3:30am an early start for both parents and teenage boys. There was a mix of emotions as the students arrived with some very excited about the prospect of getting a flight and the tour experience, to some stroppy teenagers who had just been woken up from their deep sleep. A traffic free journey down to Heathrow allowed the group to depart Heathrow on time. Security was a success other than those chosen for a search and there is always one student who loses their passport. This was dealt with swiftly and students and teachers then could relax before the flight. The excitement of where they were sitting on the flight set in, but unfortunately there was always going to be a few students with the company of a teacher. The excitement of Daniel Baker when he realised he had the pleasure of Mr Jones company on the journey was comical. Free drinks were provided to the students which were very welcomed. On arrive in Milan we transferred to the Hotel where they were divided into their rooms. A swift turnaround in the Hotel lead to the footballs getting transferred to the football pitch where they would be playing against Sesto an Italian U14s football team.
The rugby team then went along to their facility where they would have their training session.
The Friday afternoon in Milan started with a training session with local club Cus. The boys were warmly welcomed by the coaches and also the players from their U16 squad. The setting was superb with the ground surrounded by a busy athletics track and bathed in warm evening light. Friends were made and plans hatched for the 7’s tournament on the Sunday.
With the Clystvale team playing against a younger age group it gave the team a hit of confidence knowing that they were older and coming from an emphatic win vs Blundells in the previous game. They lined up with LJ in goal, Toby Brooks and Ben Hudson as full backs, Charlie Watkins and Sol Onoyiweta as centre backs, Olly Jermey Fraser Pearce and Josh Jones in the middle, with a front three of Marlon Blum, Sam David and Finley Powell. Oliver Hawke as the only sub. The first ten minutes were heated and this made for a very competitive game. Fraser Pearce was the first to get a shot away which hit the woodwork from a 40 yard thunderbolt. Marlon Blum came close to opening the score but a goal line scramble from a Fraser corner saw the Sesto defender clear the ball off the line. Clystvale continue to dominant and build the pressure and should have broken the deadlock before halftime. The second half resume much the same but the Sesto defence played a long ball over the top to the striker, who calmly brought the ball down and lofted it over the approaching goalkeeper, 1-0 Sesto. Clystvale need to rally together to bring it back. Josh played a ball down the middle of the Sesto defence to find Sam with a bit of time inside the 18 yard box. Sam then unselfishly played the ball to Fraser through the Sesto line. Fraser gather it in his stride and calmly slotted it past the keeper with his left foot. 1-1, the game continued to be dominated by Clystvale but they unfortunately couldn’t score a second. The game finished 1-1. Over to the U15s to see if they could bring home a win. Man of the match was Fraser Pearce for his calmness and winning goal.
The U15’s who were cheering up in the stand came down to the pitch to line up against, again, a different younger Sesto side. On the back of a good win against Blundells the confidence of the team was high. The squad lined up with Lewis Layton in goal, Olly Back, Daniil Tesliuk and Rhys Smith as a back 3, Ethan Board and Nick Balls as wingers, Otto Moxey-White, Riley Harris and Charlie Ebdon as the midfielders and a front two of the Jack Bauer and Charlie Williams. Harry Bunday, Theo Howard and Max Metherall on the bench. The first 10 minutes were heavily contested with both teams fired up for the fixture. Anyone would think they were big rivals which set the scene for the rest of the game. It was the centre midfielders who saw the majority of the play and this was deeply contested between the two teams. Max was introduced in the 30th minute and instantly made a difference with his jinxing runs. Charlie Ebdon came close to opening the scoring with a well struck free kick that when inches wide. Max was involved again with an intricate run that lead him being brought down in the box for a Clystvale penalty. Daniil stepped and slotted it home. Clystvale led 1-0 to the half.
The second half continued with the same intensity as the first. With Charlie and Max having a couple of scuffles with some of the Sesto players. This was not helped with the language barrier of the referee and the opposing players. Sesto started to create opportunities’ as Clystvale turned their focus on the referee and the opposition rather than focusing on their own game. This led to Sesto equalising. A through ball was played to the small and nippy striker, which Daniil kept up with and shoulder barged the striker off the ball which to some would be seen as a fair tackle. But in the eyes of the referee a penalty was given. Sesto converted the penalty to make it 1-1. Clystvale needed to focus on their game rather than the decisions going against. We all thought it was going to be the same story as the first game where the ball just wouldn’t go in. But this was not the case as up stepped Ethan Board to fire home a sumptuous finish to make it 2-1. Great efforts from the team to secure the victory. Man of the match was Riley Harris who controlled the game from start to finish and did not once get drawn into the shenanigans of the opposition.
Day 2 saw the boys venture to the City Centre of Milan. With Mr Jones’s in depth knowledge of the historical landmarks on the bus journey he took the tour into his own hands. Passing on his fast knowledge of the Garibaldi Arch and the Bosco Verticales which were two residential apartments that were covered in trees from the bottom to the top. The students listened intensely and before they knew it the 30 minute bus journey was over. A short walk through the Galleria which was decorated with 5* restaurants and the ever affordable shops such as Guccia, Louis Vitton and Prada.
The Galleria lead into the square which was overlooked by the Milan Cathedral. This was an amazing piece of architecture for the student’s witness, a structure that took 579 years to complete. The students were able to browse the city centre and spend their money as they wished. Many students returned with products from the Inter Milan club shop, others from the ever popular Nike store and some who decided an extra spot of lunch was needed. The student’s behaviour throughout the city centre expedition was to be admired. All students met back at the correct time and ensured they stayed with the group at all times which a credit to all is involved.
