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, January 9, 2017

SK Motorlet Praha (Czech Republic)


SK Motorlet Praha is a football club from the Jinonice district of the Czech Republic capital, who were formed in 1912 as Sportovní kroužek Butovice, becoming Sportovní klub Butovice the following year. In 1921 the club was placed in the third tier of Prague football, winning promotion to the second level three years later.


In 1930 the club was renamed 1930 SK Praha XVII, the XVII to signify the number given to the Jinonice district. After relegation, the club won promotion back to the second tier in 1936, as SK Walter became tenants of the club.


In the 1940’s all public meetings were banned in the country, although football continued. Membership grew by 1946 following the end of the fascist dictatorship under German rule and the club celebrated by building up the facilities at Stadion Motorlet.


In 1948 a merger between SK Walter, SK Praha XVII a Viktorky Jinonice led to the club becoming Sokol Jinonice, and then Sokol Šverma Jinonice a year later as players departed as they were forced to represent the club of their workplace.


Under Soviet rule the club became DSO Spartak Praha Motorlet in 1953. The league structure was reorganised with Motorlet’s several sides all being promoted. The first team were placed in Championship UNV, the third level of Czech football. Under head coach V. Blažejovský, the club won promotion to Liga II.


The 1961-62 season saw Motorlet finish in fourth place, but a year later they lifted the Liga II crown to win promotion to the Czechoslovak First League. In the decisive game the team defeated Slavia Kovu Děčín in front of 12,000 fans at Motorlet Stadium.


The side returned to the second flight after just one season, in which they finished bottom of the table after only winning one game and then later dropped down to the third tier; settling there for several years in a mid-table ending.


In 1969 TJ Motorlet Praha became the seventh different name that the club played under. The late 70’s progress to the two tiered NFL; gaining promotion to its higher level in 1979. The team descended down the divisions during the 80’s.


In the early 90’s Motorlet was renamed SSK Motorlet Praha, as the team progressed to the third level ČFL (Bohemian Football League) under the tutelage of Z. Peclinovského and F. Reichla before the title was changed again in 1994 to FC Patenidis Motorlet Praha.



In 2000 the club name was changed to its current title as the first team plied its trade in the 4. Liga Divize A, and a season in the B section. After successive second place finishes, Motorlet won promotion to the ČFL. However, their time at the third level lasted just one campaign.

Three third place finishes ensued in Divize B. The club was moved across to Divize A for the 2015-16 season, where they took the runners-up spot.


FK Motorlet Praha will play in Republic 4. Liga Divizní Skupinu A in the 2016-17 season.


My visit

Motorlet Praha 4 Nové Strašecí 1 (Saturday 12th March 2016) Czech Republic 4. Liga Divizní Skupinu A (att: 100)


The Saturday of my long weekend trip to Prague was going well, even if I’d been slightly disappointed to arrive at my morning match at Aritma to find the game taking place on the second pitch; an artificial surface adjacent to the main ground. Despite that I’d seen a decent game with a fair crowd and a basic programme, so I couldn’t complain.


Following a lovely holidaymakers lunch in Wenceslas Square of goulash soup and a special spicy Prague sausage, I headed south west on the B line metro to Nové Butovice, from where it was a short walk along Butovická to Stadion Motorlet.


This was despite firstly trying to gain access via the DTJ Jinonice tennis club and then through the local gym before finding the distinctive gates to the club. I paid 50kr admission and the same again for the basic programme, which came to around £3.20.

Once inside a couple of stewards pointed me away from the main pitch. I found this to be a lovely touch as they obviously wanted me to know where the clubhouse was, with kick off still forty five minutes away.


After ordering a nice cheap local beer and relaxing with an excellent free copy of the Prague football magazine Prazsky Fotbalovy Special, it suddenly dawned on me that the gents were in fact pointing to where the match would actually be played. The teams warming up on the artificial pitch behind the stand was all the evidence I needed.

This was another club who weren’t prepared to jeopardise their playing surface immediately after the winter break.


The second pitch was raised with just a small bank down the far side offering any kind of elevated view. The pitch had an artificial surface and was fully railed with a separate dressing room block behind the stand goal. The dug outs were over on the far side.


Once the game kicked off the visitors of Nové Strašecí, a small town thirty miles to the west of Prague, took the lead after just eight minutes, when Marek Hartman pounced after the home keeper had made a great save from an initial shot.


This setback seemed to wake the hosts up from their early slumber. It was soon to become apparent that the visiting defence and goalkeeper definitely belonged in the iffy category.

Martin Podzemský levelled things up on seventeen minutes with an excellent half volley, and then put his side ahead three minutes later as a long throw displayed the weaknesses in the Nové side before it was tapped home at the far post.


