Busy Summer in Spain for UK Football Teams

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16-10-08

Only a few weeks after the season had finished the HI Group Sport and Travel division were busy welcoming many UK and European football teams into Southern Spain, as well as to our other fantastic destinations for pre season training camps.

Keith HillFirst to arrive was Rochdale FC. The division 2 team returned to the Costa del Sol for the second year running, this time opting to try a new venue the 4 star Sol Andalusi Resort.

They arrived at the beginning of July for a week long training camp at this superb facility. By the end of the week the players were shattered, after a hard training schedule, with 2 pitch sessions every day, and a couple of friendly matches including a game against Peterborough United. They left feeling ready for the start of the new season, and with the promise of returning soon.

Whilst Rochdale FC were in Spain, we were finalizing the last details for Vittoria Guimaraes trip to Switzerland. The Portuguese side was keen to use the excellent facilities and experience the climate that central Europe can offer. Vittoria played 2 televised matches in an organised tournament, and had an extremely successful week of training.

The Costa del Sol also played host to 2 academy teams from ScotlandThe Costa del Sol also played host to 2 academy teams from Scotland. The first to arrive was the Ian Cathro Soccer Clinic which is based predominantly in the Dundee area, and has many youngsters already attached to professional clubs. It was their second successive year with us and this time they opted to try Benahavis and the Gran Hotel Benahavis. They were obviously very impressed with everything as Ian booked 2 further trips whilst staying with us!!

Aberdeen FC followed Rochdale FC into the Hotel Sol Andalusi and the U19’s had a fantastic 13 nights away with 4 friendly matches against Spanish teams of the same age. 18 years in this business has allowed us to develop excellent links with many Andalusian teams enabling any touring team a friendly game of the highest order, something that we know is very important for our travelling teams.

Alan PardewCharlton Athletic FC were our next visitors, in fact it was their fourth trip in 2 years with us. This time they chose to stay at Montecastillo in Jerez, a 5 star resort with 2 excellent pitches and a championship golf course.

Real Betis were also staying in the hotel at the same time as Charlton. This was not a problem for either team as the resort offers different rooming options allowing 2 teams to stay alongside each other, without any disruptions. This gave us a great option for a friendly game with the Spanish side. However manager Alan Pardew was happy to stick with one low key friendly match, allowing the team to concentrate on a tough training regime.

Roy KeaneThe resort proved to suit the needs of the team very well, the excellent pitches combined with the superb golf course allowed the team to combine hard training with good quality relaxation.

Sunderland AFC chose to travel to Faro, in Portugal, for a superb pre season training camp that HI Group put together specifically to cater for Roy Keane's requests. We had a week of excellent weather and training facilities complimented by 2 top quality games that we organized against Sporting Lisbon and Vittoria Setubal.

"It’s been very good, were delighted at what we’ve got out of it, the training facilities have been fantastic, and the hotel and opposition we have played have meant we were delighted with what we got out of this trip".
Roy Keane (manager Sunderland AFC)

Blackburn RoversWe were also pleased to be able to organize a very similar trip for Blackburn Rovers and their new manager Paul Ince. Again this was in the Algarve very near to Sunderland’s camp. The Guadiana Cup is a competition that we have worked with for a number of years and we were pleased that Blackburn Rovers were involved in it this year. Sporting Lisbon and Benfica were the other teams involved in this annual triangular competition, which offers the competing teams an excellent training camp with top European opponents. Paul Ince was delighted with the trip.

To finish the summer in Spain we had Aston Villa FC who made a last minute decision to get away following their success in the Intertoto Cup. With just one week to organize everything we managed to secure 2 strong opponents for their friendly games, excellent training facilities and top class hotel service. The Gran Hotel Benahavis will become a popular hotel following the success of the Villa stay, and we are sure news of this excellent location will spread quickly. The team worked hard in preparation for the start of their season in the Premiership and it looks like its paying off!!

Our pre season activity continued right through into August. The UEFA Match Licence that we have enables us to organize matches between any European teams giving the club complete protection. We worked with both Spanish and UK teams, arranging games for Premiership new boys and pace setter’s Hull City FC. They had games against Hearts and Ossasuna whilst on the same weekend we arranged Athletic Bilbao to play against Charlton and Colchester. All games went without a hitch, again emphasizing the prudence of using a qualified match agent.

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News updated 14/01/15
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