Madrid Tour 2008

The group just before the kick-off of Saturday's game *

Wymeswold's group of veteran footballers embarked on their eighth annual tour over the weekend of Friday 26th to Sunday 28th September, and recorded their first tour win since 2002. After previous visits to Dublin, Zurich, Jersey, St Agnes, Cork, Prague and Geneva, this year's destination was the Spanish capital Madrid, where Wymeswold has a twin school in the area.

A party of 28 children from Wymeswold visited Madrid earlier in the year, and many of the children still correspond with their Spanish counterparts. Through these contacts the veterans' game was subsequently arranged.

The 15-strong party flew out from East Midlands Airport on Friday and had the afternoon to explore Madrid 's fine parks and buildings, before travelling to the suburb of Majadahonda for a 7-a-side game against another local veteran's side. Brian Carr scored a hat trick, but Wymeswold went down 6-4 in a tightly-contested contest which was a useful curtain-raiser to the main game the following day.

On Saturday morning, the party travelled 40kms from Madrid to Collado Villalba, home of the twin school, for an 11 o'clock kick-off. The excesses of the previous evening meant Wymeswold struggled in the early stages, with keeper Jim Coggan having to make some important saves. However in the 13 th minute Brian Carr fired a shot from the edge of the area and over the top of the keeper to put the visitors 1-0 up. Villalba hit back three minutes later to level the scores, but on 37 minutes a fine team move saw Kevin Sayce restore Wymeswold's advantage, after some fine support from Glen Fiddich.

The second half saw sustained pressure from the home side as they pressed for an equalizer, but the Wymeswold defence of Alan Sturmey, Shane O'Leary, Chris McKinney and Stuart Frobisher held firm. As Villalba pushed more men forward, Kevin Sayce broke free in the 87 th minute and squared the ball for Dave Vickery to fire home the third goal, sealing a fine 3-1 victory. The home side then entertained their visitors with beer and tapas before the party headed back to Madrid .

Later in the afternoon, the veterans were able to explore the city and several toured the magnificent 80,000 capacity Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid. It was chance to see the trophy room, dug-outs, dressing rooms and press room where an impromptu press conference was held, with Richard Bowley answering questions over the morning's famous victory.

Saturday evening saw the chance to celebrate with paella and a few beers in the centre of Madrid , including the unusual Museum of Ham where the vets were able to pore over a fantastic selection of hams and cheeses while sampling the local beer.

On Sunday the party flew home nursing some sore legs and even more sore heads, with next year's tour already in the planning.

* (Back Row, left to right) Nick Shaw, Dave Vickery, Nigel Heaton, Gareth Smith, Jim Coggan, Shane O'Leary, Stuart Frobisher, Richard Bowley, Tony Myers. 

(Front Row, left to right) Kevin Sayce, Stan Staniforth, Chris McKinney, Alan Sturmey, Ricardo (from the Spanish twin school), Mark Dunton, Brian Carr. (Not on the photograph, but supplying ample support and assistance was Glen Fiddich)