The score became 3-1 just before the half hour mark. In fairness to the Nové keeper, he couldn’t do much to keep out a cracking thirty yard shot from Jan Karbulka.

With no further scoring at the break I was left with a decision to make. I could hang about and see another ten minutes of the second half before heading to my evening game, or catch an imminent bus. I decided to call it a day. I wouldn’t have seen the final goal anyway, which was scored by Jakub Hájek with thirteen minutes left on the clock.


By then I was on the 149 bus on a scenic ride over Strahov hill towards Hradčanská to catch another bus up the hill to Juliska for the Dukla Praha v Vysočina Jihlava tea time kick off.









Monday, May 23, 2016

Duisburger FV 08 (Germany)


Duisburger FV 08 is a sports club from the Hochfeld district of Duisburg in Nordrhein-Westfalen who were formed on in June 1908 as Hochfelder Fußball Club. Over the years the club developed sections for handball, boxing, walking, table tennis, pool and rugby. However, it is through football that the name of DFV is best known.


The club’s first home ground was located where Rheinhauser Straße now stands. In 1909 Hochfelder became members of the Westdeutschen Fußballverband. In 1914 the club changed its title to Duisburger Fußballverein 08.

The club played in the Kreisliga before a runners-up place saw them qualify for the Gauliga Niederrhein, which was one of sixteen top flight divisions introduced under the rule of the Third Reich. In 1933 the club won the regional Niederrhein-Pokalsieger.


The team were relegated in 1937, but took Borussia Dortmund to a replay in the knock out stages of the Tschammerpokal, as the German Cup was known at the time. The replayed game at Hochfeld attracted a crowd of 8,000 to witness a 3-1 defeat.

Once peace was restored after World War Two, DFV resumed to play Bezirksklasse football before winning promotions to the Oberliga and then the Oberliga West in 1949, which was one of the top flight divisions of the time. However, their spell at that level lasted just one season.


Günter Brocker began his career at the club before progression to FC Schalke 04, where he won a Meisterschaft.  In 1953 the club descended to the Verbandsliga Niederrhein, then winning promotion to 2. Liga West, before falling further to playing in the Bezirksliga. Some brief flirtations in cup competitions gave the DFV something to cheer.


By 1982 the club were playing in Verbandsliga Niederrhein, with DFV taking on and losing 4-1 to FC Bayern München in a friendly at MSV’s Wedau-Stadion in front of a crowd of 12,000. 1988 saw a relegation, followed by promotion in 1991. In 1994 Duisburger just missed out on promotion to Oberliga Nordrhein.


In 1998 the club was relegated from the Verbandsliga. By 2003 DFV were relegated to Kreisliga A, before going right down to Kreisliga B in 2009. Promotion was won at the first attempt to regain their place in one of many eighth level divisions in German football.

Salvatore Campanella was given the task as head coach of winning promotion in the 2012-13 season. He departed to be replaced by Alessandro Vergaro for the 2015-16 campaign after just missing out with a runners-up spot.


Duisburger FV 08 will play in Kreisliga A Duisburg in the 2015-16 season.


My visit

Sunday 28th February 2016


It’s strange how sometimes things work out on a day of groundhopping. To be totally honest DFV were not on my radar initially, although I noted the location of the Grunewald-Kampfbahn before my departure.

Originally I had meant to visit Duisburger SV 1900 and then Eintracht Duisburg before the MSV Duisburg v St Pauli match. However I had got slightly lost trying to find the UBahn at Duisburg Banhof meaning I had missed the service to Waldfriedhof.


The next tram wasn’t for thirty minutes. Instead I got on the next one to arrive as I saw a bloke wearing a blue and white scarf, only to discover I was going in completely the wrong direction. Not all was lost as I got out and discovered the next tram on the opposite platform was heading straight to Grunewald. Talk about a bit of luck!

On alighting I soon followed my instinct and walked down Paul-Esch-Straße, where many fans were parking up before heading to the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena. I soon found myself walking inside the ground for a look and I was pleasantly surprised.


The ground showed signs that it had staged a far higher level than football in the past. The side by the railway had quite a decent sized open terracing. Opposite was a few steps with benches. The far end was a grass bank behind the goal, while the near end had the clubhouse and changing rooms.

The pitch was fairly unkempt, although it was still the winter break. I later read that the club also used the Sportanlange on Grunewaldstraße. This was fairly confusing. The pitch on Grunewaldstraße had an artificial surface, so perhaps that venue took precedence in the winter months, a bit like in the Czech Republic?


