Scorching Summer Season for travelling teams

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20-10-11

At HI Group Sport and Travel Division it was business as usual as we welcomed many UK and European football teams into Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as to our other fantastic destinations for pre season training camps.

First to arrive was Rochdale FC. The division one team returned to the Costa del Sol for the fourth year running, this time new manager, Steve Eyre. The team chose to stay at the Hotel La Cala after using the Gran Hotel Benahavis the previous year.

Again we arranged for them a top quality friendly game, this time with the national team of Gibraltar, at their stadium. The game ended in a draw, but it was a superb match that provided both teams with the perfect preparation for the season ahead.

Barnsley FC arrived the next day and the Championship team were quick to settle into the Gran Hotel Benahavis. Keith Hill, the manager, had previously stayed here with Rochdale, and so was keen to get straight to work. The group had a great week, in excellent conditions, perfect for both hard work and relaxation!!

Cardiff City U19's stayed in the Hotel Sol Andalusi, just 20 mins from Malaga airport. The U19's had a fantastic 6 nights away with only hard work and training on the menu. The hotel Sol Andalusi facility has a fantastic pitch which allowing teams to work on every aspect of their game with no excuses, first class trip enjoyed by all!

Bristol City , Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest were our next visitors, they all chose to go to the Algarve. Bristol City stayed at Barringtons; we arranged a game for them against Charlton Athletic who were also staying with us, on the Portugal/Spain border in Lepe San Roque. The match took place at the new stadium in Lepe, and saw Charlton win the game 1-0.

Tottenham Hotspur development squad chose to travel to Portugal for a superb pre season training camp that we put together specifically to cater for Tim Sherwood's requests. The group had a week of excellent weather, and the training facilities were complimented by the quality of the games that we organised against Nottingham Forest and Brighton and Hove Albion FC. Spurs stayed in the Le Meridien Penina Hotel and had a great week.

"The second year we've used HI Group and it gets better and better, facilities and organisation were absolutely perfect and just how we wanted it, the boys loved the games Gary organised and it was great to have someone with us for the entire stay, see you next year! - Tim Sherwood (coach Spurs)

Nottingham Forest provided excellent opposition for the Tottenham Hotspur Development squad. Forest's manager Steve McLaren is a regular client of ours, as he has brought his previous teams Middlesbrough FC to Marbella on many occasions as well as the Dutch side FC Twente. Another great game for both teams in the Albufeira Stadium saw Spurs development squad win the game 3 -2. Both teams were delighted with the run out and the great attendance of supporters!

We were also pleased to be able to organize a very similar trip for Brighton and Hove Albion FC and their manager Gus Poyet. This was their third trip in a year with us, last year they had a great trip with friendly games against Sunderland and Portimonense. With their recent promotion into the Championship, Gus wanted an even stronger tour this time. Fortunately as we are the organisers of the prestigous Guadiana Tourneo we had some big clubs looking for an extra game. This was the case for the French giants Paris St Germain, and after the tournament with Benfica and Anderlect they agreed to play Brighton. This provided an excellent game with PSG winning 1-0; the other matches against the Spurs Development squad and Olhanense rounded off an unbelievable tour for a very satisfied manager!

Our pre season activity continued right through into August. Our UEFA Match Licence enables us to organize matches between any European teams giving clubs complete confidence in us. As well as organising big European games for Arsenal and Spurs we took Aston Villa to Sporting Braga, in the north of Portugal. Flying directly to Porto on a private jet, from Birmingham, we were able to fund a night in a fabulous hotel, along with all travel costs. Sporting Braga are a very strong Portuguese team and the game finished in a 1-1 draw which both teams where delighted with!

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