Another Busy Year for the HI Group

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01-10-07

2007 was another busy year for the HI Group as we had even more new teams onboard who where visiting us for the first time, the usual busy winter went by with many of the Irish and European teams making the most of the excellent weather and first rate facilities but March and April turned out to be an exciting period!

Danish National Football Team

We had the Danish National team down at MPF for 5 days of preparation before playing Spain in the Euro qualifier, sadly Spain beat them in a close game but the trip was a huge success and it was nice to see so many familiar faces as many of the players had visited before with either Danish or English club teams.

Charlton, Aston Villa and Hibs all visited MPF before the season ended but Charlton liked it so much they returned for pre season in a neighbouring camp at the village of Benahavis.

It’s certainly becoming a popular pre season destination now as Birmingham City, Hull City, Gretna and Charlton have stayed at this wonderful hotel in the warmer months.

Charlton Athletic v UD MarbellaCharlton had a great week here and played 2 games against Malaga CF and UD Marbella, these teams provided fantastic opposition and perfect preparation for the Championship kick off. Charltons assistant manager Phil Parkinson had some very kind words to say about the impressive facilities

"The manager said in the dressing room tonight that the lads' attitude all week has been absolutely superb and everything they've been asked to do they've done. From my point of view there's been a hell of a lot of positives on and off the pitch. The spirit of the lads and the way the newcomers have settled in has been terrific. In my view there's no better way for new players to settle in with an existing group than coming away for a week like this.One of the key goals and targets of this week was to get that kind of team spirit and we have most definitely achieved that.All in all it couldn't have gone any better which I'm very thankful to Gary and the HI Group for organizing such a well orchestrated camp".

Charlton Athletic Charlton Athletic

In the month of July we also had teams from the lower end of the leagues as we have different facilities all down the coast to meet most budgets but Rochdales visit to Cadiz even surprised them to see the fantastic facilities at Barossa Park, thay stayed a week and played 2 games against Gibraltar Xl and another our visiting teams from the Conference South, Lewes Town. Keith Hill the manager of Rochdale was delighted with the way the week went and added ‘’ it’s always a worry going to another country for such an important part of the season but having Gary based in Spain and staying with us was a real bonus, I didn’t have to worry about anything as Gary organized every session, meal, coach transfer , friendly match and even the laundry to such a high standard, I’d love to return next year!’’

To finish the pre season preparation off we returned to the UK and brought in the top Portuguese outfit, Sporting Clube de Braga. We flew them in for one game only and based them in Bexley Heath where they used Charltons excellent training facilities.

These games can be a gamble in terms of opposition but with the Portuguese side had played a few games prior and where ready to go when the referee blew his whistle at the Valley.It turned out to be an excellent game with some exciting play from both sides but the visitors had that bit extra and edged the game 2 – 1 in front of a large home crowd.

Can I thank Charlton Athletic for their support and cooperation throughout the organisation of this game especially Chris Parkes and the ground staff for allowing us to train on their training ground.

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