Whatever, it was time to get on my way, especially as I was about to go on a detour after thinking I’d detected a short cut by following more fans in blue and white!









  


MSV Duisburg (Germany)



MSV Duisburg is a professional football club from the city of the same name in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, who were formed in 1902 as Meidericher Spielverein. The club represented the city of Meiderich, which became part of Duisburg three years later.


By 1905 the club had risen to B class status, the same time as they changed their title to Sport Club Viktoria Meiderich. Within four years promotion was won to A class following an unbeaten season. In 1915 Meiderich became Ruhr champions.

Meidericher SV won the Niederrhein championship in 1929,qualifying for the German national championships. The feat was repeated two years later. In 1932 the club attracted a record attendance of 50,000 to Duisburger Stadion for the visit of all conquering local rivals Schalke 04.


In the lead up to the War, the team flirted at one point with relegation. They were crowned Dusiburg champions during the War years, before being placed in 2. Liga West, Gruppe 2 after peace was restored.

Coach Willi 'Fischken' Multhaup led MSV to promotion to Oberliga West in 1951 following a runners-up place. Oberliga West was one of four top flight divisions at the time. The team went back down in 1955, but they made a return at the first attempt.


In 1963-64 MSV became founder members of the Bundesliga, finishing as runners-up to 1. FC Köln. Tasmania Berlin were hammered 9-0 in an away game by ‘Die Zebras’ (The Zebras) in 1966.

In the same year MSV reached the final of the DFB Pokal (German FA Cup), where they went down 4-2 to Bayern München in Frankfurt. In 1968 a change in title meant that the club became MSV Duisburg to reflect their standing as the biggest club in the city.


A second DFB Pokal final was reached in 1975. On this occasion MSV suffered a 1-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in Hannover. Their run in the UEFA Cup the following season came to a halt in the second round against Levski Sofia.

Some fine Bundesliga seasons culminated with a place in the UEFA Cup for the 1978-79 campaign. A fine run saw victories over Lech Poznań, FC Carl Zeiss Jena and RC Strasbourg led to a semi final with Borussia Mönchengladbach, which ended in a 6-3 defeat on aggregate. The goals of Ronald Worm propelled the side forward at the time.


In 1981-82 MSV were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time, leading to a further demotion four years later to the third tier Oberliga Nordrhein. In 1989 the Zebras climbed back to 2. Bundesliga.

Willibert Kremer took the team to the top flight in 1990-91 with Pierre Littbarski amongst the line up, but MSV went straight back down after just one season. With Ewald Lienen in charge of team affairs Duisburg once again won promotion in 1993-94. Yet again they returned to 2. Bundesliga after just one season.


MSV were nothing but resilient around this period. Friedhelm Funkel led the side back to the top flight in 1995-96. Funkel’s team made a better fist of things. Victory over Auxerre in the final of the Intertoto Cup led to UEFA Cup football once again.

Duisburg reached their third DFB Pokal final in 1998. Once again it would be Bayern München who would spoil the party as they won the showpiece 2-1 in Berlin. In 1999-00 the Zebras were relegated once again.


Littbarski returned as head coach in 2001, remaining in charge for just over a year before Norbert Meier replaced him. In May 2003 the local NRW authority gave the club the green light to replace their stadium with a new Duisburg Arena.

In 2004-05 Duisburg regained their Bundesliga spot as the new arena was nearing completion after being built in stages to allow the team to continue playing on the same site. Meier’s side last just one campaign at the top as Rudi Bommer arrived to become the new head coach.


Bommer took the team straight back up as season tickets hit record levels. However, Zebra fans were to be left disappointed as the team were relegated yet again after one tilt at top division football. Peter Neururer was assigned to try and regain that status. November 2009 saw another change as team boss as Milan Sasic arrived.


In 2011 Duisburg got to the final of the DFB Pokal at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Schalke 04 proved far too strong and took the trophy with a 5-0 victory. Further sad news would follow for the Duisburg faithful as they were relegated to 3. Liga at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Following a seventh place finish in the third tier which also saw the lifting of the Niederrhein Cup under Karsten Baumann, new coach Gino Lettieri took the side to the 3. Liga title in 2014-15, to secure second division football. Littieri was replaced in November 2015 after a poor run of results by former MSV player Iliya Gruev.


Gruev's side rallied in the second half of the 2015-16 season to avert relegation. 

MSV Duisburg will play in 2. Bundesliga in the 2016-17 season.


My visit


MSV Duisburg 0 St Pauli 2 (Sunday 28th February 2016) 2. Bundesliga (att: 20,790)


Everything was going more or less to plan on a cold but really nice Sunday. My flight had landed from Stansted into Bonn/Cologne on time. I had dropped my bag off in Düsseldorf and then eventually had a look at the homes of Duisburger FV 08 and Eintracht Duisburg.