After a quick stop for lunch, a trip to the local Lidl and a quick change of clothes it was time to get ready for the ever anticipated San Siro fixture which saw Inter Milan take on Florentina. Florentina looking to beat Inter Milan for the first time in 13 attempts. With the students conducting themselves so well the need for wearing bibs was declined. On arrival to the ground the atmosphere was building with the Florentina fans passing by on a bus and giving signals of intent and foul language which the Clystvale students found eye opening to say the least. Tickets were dispersed and we headed for the gate. One by one the students filtered through the turnstiles and with only an hour to go before kick off the atmosphere intensified. Florentina fans were climbing the spiral concrete walk way, chanting as they climbed to the heights of the San Siro stadium. Finally all students were through and we made our way to our allocated gate on the second floor. The atmosphere was booming with the Milan ultras waving flags and singing constantly throughout the game. Unfortunately the game got away from Inter and they fell to a 1-0 defeat. A late dash back to the restaurant for their evening meal and back to the hotel for some well earnt rest.
Day 3 was the most eventful with the rugby squad off to their Rugby 7’s tournament and the football squads off to their back to back training sessions. Sunday morning for the rugby players involved a coach ride to the pristine A.S Milano rugby club nestling on the banks of the Idrascalo lake. The rules had been adapted and the Clyst Vale boys were run ragged in the first match versus Cus. However, they learnt quickly and picked up tried through Olly Hargreaves, JJ Slater, Sonny Brown and Dan Baker. The 4G pitch started to take its toll with JJ’s knees a mess of blood and a few knocks to the body causing a need to rotate the squad. Archie showed great hands in the passing, and at scrum half Lenny found the pace to start giving quicker ball and more attacking options. In the end a few loses and a draw in what was a superb tournament against the best Milan had to offer. With a better understanding of the rules and the format of the tournament I think the Clystvale squad would have been more competitive with the opposition a collective huddle and thanks finished the day with friendships made and memories created. Player of the Squad – Dan Baker, Commitment to the Squad – JJ Slater
The football team had a short stroll across the local park and arrived for their two training sessions split between lunches at the hotel. The coaches offered a variety of practices that worked on the student’s control, accuracy of passing, awareness on the pitch as well as weight of pass and shooting.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the practises and were put to their paces, with some well thought out and intricate drills. After the second training session the two groups met back at the hotel ready for the San Siro stadium tour. With the short transfer across the City we arrived at the San Siro. Which seemed like a ghost town compared the scenes the night before. The calmness after a hectic match day was greatly appreciated by staff and students.
The students were able to gain access to the museum which displayed pictures of the history of both Inter and AC Milan. Highlighting their success through the years. We continued through the stadium and went into both AC and Inter Milan changing rooms, both with opposite ideas in terms of layout. This led us to the eagerly awaited pitch side where the students were able to sit on the bench seats and in the hospitality areas. From this we made our way into the stands for an alternative view of the pitch. Down past the goal side and through to the Italian National teams museum where the students witness the various history of the Italian national team. With historic shirts of Paolo Maldini and Andrea Pirlo. The final stop on the itinerary was the club shop. This was divided into two with one side full of Inter merchandise and the other AC. Lots of fantastic kit and accessorises were purchased from both sides of the store.
The final day saw the students pack their bags and removing all their luggage from their rooms. Off to breakfast for a final feast before heading off to their final training session of the tour. Again the coaches were fantastic with the students offering an insight into some of the drills used in the youth sector of the Milan team. This tested the student’s reaction time and special awareness. Towards the end of the session the coaches ended with a final game and penalty shoot out to test the nerves of our students. A final presentation to bring the tour to a close, where the coaches congratulated and spoke words of wisdoms to the kids and sent them on their way. A quick transfer back to the hotel to collect their luggage then off to the Inter Milan Headquarters.
The headquarters was situated on the 6th floor of a high rise building in the centre of Milan. The groups were split in to two with one group embracing the Italian sunshine in a nearby park and whilst the other group went into the Inter Headquarters. This gave an insight into more of Inters history specifically looking at the badge and how it has transformed from the original badge back in 1908. As we looked along the timeline of Inters history it took us towards the main attraction of the HQ. All of Inter Milans trophies were on display in a circular stand. The students gathered around the trophies to watch a video that was on screen the circled all of the students. The video explain Inters success’s over the year and the major events that occurred across their history.
This concluded the tour and we made our way back to Linate Airport ready for the flight home. But we needed to get through the dread security. As we all know liquids need to be emptied before going through security. Two student’s bags went through and needed to be searched. After 10-15 minutes delay they had realised that they hadn’t emptied their water bottles. All students explored the Linate facilities and shops before we boarded the plane. With the plane only half full we were able to sit where we like which made the return journey a lot more relaxing. A safe landing and with only one hurdle to cross before boarding the bus, passport control. Make sure everyone has their passports ready was the call from Mr Powell. One student patted his pockets, locked in complete distress as he could not find his passport. He figured he had left it on the plane. Mr Jones and the student scurried back to the arrival gate to try and catch the plane before they return back to Milan. 45 long minutes later they return with the missing passport. Result. By this time the students were very much ready to get home. After boarding the bus we were on route back to school.
I must say a massive well done to all the students involved as they conducted themselves very well throughout the tour. Whether this was in the hotel or around busy areas like the San Siro or the airport. This made for a successful tour and something that we will be able to hopefully run again in the future. Hopefully the student have made many fond memories and treasure these for years to come. More pictures and videos to follow via our post tour video. Thank you again to parents for support this tour and making it happen.
Mr Stapleton, PE Teacher