On to London now! In the region of London you can spend weeks and months visiting all the football grounds. Some of them are pure gold. Some of them are just modern pieces. We went for something in between by visiting The Hive Stadium in the northern region of London.
This stadium has only been built in 2013, so with only three years this is one of the most recently built stadiums we have ever visited. Barnet FC and London Bees both play here, and it's a bit peculiar as both teams are originally from Barnet, but the stadium is built in Edgware.
The former ground was Underhill Stadium (talking about pure gold!). We went there as well, but unfortunately we couldn't enter the ground. It's been abandoned for quite a time now and it's scheduled to be torn down. We definitely want to go back to have another attempt entering Underhill Stadium. In our opinion this is the most beautiful lost ground ever. Barnet FC already has a very rich history. It was founded in 1888 and in 1907 the perfect marriage with Underhill Stadium started. It's still a mystery as to why they had to move to a new stadium as the Underhill Stadium had a greater capacity compared to The Hive Stadium.
Barnet FC actually started before 1888 already. In 1882 a team was created named Woodville FC. The ceased activities in 1885 but immediately afterwards New Barnet FC was founded. This team also only existed for three years and Barnet FC is in fact the continuation of these teams. In the last years of the 19th century they had some small successes in regional leagues before ceasing all activities in 1902. For a decade there were two different teams striving to be the successor of the former Barnet FC. The in 1890 formed Barnet Avenue FC changed their name into Barnet FC in 1904. A different team, Alston Works AFC (founded in 1901) changed their name into Barnet Alston FC and that was the team that moved to Underhill Stadium in 1907. Eventually in 1912 the two teams merged and became Barnet and Alston FC. In 1919 the name became the current existing Barnet FC. They played the Athenian League until 1965, the year they became a professional team. During these 50 years Barnet FC would occasionally win a trophy.
Until 1991 Barnet FC would mostly play in non league divisions and again they would gain some successes from time to time, even in the FA cup against some of the bigger teams in the UK. After 1991 Barnet would go from the Football League to Conference and back. Currently they are playing the Football League (in League 2 if we are not mistaking). Across the years they would prove to be a good team in the cups, both FA Cup and the League Cup. Nicknamed The Bees almost everything in the team reminds to that nickname, even the new stadium name. One of the most known former players The Bees had was definitely the eccentric Edgar Davids. At the end of his career he also was manager at the team.
The female team affiliated to Barnet FC playing in The Hive Stadium was actually founded in 1975 as District Line Ladies FC. Back then they had an affiliation with Wembley FC. In 1993 they changed their name into Wembley Ladies FC. In 1998 they became affiliated with Barnet FC and merged with the already existing Barnet Ladies FC. The name changed into Barnet FC Ladies in the same year. In 2013 they changed their name into the current London Bees and were successful in their bid to join the WSL (Women's Super League). This season they are playing in second division in the WSL.
We visited a game of the London Bees and were quite surprised with the high level of football played and the number of fans for women's football (a big difference with women's football in Belgium). It would be great though if we could still visit the Underhill Stadium any time soon.