Time was getting on as I found my correct gate in the north west corner. There was a build up of fans as the stewards were only allowing a few through at a time to allow stewards at the other side to frisk everyone before they could go up the steps.


There was no need to worry. I was still in with plenty of time to grab a tray of chips and a frikadel before going upstairs to find my seat that offered a brilliant view over the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena as the MSV-Arena had been renamed for sponsorship purposes. My ticket was €20.

The near Nord Kurve had terracing downstairs, as did the far corner at the other end for away fans. An upper tier ran continuously right around the stadium. The main side had an extra section of business seats with boxes behind half way up. It was well designed and certainly held an atmosphere.


As ever, St Pauli had an excellent following for a live TV game on a lunchtime. They filled the entire lower section at the far end as well as a block above. The home fans were whipped up as club songs were played, as is the norm in Germany. They were not short on vocals themselves.

The Zebras went into the game with MSV deep in relegation trouble, while their visitors from Hamburg were looking at a return to the top flight. MSV showed signs of being short in confidence, but urged on by their fans, they showed some real grit.


Defences were well on top in the first half, with chances being at a minimum. I quite enjoyed it, although that could well of been down to the occasion rather than the match. The wind blew up through up from the open concourse meaning the poor woman next to me was covered in crumbls every time I tried to bite into my crusty bread.

At the break I wandered downstairs to have a look around. Queues were large for all the concessions. I had a look at the club shop in the hope of finding a programme, but there was nothing doing. It was too cold for a beer so I returned to my seat.


Duisburg really were lacking up front. I had a feeling that St Pauli would eventually carve something out. Three minutes after the break the home keeper Michael Ratajczak  made a fine save from Enis Alushi, while up at our end a Tómané header was kept out by Robin Himmelmann.

As I thought, it was the away team who took the lead when midfielder Marc Rzatkowski fired home from the edge of the box to send the fans at the far end wild with delight. There were plenty of resigned and frustrated faces around me.


MSV made a substitution and brought on the Nigerian forward Kingsley Onuegbu. I could immediately see why they scored so few goals. Maybe it was just down to a lack of confidence as they huffed and puffed but some reasonable balls were sent into the box, but the forwards were either in the wrong place, or their first touch was awful.

With ten minutes to go I went downstairs. I wanted some extra photos from a different angle and to get into position for a quick getaway. As the clock ticked round to eighty eight minutes I left and ran across to the waiting buses for the station.


Worryingly, no other fans were following me. It was obvious that it wasn’t going to be a quick ride in front of the traffic at full time. I made a decision to go back and jump in one of the taxis near the exit gate. My driver was being urged to get a move on, just as St Pauli scored their second goal.

My pilot was being far too courteous, though to be fair he did get me back to the station with time to spare before my train on to Dortmund. It was one of the better €10 I’d spent. I had time to grab a coffee before I went on my way to my second game of the day.

I’d enjoyed my brief time in Duisburg, but MSV had a real mountain to climb to fight off relegation.








Friday, March 18, 2016

Eintracht Duisburg 1848 (Germany)



Eintracht Duisburg 1848 is an amateur football club from the city of Duisburg in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany who have a rich history prior to the formation of the present club on the 1st July 1964 following a merger.

The merger came from two old Dusiburg clubs; Duisburger Turngemeinde für Erwachsene von 1848, who were the predecessor of the Duisburger Spielverein, and TuS Duisburg 48/99.



Duisburger SpV

Duisburger Spielverein (Duisburger SpV) were one of the most successful German teams in the area after future DFB President Gottfried Hinz formed the club out of Duisburger TfE on the 22nd March 1900. The club moved into their Sportplatz am Grunewald in 1901.

In 1902 the Rheinische Spiel-Verband (Rhine FA) was set up, with the club being placed in Klasse des 3. A year later ‘Rotblusen’, as the club were known for their red shirts, joined the DFB German FA. The team won the Westdeutsche Meisterschaft at the first attempt and progressed to the national final rounds, where they lost 2-1 to reigning champions VfB Leipzig in the last four.



In 1905 DSV again reached the semi-final after a second Westdeutsche title, but they went out 5-1 to Stuttgarter Kickers. The Westdeutsche Spiel-Verband introduced a top flight Zehnerliga for the best clubs in the region in 1909. Duisburger won it in 1910 and 1911 with German internationals Lothar Budzinski-Kreth and Christian Schilling in the team, but both times they went out at the last eight stage of the national championship.

