BRUSSELS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
2nd - 5th April 1999
We are the squad members of the Under 12 side getting ready for an exciting trip to Belgium to play in the Brussels Football Tournament this Easter.
Most of us as players have been together for some years. We have been looked after by Richard Nicholas, St. John Ash and Bernie Lewis. Their coaching and dedication has helped us develop as individual players and as a team.
St. John Ash, Mrs. Barrett (Barret Timber) kit sponsors, Richard Nicholas together with players James Durbridge and Nicky Thomas
Sioned Mair, Mayor of Carmarthen
The idea of a football tour came as a great surprise to us as players. We think we are lucky to be given the chance to experience such an event. Since agreeing on the venue we have been busy playing our league games and trying to improve our position in the table. But to be honest most of the talk is of Brussels ................ We can't wait !
Many local people have supported us. Days Van Hire is supplying one mini-bus .... Thank you ! Others have contributed track-suits or donated to our recent sponsored walk around Llansteffan.
What a great day that was ! On Sunday 7th March we walked three miles around the village, only to be told by Bernie that we had another three laps to go ! We went to the Sticks Pub and watched the football instead ! We haven't had a final figure for that yet, but we know it's going to be big. People have supported us well.
The tournament will draw teams from all over Europe. We will be leaving very early on Good Friday to arrive at the sports complex in Brussels by that afternoon.
We are crossing through the Channel Tunnel .... great ! Many of us have never been to be Belgium so it's a complete education for us too.
We have no idea how difficult the football will be - but then again we just beat Tumble away from home and that's no easy task !
The Carmarthen Boys will be ready and giving it everything to make our town proud of us. We'll write again with more news soon.
HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO............ 1st. April, 1999
We are nearly ready to begin our trip to Belgium. We leave tonight (1/4/99) at 9 p.m. from Richmond Park. Everyone is very excited ! We recently met the Mayoress and have received our brilliant track-suits. We'll look good in those in Brussels.
CARMARTHEN TOWN AFC
Under 12 Team
with Sioned Mair
Carmarthen Town's Mayor
Our last training session on Monday was our last chance to practise together before the tournament this Saturday and Sunday. We have just beaten Drefach for the second time, this time in the cup competition, but know that we should have put them away sooner in the game. Richard, St. John and Bernie say we must get into our game sooner. We shall try to remember that advice during the tournament. The games will be only fifteen minutes each way, so there will be no time for mistakes !
AUDERGHEM & BRUSSELS
We are staying in a sports complex just outside Brussels called Auderghem. It will be busy because there are also competitions for U.18s, U.16s and U.14s. We'll be playing on grass against teams from all over Europe. There are great facilities at the sports centre including a disco and swimming pool ! We'll have the chance to visit Brussels centre too which is full of history and excitement, not to mention CHOCOLATE ! Some of us want to see the TinTin Centre which is full of cartoons by the creator Herge ( he was from Belgium ).
Anderlecht have their home in Brussels too, so it would be nice to see the stadium. Who knows, they might fancy their chances against us !
We return on Easter Monday and will provide you with match reports, stats and the whole truth of how are coaches / dads got on in their match too ! We are looking forward to that !
But for now............Brussels here we come !!
Town Boys Are Back !
Homecoming - Lots to tell you ....first thing IT WAS BRILLIANT!
We left Carmarthen at 9 p.m. on Thursday April 1st. Some of us were worried it was an April Fool joke ! No, the buses were there, parents, loads of cases and loads of rain ! We set off for Folkestone travelling through the night. We arrived at the Eurostar Tunnel early and took a crossing at 8 a.m. after causing great confusion at the Burger King - you try ordering 30 breakfasts in one go !
The tunnel was exciting, huge carriages in which you simply park your vehicle and wait! It took about half an hour to cross. Calais was quiet and easy to leave. Main roads sent us directly towards Brussels ......yahoo !
On the outskirts of Brussels we stopped for something to eat at a service station. It was packed and hot ....where are our shorts? Lots of people were there for a sporting weekend. We had the impression that Belgium takes it sport very seriously !
Another hour on and we reached the sports ground of R,.U.A. Auderghem. Richard and St. John sorted the details and before long we were off again to find our hostel.
It wasn't easy crossing through Brussels .....but we found it ........eventually! It was very posh ......tidy beds......clean surroundings ....... and plenty of Coke too ! We had our first meal there that night and we're still not sure what it was ! Bed for us all then after a long day travelling .......first game tomorrow against a Dutch side .......we can't wait ..... or sleep. Nosda !
