2015 Pairs Football Tour by Oliver Green, Y11

On 23rd October 2015, thirty-one Senior Thorpe House pupils and I travelled to Paris on the school football tour. After an incredibly early start and a loud, overexcited welcome from Mr Britton, we eventually departed on the coach and set off for Dover and Paris. I learnt two things, the first being how easy it is to “test” aftershave and smell amazing for the rest of the day, and the second being the enormous number of games of pontoon it is possible to play during a two hour ferry trip.

After our arrival and a five-hour coach trip to the hostel, we checked in and ventured to a football game between Ligue 2 sides Creteil and Brest. It was a very exciting match with an electric crowd, and was great to watch how high the level of performance was, even between lower division sides.

On the second day we began our day by travelling to the Urban Soccer venue close to the French national stadium to train with the PSG academy. It was a great experience for all of us, as we received an intense training session that was fun, educational and competitive for all involved. The afternoon then consisted of leisure and relaxation after such a hard session, and the ‘Famous Mr Britton quiz’, which must have been fixed, as our group came 5th. The Sunday, however, was the day that every person on the coach had been looking forward to (even Mr Day!) as we headed for Disneyland! This was easily the highlight of the trip for me, as we managed to get on every ride we desired, followed by food and a magical firework display where Mr Britton belted out ‘Let it go’ from Frozen. It was a great day with great friends and we all travelled back full of Disney music and magic. Joel Quinn felt this more than anyone else as he skipped out clicking his heels and dancing to the parade music.

On the final day, we travelled back towards Paris for a sightseeing tour of the Eiffel Tower and a guide around the highly impressive Stade de France. It was an amazing stadium and we got to touch and photograph the shirts of French legends such as Zidane, Henry and Viera. It was also amazing to walk through the very same tunnel as the afore-mentioned players once did, and then see how the stadium could be transformed from a football pitch, to an ice rink, to a horse racing track.

After this followed an afternoon of fixtures for all ages, split between three teams. The lower senior group was split between two 7-a-side teams which both unfortunately lost by small margins, despite goals from Josh Gamble and Will Sexton and giving 100%, showing incredible levels of both dedication and character. The upper senior, however, scraped a well-earned victory, where I scored twice and assisted Harry Holmes to bag a historic 3-2 victory. All of the boys played well and showed their determination to win against a very high level French club, determined not to lose on their home turf.

Overall the football tour was great fun and I would like to express my thanks to both the PE department for making it possible and to my parents for paying for me to go, as I’m sure would all the boys. It was a fantastic trip and provided memories that none of us will ever forget.

Oliver Green, Y11 (Sports Captain)