In 1913 a fifth regional title was followed up with a run all the way to the national final, where they were defeated 3-1 by VfB Leipzig, with Heinrich Fischer scoring the consolation goal. The Zehnerliga title was collected once again in 1914.



In 1918 Grunewald was required by the city for a new freight depot, so the club were forced to leave for a new home at Rheintörchenstraße in the Wanheimerort district of the city.

After World War I, the regional championship was called the Spielverein. DSV lifted the championship crown in 1921, going on to the national final, where they fell 3-1 to Berliner FC Vorwärts. The district title was collected in 1924 and 1925, but the team didn’t go much further in the quest for a national title.

The final Westmeisterschaft arrived at the club in 1927, before financial difficulties led to DSV slipping down the pecking order. The Third Reich introduced sixteen top flight Gauliga’s, but Duisburger were overlooked, before winning promotion in 1943 to Gauliga Niederrhein.



At the end of World War Two, DSV were placed in the Bezirksliga Rechter Niederrhein. After a couple of near misses promotion was won via the play-offs in 1949 after seeing off the challenge from FV 08 Duisburg and VfL Benrath.

In 1950-51 the team returned to the lower grade. Manager Fred Harthaus took the side back to Oberliga West in 1953. In 1954 the club moved to play matches at Wedaustadion. A decent finish in 1956-57 saw DVS narrowly miss out on reaching the national championship finals. Crowds dropped to around 13,000 before the club managed to qualify for the newly formed Regionalliga West in 1963.

At the same time local rivals Meidericher, who would become known as MSV Duisburg), qualified for the top flight Bundesliga. DVS were struggling with a large debt as merger talks began.

TuS Duisburg 48/99

The other club in the merger to form Eintracht were a result of several mergers of their own. In 1899 Duisburger FK 1899 got together with SV Viktoria Duisburg to become Duisburger SV Viktoria.



SV Borussia Duisburg and Duisburger TSV 1848 eventually became Duisburger TV 1848 who were placed in Gauliga Niederrhein, which was one of sixteen top divisions introduced during Third Reich rule, with German international Willy Busch in the team.

In 1934 the team were relegated, before regaining their place three years later following wins over VfB Mühlheim and SpVg Odenkirchen in the play off rounds. A further merger followed a runners-up spot to Fortuna Düsseldorf as the club became TuS 48/99.

In 1941/42 TuS were once again runners-up, this time behind Hamborn 07. After the War, TuS were placed in the Landesliga. A runners-up place behind VfB Bottrop in 1962-63 allowed TuS to qualify for the newly formed Regionalliga West for the next season, when merger talks would take place with DSV to form Eintracht Duisburg.

Eintracht Duisburg

Eintracht were faced with a tough task as next door neighbours MSV finished runners-up in the top flight Bundesliga just as the merger was complete. Financial difficulties blighted the new club before they dropped down to the Verbandsliga Niederrhein in 1967.



They immediately won that title and won promotion after a play off round. A merger with MSV Duisburg and Hamborn 07 to form 1. FC Duisburg was discussed but never realised. In 1969 the club returned to the Verbandsliga, where they remained until 1976, when a succession of relegations found Eintracht in the local Kreisliga A, which was one of many national eighth tier leagues.

The club has found itself around that level ever since, as a sporting club at the centre of the community with a proud background in fencing, athletics, handball, table tennis, gymnastics, badminton, street dance and tennis.

Eintracht Duisburg will play in the Kreisliga B Duisburg/Mülheim/Dinslaken, Gruppe 2 in the 2015-16 season.


My visit

Sunday 28th February 2016

Following my visit to nearby Duisburger FV 08 I had taken a rather longer than intended route to Eintracht. The crowds were growing as I crossed under the autobahn at Wacholderstraße in readiness for the MSV match.

I was getting a little concerned that I was pushing time before kick off, but in no time I was on Margaretenstraße and entering the clubhouse area at the stadium. Passing several clay tennis courts, I found myself by a bar where many fans were enjoying pre match beers alfresco. It wasn’t the proper entrance to get inside the arena, but it offered me all the views I required.


Leichtathletikstadion, was as the name suggests, an athletic arena with a running track around the pitch. A fine covered seated stand ran down the right hand touchline. The opposite side was a few steps of open terracing. There was nothing of note behind either curves at the ends.

Having taken my photos, I saw that the changing rooms were at this end of the arena, but the access gate, which also led to spectator access was locked. Not to worry, as I had everything that I had set out for.


I headed along with the building crowds gathering at the turnstiles at the Schauinsland-Reisen- Arena for the lunchtime visit of St Pauli.