Very Busy Summer for HI Group Sport & Travel Division

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16-10-13

HI Group Sport and Travel division have been very busy welcoming many European and UK teams into Spain, Portugal and Tenerife, as well as to our other fantastic destinations across central Europe such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland for a very productive 2013 pre season.

First to arrive was Watford FC. During a very successful campaign in the English Championship Gian Franco Zola returned to MPFS in Marbella. HI Group has taken Zola to this camp before when he was at West Ham. This time he decided to take the players and family for a week long camp before the play off final, we even had time to celebrate Almunia’s birthday at La Sala!

Watford enjoy Manuel Almunia's birthday celebrations in La Sala
Watford enjoy Manuel Almunia's birthday celebrations in La Sala

With the season starting earlier this year our teams' started to arrive for Training Camps towards the end of June. Burton Albion travelled with us for the first time and stayed at the Hotel Sol Andalusi. Garry Rowett enjoyed the fine weather and good conditions at a camp which is only 15 minutes from Malaga.

Rochdale AFC travelled with us once again, and after a series of initial meetings to decide which location would suit their requirements best, we advised on the very impressive Tenerife camp. Keith Hill and his team stayed for 7 nights in the Hotel La Caleta, and trained at the fabulous T3 complex. The guys had the best camp to date, the facilities are second to none allowing the 2nd division team to maximise their preparation using the Olympic pools, fully equipped gym and excellent pitch!

Team train at Tenerife
Rochdale training in Tenerife

Barnsley FC arrived with us for the 4th time into the Costa Del Sol staying at the beautiful La Cala Resort near Mijas. David Flitcroft is a name we will be hearing a lot of in the future, the young manager has had a brilliant start to his managerial career, its time he stopped playing as his future is definitely in management!! The team worked very hard during the time they spent with us and made the most of the sunshine and the fabulous pitch.

Barnsley FC working hard at La Cala
Barnsley FC working hard at La Cala

The next two teams to arrive in Marbella were the Championship Teams of Charlton Athletic and Huddersfield Town. They both used the facilities at MPFS in Marbella but stayed in different hotels. As MPFS offers 4 pitches in top quality condition both teams were able to train in total privacy, please click the link below for the blog from Charlton manager Chris Powell who was delighted with the tour and the 2 games we organised against Gibraltar and St Mirren who were staying at San Roque.

New options for Powell post-Spain - Read the article

Charlton Athletic Training in Spain - View images

Whilst we were busy looking after teams in Spain, Portugal and Tenerife we had Premier League new boys Cardiff City away in Switzerland and Norwich City in Austria. We have worked closely with both clubs and are delighted to see them doing so well, obviously down to the excellent preparation! Both teams had excellent trips and made use of the natural surroundings and enjoyed a days white water rafting which was a great team building activity. Please click here for a report and video of the beautiful resort in Geneva!

Cardiff City in Geneva
Cardiff City in Geneva

Hibernian FC travelled with us again and stayed in Spain at the very good San Roque resort. Their manager Pat Fenlon has been travelling with us for 10 years, and knows that the HI Group deliver as close as possible to the brief set out by the coach. Pat wanted two strong games in preparation for their Europa League campaign, and again Gibraltar provided a challenging atmosphere in the Victoria stadium. They also provided a good level of opposition which resulted in a narrow victory for Hibs. We arranged their second game with Nottingham Forest who had come to us and asked us to arrange a strong game for them. This was a difficult task as it was the first week of July, however we arranged a neutral stadium and put on a good game which Forest won 2-1, both managers were delighted with their weeks' training and vowed to return next year.

Blackburn Rovers in the gym at the Amendoeira Resort
Blackburn Rovers in the gym at the Amendoeira Resort

Blackburn Rovers travelled with us again to the Amendoira Resort in Portugal and had a fantastic break, playing one game with local division 2 side SC Portimonense, a goal by Leon Best was the only difference between the two sides in a great game to cap a successful tour.


Marcus Tudgay taking it easy at the Penina resort

As we bid goodbye to Nottingham Forest Dave Jones arrived at the Penina resort with Sheffield Wednesday to return for the 4th time in as many years. He was delighted with the two games we had arranged for them to play as part of their preparations. Their opposition was with our other travelling teams, Hull City AFC and SC Braga from Portugal.

Sheffield Wednesday about to kick off with SCBraga in Albufeira
Sheffield Wednesday about to kick off with SCBraga in Albufeira

Hull City AFC chose to travel to Faro again for a superb training camp that HI Group put together specifically to cater for Steve Bruce’s requests. We arranged an 8 day camp at the Cascade Resort (Lagos) but more importantly hand picked friendly games for the days that Steve wanted to play. We arranged a 3 team tournament with Sheffield Wednesday and Sporting Braga which gave everyone the perfect level of opposition requested, all the games were played in the Albufeira Stadium.

Hull City playing "keep ball" at Cascade Resort
Hull City playing "keep ball" at Cascade Resort

Newcastle United were our next team to arrive, and this year they chose one of our newer venues for their preparations. Over the past few years we have worked very closely with the club and delivered some great games for them. Last year alone we provided games against Olympiacos, SCBraga, Monaco and Fenerbache. The training camp this year had more of a Portuguese flavour as the team stayed in the Braga region of Northern Portugal.

Newcastle at SC Braga training ground
Newcastle at SC Braga training ground

We arranged charter flights directly from Newcastle, and the team used the hotel, and training facilities of Braga. Newcastle played two games one against Rio Ave and the other Pacos de Ferreira. During the week we also planned local restaurant experiences and activities for the group, giving them a tailored and well planned tour specific to Alan Pardew’s needs.

Newcastle playing champions league hopefuls Pacos de Ferreira
Newcastle playing champions league hopefuls Pacos de Ferreira

Following Newcastle Utds tour we were back to the Algarve arranging a camp for Swindon Town and Tottenham Hotspur’s Development squad. Tottenham returned to the Penina for the 3rd year running, and Swindon used the excellent Amendoira Resort where Blackburn Rovers had stayed earlier in the summer.

windon Town enjoying the excellent pitch at the Amendoeira Resort
Swindon Town enjoying the excellent pitch at the Amendoeira Resort

Below are the results of the games we arranged this summer!

Gibraltar v Hibernian (0-2)
Nottingham Forest v Hibernian (2 – 1)
Charlton v Gibraltar (3-1)
Charlton v St Mirren (4-0)
Blackburn v Portimonense (1-0)
Sheffield Wednesday v Braga (1-3)
Sheffield Wednesday v Hull City (1-1)
Hull City v Braga (0-0)
Braga v Real Betis (0-0)
Spurs Development squad v Swindon (2-4)
Swindon v Spurs Development squad (1-3)
West Ham v Sporting Lisbon (2-1)
West Ham v Braga (0 – 1)
Newcastle v Braga (1-1)
Braga v Norwich (2-2)
Hull City v Real Betis (3-0)

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