Coinciding with the school´s 400th anniversary (more or less) King James´s School set out on their first ever Milan Football Tour with the Year 8´s and Year 10´s. The plane landed at Venice´s Marco Polo airport on a humid morning in Venice. We then spent the day in Venice, looking through all the shops and immersing ourselves in the Venetian culture. We arrived at the Hotel that afternoon after
a long coach trip and just had time to unpack our things before we had our first meal at the hotel including a full selection of Northern Italian foods. This was followed by the first training session of the tour in the dying Italian sun of Lake Garda.
The next day we headed to the San Siro and took the full stadium tour. It was clear to see the differences between Milan and Inter in the stadium and the pitch itself was incredible leaving many young footballers wondering which team they would rather play for. The shop was actually cheaper than the on-street Italian sports shop and many of us were relieved after we had spent all that money in the San Siro that we had managed to keep a little bit. The time spent in Milan centre was used to explore one of the most famous shopping districts in Europe, all in the shadow of Milan´s beautiful Cathedral. This was followed by a relaxing evening at the Hotel when we were all given chance to watch the Italy - Germany game in our rooms, but no England (unsurprisingly).
The next day was much more focused on what we were there to do - play football and we had a training session in the morning followed by time in the indoor pool at the Hotel. Sadly a broken radius for one of our key players meant we would have to start our first game weakened. On the way to the game we visited Lake Garda to see the minimalist´s paradise that we had been staying next to.
The first game was set in the heart of Verona on a rough surface, though the Year 8´s coped, and to a dodgy rendition of ´God Save The Queen´ from the Year 10´s, coasted home a 10-0 victory, right at the death another broken arm, this time in the wrist for our midfielder who was taken to hospital leaving the Year 8´s two lads short. The Year 10´s then had their game, with some questionable refereeing to say the least the Year 10´s managed to lose 1-0 which seemed to delight the Home fans. The games had a really good European atmosphere, especially when the floodlights came on and both sets of fans began to cheer their respective teams on.
The next day was the inevitable final day. After breakfast we had another training session, more laid back so as to avoid any more injuries. After this and another swim we took the coach into Verona and visited the amphitheatre which was readying for an Adele concert as well as visiting Juliet´s balcony. After time shopping in Verona and visiting the Hellas Verona shop we took a short trip to the outskirts of Verona with the venue set amidst the plateau and terraced farms. The Year 8´s played first and, with some questionable European tactics (diving) from our opponents we managed to lose a close 1-0 with both our ´one-armed bandits´ cheering us on from the subs bench. We continued our great support from the stands as, on a much better surface, the Year 10´s managed to win a convincing 5/6-0. These games left both years in a buoyant mood at tea and an early night was called for, with a 5.45am wake up time the following morning!
So, as the plane flew off from Marco Polo, so was the end of King James´s maiden Milano Giro 2016. A thank you to all the teachers who organised the event and to the parents and Knaresborough and Harrogate locals whose fundraising helped 30 young footballers have the time of their lives.
All touring students would like to thank Tobin Scaffolding SVS LTD for sponsoring money towards team training tops.
By Ed Routh (Year 8)
See more photos here