Winter 2008 for HI Group Sport and Travel Division

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07-04-08

Winter 2008 for HI Group Sport and Travel DivisionFollowing the success of summer 2007 which saw a number of teams visit the southern coast of Spain for their pre season training, the winter period followed suit with teams arriving as early as January!

The early FA Cup exit for many teams this year opened up the opportunity for teams to get away to warmer climates to continue with their preparation. These teams along with the ones from Europe on their pre season schedule meant a busy time for the HI team.

First over to Spain were Bolton Wanderers who are regular visitors with HI. They returned to use the impressive MPFS facility and didn’t leave disappointed, excellent hotel, great golf and fantastic training pitches enabled Gary Megson to create the perfect atmosphere to welcome some new signings.

On the same day Hull City travelled over to Dubai on a trip arranged for them by HI. Although the weather was better in Spain it still didn’t stop Hull having a great time sharing their training pitches with Red Bull Salzburg. Again the hotels here are amazing offering 5 star comfort and service with the best fresh food for top athletes, a good alternative for teams that can’t get into Spain!!

Thank you very much indeed for your help and hospitality throughout our stay. Hope to be back again very soon.
Martin O'Neil (manager Aston Villa)

After this we hit the pre season trail for the Irish, Danish and other Scandinavian nations for an important time in their calendar. The Irish league is really becoming a strong area for the HI group with top sides such as Drogheda, St Pats, Bohemians, Shamrock and Cork City travelling over to Spain with us. They all enjoyed excellent conditions at a variety of our training locations, and with strong matches against the likes of Dynamo Kiev, Wislow Krakov, Dynamo Moscow and other German and Swiss teams the Irish certainly won more games than they lost!!

It was great to see Aston VillaIn between the Irish and Danish the English teams started to arrive in February. It was great to see Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Charlton etc all training alongside each other. With a number of excellent quality hotels, all in close proximity to these wonderful pitches, it is possible to host 7 or 8 teams a week, which we continued to do throughout February.

The Danish teams have made a welcome return to Spain following unsuccessful visits to Turkey and they made the most of this year’s great weather. AC Horsens and Viborg both travelled over to Spain at the same time. They had a great 10 day trip playing against CSKA, Karpaty and our own club UD Marbella which was great preparation for both teams for the second half of their season which begins in March.

Thanks for all your help both at the training ground and at the hotel, everything was excellent!
Joe Jordan (Ass manager Portsmouth FC)

Our own club UD MarbellaTo end the pre season period we had HJK Helsinki over for a 10 day break. The Finnish giants played some competitive games against Malaga B, Brann Bergen and Lynn Oslo, again showing that arranging top class opposition, along with excellent facilities and top class service, is the key to a successful campaign.

Our most recent team to travel was premiership side Everton who arrived in early April, to a sunny climate, after leaving behind the cold and snow of the UK. Their choice of hotel was close to the training centre and offered them 5 star facilities.

As we prepare for the end of the winter season, with the final few English teams including West Ham and Bristol City, looking to re group for an important run into the end of the season, we look forward to the summer season and the upcoming tournaments and friendly matches.

Good although rubbish at soccer and cant drink! Very good and well pleased!
Alan Pardew (Manager Charlton Athletic)

We wish all the teams that have travelled with us so far this year success, and look forward to welcoming them back next year.

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