Barcelona Football Tour
During the October half-term 42 students from Years 9, 10 and 11 ventured on the College’s inaugural football tour to Barcelona, Spain. The trip had been set up almost a year and half ago and the anticipation leading up to the trip from the boys was unbelievable as well as 5 excited members of staff!
We all congregated at Gatwick airport on Sunday 28 October looking incredibly smart and professional in our new tracksuits which had been purchased using the money raised through sponsorship and the auction we ran. We boarded our flight on time and made the two hour journey to Barcelona without any major problems apart from an interesting landing!! The tour was jam packed with activity for the boys and I think the week definitely took its toll as there were some very tired students when we reappeared at Gatwick four days later.
Day one took us to the PortAventura Theme park which I can honestly say is the best theme park I have ever been to and I think the boys would certainly agree!! Three rides spring to mind, Shambhala, Dragon Khan and Furius Baco, the latter shooting us out from 0-300 kph in 4 seconds!! In the evening the boys played their first fixtures against Spanish opposition and it was a very interesting and I would think enjoyable experience for the boys to play against foreign opposition who spoke little English.
Day two took us to Espanyol and their brand new 40,000 seater stadium Estadi Cornellà-El Prat. The stadium itself was a wonderful experience allowing the boys to take in all parts of the ground including being on the actual pitch itself. We were the only people at the ground at the time so it was a very unique experience.
We then went onto Espanyol’s training ground where the boys had time to watch the professionals train and then were put through their paces by Espanyol academy coaches which was a wonderful opportunity. The boys had their last fixtures on Day two and once again they acquitted themselves very well with two teams coming away with deserved victories. In the evening it was karaoke and the boys certainly didn’t disappoint with renditions of all the classic favourites including Britney Spears, Beatles, Tinie Tempah and Sting!
Day three was Barcelona day and a day that I think the staff were as excited about as the students! The journey to the training ground took about an hour and a half but when we turned a corner and all saw the Nou Camp it was most definitely worth it! The weather wasn’t the kindest in the morning but the boys still applied themselves very well during their morning training session with the Barcelona academy coaches at one of their many training grounds. After the morning session it was time to visit the Nou Camp which really exceeded all expectations. At the Nou Camp the boys were able to go round the stadium at their own pace to take in every part of where arguably the best football team in the world play. The 90,000 seater stadium was without doubt one of the best stadiums I have ever had the privilege to see and when the boys stepped out to see it for the first time I am sure it is a moment they will never forget. After emptying their wallets of all their money in the club shop it was back to the training ground for their last session which was once again a wonderful session put on by some excellent coaches who spoke near perfect English.
I took a long time trying to find the words to sum up this trip but having seen all the boys back at school this week they have just constantly been talking to me and the other staff about all their favourite bits and best experiences. It was without doubt a once in a lifetime trip and one that I will certainly never forget. I must thank Mr Cleary, Mr Beer, Mr Chauhan and Mr Jarmyn for giving up their half-term week to accompany myself and the boys.
Mr Andrews - Tour Leader