back in the Bon Accord at 10.50.


A very convivial few drinks and chat followed in a place that made me feel like a regular, despite my fleeting appearances. I took a sausage supper back to my tiny Easy Hotel room before heading back to London on the 8am train the following morning.