HI Group Have a Bumper Season with Top European Football Clubs
At HI Group Sport and Travel division we have had a busy summer welcoming 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 2 team returned to the Costa del Sol for the third year running, this time staying at the Gran Hotel Benahavis after using Sol Andalusi the year previously.
Just like the year before we arranged a friendly game with Championship team Peterborough United at La Cala resort. Peterborough won the game but it was a superb match that provided both teams with the perfect preparation for the season ahead.
Hull City AFC u19’s followed Rochdale FC into the Hotel Sol Andalusi and the U19’s had a fantastic 6 nights away with only hard work and training on the menu. The facility offers any team a fantastic pitch that can allow them to work on every aspect of their game with no excuses, first class trip enjoyed by all!
Bristol City and Nottingham Forest were our next visitors on the Algarve. Bristol stayed at Barringtons and we arranged a game for them with Sporting Braga who were also with us on the Algarve. An excellent game saw Braga snatch the victory 3-2 following 2 dodgy penalty decisions given by the local referee; however Gary Johnson the Bristol City manager was delighted with the week.
Nottingham Forest took a fully funded trip in Albufeira to play against Sporting Lisbon in the Albufeira Trophy. Sporting dominated the game but a spirited performance saw Paul Anderson score a late goal to win the game 1- 0. Billy Davies the Forest manager was delighted with the time spent in the Real Bella Vista Hotel with the stadium pitch just 2 minutes away!
Sunderland AFC chose to travel to Faro again for a superb pre season training camp that HI Group put together specifically to cater for Steve Bruce’s requests. We had a week of excellent weather and training facilities were complimented by the quality of the game that we organised with Portimonense. Sunderland won this game 1- 0.
"It’s been very good, were delighted at what we’ve got out of it, the training facilities have been fantastic, and the accommodation and training pitch here in Oceanica is first class".
Steve Bruce (manager Sunderland AFC)
We were also pleased to be able to organize a very similar trip for Portsmouth FC and their manager Paul Hart. This trip took place in the North of Portugal in Guimaraes. The Guimaraes Torneo is a competition that we have worked with for a number of years and we were pleased that Portsmouth were involved in it this year. Vittoria Guimaraes 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.
During the summer Andalucia played host to the Peace Cup. 12 teams including Juventos, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Porto and Aston Villa were amongst the giants of European football to be involved in this tournament. We have a very strong relationship with Aston Villa and therefore we pleased to manage their hotel and training requirements for them. We advised them to stay at the Hotel Westin La Quinta and to train at the MPFS training centre. This seemed to be a wise decision as Aston Villa went on to win this prestigious tournament and scoop over 2 million euros in prize money! Congratulations to them all!
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.
Therefore we were really pleased to be working with Arsenal FC for the first time. They asked us to source 2 away games for their pre season preparations, and to negotiate the commercial revenue on behalf of the club. This proved to be a huge success as we arranged a game with Hannover 96 where Arsenal stopped off on the return from their training camp in Austria. The second game we arranged was against Spanish giants Valencia CF. The home team ran out winners of this game 2-1 but Arsene Wenger personally took time out to write to us saying how happy he was with the service we provided, yet another happy customer!
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