TOURNAMENT DAY ONE
Saturday morning dawned. Breakfast and tidy the rooms then down to the bus. No rush for us because we aren't playing until the afternoon. Lucky we weren't playing until late .......it took us hours to find the ground ! We saw every lake, swan and road in Brussels. They are very nice but there was no need to show us it all the first morning ! We must buy Andi Morgan a better map !
We reached the ground safely and saw that many games were underway. There were teams from all over Europe with many different age categories.
We were given a changing room and started preparing for the first game against R.K.V.V. St. Michiels "2" from Holland. The atmosphere in the changing room was tense and exciting. Richard handed out the new kit which was great,
It was a real boost to be in our team track-suits and play in such smart kit. Just like the other teams .....we looked the business !
St. John and Richard announced the team to play the first game and we were off to the pitch.
Everyone was nervous to begin with. As the game started we played with caution trying not to give anything away. Suddenly we scored ! Great ! So we can do it ! The whole team relaxed and played football. We took control of the game and won it 4 - 0 ! A fantastic start .......you'd think that we had won the whole thing !
We had time then for some food and a relaxing walk around. Disco music blared out throughout the games, it was a real carnival atmosphere. This is good !
Our second game was towards the end of the afternoon against the home side Auderghem. We expected them to be a challenge. They had many teams in the competition. That was exactly what the game was ....... A big challenge. We played some lovely football and so did they. Neither team could break through so after a tight confrontation we drew 0 - 0.
Richard filing his report for 'Match of the Day' - maybe he's just phoning home!
"A win and a draw, the boys are doing well. Yes I'll remember the chocolates!"
We were pleased our first day. We had arrived tired and faced some stiff opposition only to do ourselves and our town proud. We were told that the Sunday games would decide our progress towards the final. It would certainly now be decided on goal difference because we had held the home side to a draw. Sunday couldn't come soon enough !
TOURNAMENT DAY TWO
When Sunday arrived it was wetter than Saturday ! We arrived earlier at the sports ground because we followed our new Scottish friends in their bus ....... No offence to our drivers ! The Scottish boys were from Barhead, Glasgow. They were great company so we decided to support them during their matches. Little did we know how the day would develop !
Our last group game was against the third team from R.K.V.V.V. St. Michiels from Holland. By now St. John and Richard had done their maths and calculated that we needed to win this game by eleven goals to nil ! No problem boys !! The place in the final was all down to goal difference ....yuck !
We had clear instructions not to rush things and play too hard. That would just frustrate us if we didn''t score. We played with just three in the back and from the whistle ..........it worked ! We scored six by half time in fifteen minutes ! The second half began ........bang ........goal ! Bang ! ........another goal ............and another .............and another .............BUT NO MORE !
The final whistle blew and we ahd scored ten goals and managed to keep them out of our half. One goal away from the final and the glory. What would happen now ? Who goes through ? Everyone had different ideas but in the end it was quite simple .... " PENALTY SHOOT OUT." We were to shoot out against the home side Auderghem , the joint winners of the group.
After a short break we made our way over to the pitch chosen for the shoot out. Five players from each team lined up on the muddiest pitch there ! It was a nervous time for everyone .....in particular the goalies. Our boys did their best but didn't score a goal. Their boys also did their best and scored ..................one goal ! We were out , they were in by one goal. One goal is enough and good luck to them. We now had the third and fourth place play-offs against ........ Barrhead, Glasgow ! Our Scottish mates !
We treated the game more as a friendly and lost it seven - nil. At the end of two full days of exciting football we had done oursleves proud and earned fourth place. We had much to reflect upon - the games, experiences and whole education of the event.
At the official presentation that evening we were given a handsome cup, a cup to be proud of back home. We had our best meal of the trip too that night at a local Pizzeria before heading to bed ready to pack and leave the next morning.
Monday morning, April 5th, our last morning in Brussels. It was pouring with rain .......something like home ! We travelled smoothly towards the port and before long were sitting have lunch in a Little Chef just outside Folkestone. Carmarthen appeared on the horizon at about 7 p.m. Up Gaol Hill, towards the club and ............. mam and dad !
It was a great experience for us all. Both our football and our minds had been improved by all we saw and experienced. We are thankful to our coaches and organisers for all they did for us.
Time to go home!
St. John has just told Bernie there's no room for him on the bus!!!!
Diolch St. John ! .............. Diolch Richard ! Can we do it again ??
Grateful thanks to Andi Morgan for his inimitable account of the tour. Soon to be updated with photographs.
Information on Belgium
Lonely Planet's Guide to Belgium