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Seniors Tour - Germany 2024

Frankfurt - Mainz - Guntersblum


 

Following an invitation from former Nomads player Alan Schumacker who had relocated from the UK to Germany, a trip was organised in the summer of 2020 by Mark Abbott. Unfortunately as we all know there wasn't a great deal of international travel that year and so the trip was cancelled. Our new tour secretary Phillip Walker then picked up the mantle in late 2023 and started organising for 2024.

 

Time to go


After months of planning and preparation the team set off for Manchester Airport. Arriving there just after 7am the team set up camp in the Grain Loft bar. Despite numerous travellers indulging in what they considered to be an obligatory airport pint, the Nomads squad stuck to tea's and coffees with the odd smoothie on the side.




 

Frankfurt


Upon arriving in the city the team set about taking in the culture of the city, this was after all a Cultural exchange. The squad walked past many bars and cafes whilst they took in everything that Frankfurt had to offer. Later that day the team met up for dinner in the American Steakhouse restaurant for a team meal.


With a fantastic range of steaks and burgers on offer the team ate well and bonded with those from other Nomads sides. All washed down with lashings of lime and soda and bottles of squash to ensure adequate hydration.


Following the meal the team took a leisurely stroll back through the city to the hotels. With everyone well fed there was just time for a German ovaltine and off to bed for 9pm, the team obviously recognising the importance of the game that was now less than 48 hours away.



 

Mainz


After a quick spot of muesli and cereal for breakfast, the team hopped on the train for the 30 minute journey to Mainz. The team arriving at lunchtime ready for another full day of culture. Later in the afternoon the final 4 travellers arrived from the UK and the squad was complete.


Alan had organised a team meal in Augustinerkeller restaurant, a traditional German restaurant offering some fantastic German staples such as Schnitzels and pork knuckle. Once again it was all very well received by the squad and the jugs of water just kept on flowing, this was a team that were not willing to sacrifice their hydration levels.


After the meal the team took a leisurely stroll along the Rhine stopping for a quick lime and soda with mint leaves to ensure optimal hydration for the rest of the walk. To the credit of the whole squad they did pass a number of other bars on the way home, everyone resisting the temptation to ensure they were in peak physical condition for the game the following day. We arrived back at the hotel just after 9pm and everyone said there goodnights before retiring for the evening.





 

Game Day


The whole squad were up early and raring to go, after a healthy breakfast it was off to the train station for the short hop to the village of Guntersblum for the game. There were looks of disgust on the faces of some of the team as they watched people eating McDonalds breakfasts and drinking fizzy pop at that time of the day!


We arrived in Guntersblum and took a leisurely 10 minute stroll to the ground, at this point the squad were in full on game mode and the focus on everyone's faces was clear to see. The local villagers looked on in awe as 20 athletic men strolled through their village. The only confusion was that they obviously thought we were all called Morgen for some reason?!


We then arrived at the ground and started to get changed and warmed up. Unfortunately our hosts tried to derail our progress by bringing us some ice cold beers to our changing room, we obviously explained that we knew the importance of correct hydration and politely declined.



 

The big match


With Steve Thomson leading the team out as tour captain, manager Chris Bain went with a tight compact 4-5-1 in the baking German midday sun.


The teams had a water break after 20 minutes with the scores locked at 0-0, just before half time Guntersblum grabbed the opening goal, a contentious offside decision left the Guntersblum striker alone in the box and he finally managed to beat Marc Howens in the Nomads net, half time and 1-0 to the hosts.


With a few changes to the team at this point, we went out in the second half with renewed optimism. Guntersblum then grabbed a second goal to make it 2-0. Nomads then found a way back into the game, Pete Fitzpatrick found himself one on one with the keeper, a quick drop of the shoulder sat the keeper down and we were back to 2-1.

After another Guntersblum break Nomads had another 2 goal deficit to claw back. Then after what can only be described as the most blatant handball ever, we had a penalty. With Chris Bain playing the lone striker role and Steve Thomson the Tour Captain both on the pitch there was only one person who was ever taking the penalty, up stepped Stuart Rain to make it 4-2


Then followed the move of the game, Mark Abbott playing a 35 yard free kick into the feet of James Hibbert, he exchanged quick 1-2 with Steve Thomson before whipping a ball to the back post for the oncoming Sav Malletta. Rising like a salmon, his header found the top corner and applause rang out across the stadium.


With only minutes to play Nomads went all out for a goal to tie the game, unfortunately we left ourselves exposed at the back and Guntersblum got the final goal of the game.

5-3 was the final result but football was ultimately the winner!




 

Hosts


The facilities at Guntersblum and the welcome we received was absolutely incredible, our hosts had organised for a BBQ on the terrace with a free bar for us all day. There were people from all sides including junior teams there to welcome us and wish us well.


After the game some of the squad had a kick about with the junior players, at the last count we were losing 6-0 but we wanted to make them feel good (Honest!).


Our hosts had refused to take a single penny for the drinks or the BBQ they had laid on for us but the squad had a whip round anyway and raised a few hundred euros which they donated to the Guntersblum junior section.


After the game Markus Elz had organised for a tour of a local vineyard, setting off in two tractors and trailers the squad and some of our new German friends set off into the German countryside. With a constant supply of local wines the team allowed themselves a couple of small glasses just to show their appreciation to our hosts.

Thank you SV Guntersblum!





 

Summary


An extremely well organised tour with absolutely fantastic hosts. To see 20 different players from across three teams getting along so well and creating bonds with each other will live long in the memory.


When we arrived home on the Sunday evening one of the final posts on the WhatsApp group summarised the whole trip, 'what a tour, was fantastic to get to know you all, makes me proud to be a Nomad'


Auf wiedersehen Germany

 

Finally a massive thank you to our tour organisers from both countries. Phill Walker who has now been appointed Nomads tour secretary forever(!). Alan Schumacker for making the whole trip possible and Markus Elz at SV Guntersblum for organising the match and the events on the day. Prost!


P.S. What may appear to be alcoholic drinks in the photos are actually stage props just for the photos

P.P.S. What goes on tour stays on tour!

 




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