Although the majority of my work with The New Saints is geared towards FA Wales activity, occasionally I stray across the border and that was the case last week, with a visit to St. George’s Park in Staffordshire.
Set in 330 acres of countryside near Burton upon Trent, The English FA’s football centre is an impressive facility, and is home to England’s 28 national teams.
The reason for my visit was to cover the game between English Colleges FA and England Independent Schools FA, with the particular interest being Harry Bower and Ben Clark who were in the respective squads.
I had been there the year before – almost one year to the day – for the identical fixture involving the same teams and the same players, hence the groundhog day reference. However, the one difference was that the game this time round was played on a different pitch, which as a groundhopper suited me perfectly as it was a new personal tick.
Although both Ben and Harry featured in the match, they never actually went head-to-head, as the former was substituted at the break, with the latter coming off the bench for the second period.
The game ended 1-1 and, like the parents watching from the side, my eyes were mostly on one player. Well, two in my case, but you know what I mean. Whatever the level, it is an exceptionally proud moment to represent your country, and it was an honour to share Ben and Harry’s experience.
It’s also a massive positive for the club to have international representation, and that’s why I was there, of course. Both Associations were very helpful and I was able to cover the game with freedom, including video footage, images and post-game interviews. You can read the report from the day HERE.
With traffic an issue, I decided to wait until it died down a little before heading back into the Black Country conurbation, just as I did last year. Again, I set up media camp in the on-site Hilton Hotel and did my stuff before setting off home. Surrounded by English football related images on the walls, it was a very pleasant environment indeed.
The world of football continues to take me to some very interesting places. I wonder, what’s next?
Rev’s Ramblings is my weekly TNS blog, written from a personal perspective, following my adventures with the champions of Wales. Read past entries HERE