On Friday 6th July, our under 16's team from Tameside United Girls F.C. (formerly Denton Girls), along with adults Nigel, Lee and Rachel, travelled to France for an international football tournament hosted by Association Sportive de Montigny le Bretonneux (ASMB) in Denton's twin town of Montigny le Bretonneux. In addition to ourselves, there were 5 local teams and a team from Germany, TuS Grünenbaum, who are based near Kierspe in Germany, Denton's other twin town.
We were picked up at CDG Airport by Pierre and David (who ran ourselves and the Germans virtually everywhere during the stay) heading straight for the hotel. On arrival we met our German friends whom we shared accommodation with at IBIS Budget located behind the velodrome. After getting refreshed, we were taken to ASMB's stadium for a meal and hellos. At the clubhouse we exchanged gifts and gave short speeches, which were well received by all, including many supporters from ASMB who were there to make us feel really welcome.
The next morning, we were taken down to the delightful étang de Saint-Quentin, where the girls experienced several hours of climbing the high trees in the forest. Although very tiring, this was a fantastic experience for the girls, with one or two really surprising us with their determination and bravery. In the evening ASMB arranged indoor football for us all, adults included, but this clashed with the England v Sweden game, so it was a case of play some footie, watch some footie. Great to see in the bar the French locals getting behind England, they really wanted both France and England to meet in the final. They kept their side of the bargain, unfortunately it was a close but not close enough for England.
On the Sunday ASMB staged the tournament at their ground in Montigny, with both Tameside and Grünenbaum as guests of honour. The weather was a scorching 35 degree centigrade with no shade, and it was a real achievement for all the girls to last the day. The event began with the playing of each national anthem, with teams walking onto the pitch behind the flag of their country, helping to create a real international feeling to the tournament. The evening before, the English and German girls stayed up late into the night, which probably led to both ASMB and another French club Sarcelles playing the better football, with the latter winning the competition. Nigel, Cerise and Olivia also did an interview for the French TV station TV78, and it was strange seeing the play back dubbed in French. Throughout the day and night, our hosts kept us all fed and watered. At the end of the evening, back in the hotel, the adults were shattered, so God knows how the girls go through it.
Monday was an amazing experience, as all three clubs went in a coach to Disneyland Paris, and we were there from about 10am to midnight. What a fabulous day, with vivid memories of the green bandanas given to us by Cyril, the ASMB coach, so that we could find each other in the crowd. The real highlight though was the awesome firework display in the late evening, which I'm sure will live in the minds of everyone there for many years to come.
Tuesday was our last day, and their were a few tears as we said our goodbyes, but looking forward to meeting up again next year in Germany. Discussions had already begun for this coming event, with the French, German and English organisers getting around a table to plan potential dates.
Nigel, club treasurer and trip organiser said “the most pleasing aspect of the trip, was just how well the English, German and French girls got along, many exchanging contact details, and continuing to chat away to each other through What's App, and hopefully found new friends for life. Nigel also took the chance to meet with ASMB's Judo Coaches, with a view to setting up an event for that sport, either in Kierpse, Montigny or Tameside. We'll have to see how that develops”
Article by: Nigel McAdam
Updated 11:34 - 7 Sep 2018 by Lee Lawrence