The Priory Ruskin Academy Football Tour, Madrid 2015
On the 23rd October 2015 93 pupils and 10 staff set off on the footballing adventure of a lifetime to Madrid. The sense of anticipation amongst pupils, staff and parents was tangible as we loaded the coaches and said our farewells to travel to Gatwick. Safe to say that few pupils slept on the journey to the airport, such was the excitement!
From the moment we checked in at the airport it was action packed. All 103 of us successfully boarded the plane, though not without the small drama of Mr. Sayle going missing in the duty free! Luckily his group knew where they were going! To say he was relieved to see them was an understatement.
On arrival in Madrid we were met by our hosts Eva and Elena and we were quickly transported to our plush four star hotel and set up camp for the next few days. However there was no time to relax as we were rushed through lunch and set off for the first instalment of our trip. A visit to the Santiagao Bernebeau, the home of Real Madrid. On arrival at the stadium we were struck by the grandeur of the home of the 10 time European champions. We spent ample time taking in the vast arena, marvelled at the haul of silverware in the club museum, sat in the coach’s dugout posing for photos and also had a bit of a turnstile incident! Undoubtedly though, a highlight of the tour was an opportunity to spend some money in the club shop. Even Mr. Cairns managed to purchase an “authentic” photo of himself celebrating scoring a goal with Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos! Back to the hotel and an opportunity to get some well-earned rest and make the most of the hotels pool and gym.
The next morning we had a couple of hours sight-seeing in the centre of Madrid but the main focus of the day was undoubtedly our first training session at Valdebebas, the training ground of Real Madrid. As we made our way in through security, slightly nervous but buzzing with excitement, it struck home that we were about to train in the surroundings of the 10 time European champions. We ate lunch in the canteen. As we ate we noticed that Real Madrid u16’s were playing a match on a nearby pitch which was in fact being streamed live on the clubs official channel which was being shown in the canteen. The training was outstanding. 6 UEFA Pro licence coaches took us in training groups for the duration of the stay. Each training session took place on a state of the art 4G pitch, each with it’s own mini stand. The initial part of the day focussed on developing the technical part of our game whilst in the afternoon we developed in small sided games. Mr. Oliver had his Garmin watch on and calculated that we moved 23km in under 4 hours! That evening we relaxed bowling and eating ice creams!
The following day we spent the morning finishing off our sightseeing and a bit more shopping, predominantly at the 3 Real Madrid Superstores in the centre of town. We then headed back out to Valdebebas for training session 3. It was real “pinch me” stuff just being a part of the centre of excellence, rubbing shoulders with the Real Madrid coaching team in world class facilities. That evening it felt a bit like we were cheating on our hosts as we made our way to the Vicente Calderon to support Atletico Madrid as they took on Valencia. The atmosphere in the stadium was simply electric. On the pitch Atletico were class, it was surreal being there just a whisker away from the action. Some Atletico fans are just a little bit crazy but then again so were some of ours! A number of us left questioning whether we were Atletico or Real fans!
Our final day of training will be remembered for the preparation for our competitive fixtures against Orcacistra, a feeder club for Real Madrid. For some this was the pinnacle of the trip. All in all we played 8 matches, some teams playing two games as part of a triangular tournament. We played exceptionally well in all age groups. These were the results!
PRA U18 0-0 Orcacistra
PRA U17 1-1 Orcacistra (Though we did have a legitimate stunning winner disallowed!)
PRA U15 2-4 Orcasistra
PRA 14A 1-1 Orcasistra
PRA 14A 3-0 Orcasistra
PRA 14B 0-2 Orcasistra
PRA 14B 3-1 Orcasistra
PRA U13 5-1 Orcacsistra
An excellent set of results and the scenes of jubilation and singing in the changing rooms afterwards will live long in the memory! We celebrated with a pizza feast back at the hotel!
Our final day saw us return to the Vicente Calderon for a sightseeing tour and an opportunity to spend any left-over cash in the club shop before returning home exhilarated yet exhausted. The tour song echoing in our ears!
Oh Real Madrid…………………………………. Oh Real Madrid
We came to see………………………………….. We came to see
We beat them bad that football team………………………………………..
I went over got scouted………………………………………………..
I woke up it was just a dream!!!!!!!!!!!
And so it ended, a once in a lifetime experience over, a fantastic experience for all. You never know we might just be off to Barcelona in 2-3 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!