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Match Attax competition tour; Winners view
Topic Started: May 2 2013, 01:16 PM (1,026 Views)
monkey76
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As you may or may not know I won the Match Attax competition to have the chance to a training session with Alan Shearer. As I am 37 I was slightly overage by 25 years my son George took my place. He was nearly 10 so he was the perfect age.

It was a 3 hour trip upto Burton-on -Trent so we left on the Wednesday. We had an easy drive up as the traffic was good and stopped off 2 hours in too stretch our legs and have some lunch. What was perfect was KFC is at the service station and a large coffee was badly needed. What wasnt perfect is my brain. I packed everything we needed like clothes,camera,mobile phone and my cards and programmes I wanted signed. How could I forget the most important item.....a black sharpie!!!! At the service station whsmith had a shop but not a sharpie in sight.

We left refreshed and it was only another 45 mins to our hotel. We missed the toll roads and passed the Belfry golf course which looked fantastic. I thought the countryside was beautiful with the rolling hills and fields stocked with newborn lambs is what makes this country wonderful. After passing the Marstons brewery we stopped off in the town of Burton to get me a pen and to have a look round. Asda called and as I had filled up at lunch we bought a picnic to have for tea and found our hotel.

Well, The hotel was the worst part of our trip. Travelodge Burton south was horrible and run down. You get what you pay for I suppose. Me and my wife slept in our clothes that night. I had to go up one end of the bed to get ant wi-fi as Man Utd- West Ham was on. I slept before George and he got to sleep well after midnight. I thought he would be grumpy the next day as thats what usually happens.

Woke up at 8am and got ready to leave. Had a good look round incase we left anything lying about. The day before George had a ipad mini for his birthday so he could take pictures to show at school. On the white sheets of the bed we must have left the charging cable whish cost 15 to replace. Never mind, I should have looked harder.

We got to the complex which is massive with the hotels on the site. It was a bigger place than I thought. We went into the nearest building and got the wrong place so had to go to the hotel. George went straight into the lift and saw the big Match Attax posters. As we were early we had to wait around for 20 mins and then got registered. 30 minutes passed and were called for breakfast. Coffee and 2 bacon rolls were fantastic. There were nearly 50 kids there as we were in the under 12 section. Older kids were in the afternoon.

We went into 3 groups with a tour guide and one of the FA coaches. The top of the 1st floor has a waterfall which runs down to the length of the hotel. The hotel rooms for all the top players and staff and had balconies. In the reception of the main training complex had loads of football shirts from Umbro on display. As we passed we saw different England shirts from games from world cup and Euro tournaments. Entering the dressing rooms of the first team had the England shirts hung up as if were for a game.

The large sports hall which was a hard floor has many different sports catered for such as hockey,netball and tennis, It was also used for the FA centenary when all players new and old were in attendance for the celebrations.

We then entered the indoor pitch area which was massive. Up on the top was all the gyms and training facilities which the England rugby team used but were surprised that the heavier weights were not there!!! The first glimpse of Alan Shearer being interviewed in the corner of the match attax area. Everyone was excited.

Outside was cold.We went and had a look of some of the pitches where Notts County were training and also Burton Albion. The elite pitch is made to be the exact replica of Wembley. It is cut at the same time so is the same length for training and the match. It is also measured for bounce, roll and what stud size is needed. Amazing how every little detail is thought of these days.

We went back to the dressing rooms and a full kit was waiting on the pegs. Back into the indoor pitch where the football started.
As my son has autism I asked in the build up to the day and on the day about George taking part. He is very nervous about change and being out of his comfort zone. I thought he would never in life have the chance to do this again. I was the only adult allowed on the pitch which provided a few comments from other parents but soon realised that something was not right so stopped.

When we got out on the pitch we played tag and if you were caught had to do a football skill. George was caught quick and had to dribble the ball and the pass between your feet. Shearer joined our group and gave me a smle and a nod as George was clinging to me. We were given a ball and passed to each other until the whistle stopped. By this time George was finished and had enough so we went on the side and watched. He nearly went back when Shearer came back but soon turned straight round. So we played on the side until the session stopped. The coaches were do a great job by the way, I was really impressed. Its changed a lot since my old PE teacher.

We got in the line and waited to meet Alan Shearer. He was a really nice bloke and was given a card which he signed for George. I had brought 4 or 5 cards. a Euro 96 programme and a Saints programme when he scored a hat trick against Arsenal 25 years ago. I told him that I was only that high then and he laughed that he was too and couldnt believe I reminded him how old he was!!! He was a top bloke and had loads of time for everyone.

After getting changed George was given a Match Attax bag which had DR Who, Wrestling, Moshi monster cards, stickers and goodies, He has football stickers x 10. Match Attax Extra cards x 10 and a big bag of sweets and he was really chuffed. I am still asking for the cards. I was allowed the stickers but thats just Georges quirky way.

Overall it was a great experince and reccomend a visit and it is a great place. I would also like to thank Ava and the 2 blokes who helped on the day but I didnt catch there names. They made the day fantastic and its nice to meet people who are on the other end of an email.

Its taken me a few weeks to write this up as been really busy.
I want to thank ashleyyoungFTW for picking up my card at London so I could take George upto St Georges park.
Hopefully I can put a few pictures up if I can work out how.

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monkey76
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http://s1330.photobucket.com/user/Jimmysaints/library/

Hopefully you can see some pictures!!
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monkey76
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Tollyman
May 2 2013, 07:46 PM
What a great experience and write up.

Nice Photo's, did he get to keep the kit?

Topps do a great job of involving the kids so I'm not surprised it was well run.

Yes, He did get to keep the kit. Socks were a little big but it was a really nice kit. I thought that he was going to get a t shirt at best!!
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monkey76
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garners-great-deals2012
May 5 2013, 01:37 PM
Theres a write up in this weeks match of the day with some pictures etc :)
Was it in last weeks magazine? This week was the lad who won the event at Chelsea.
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monkey76
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Matt
May 13 2013, 07:17 PM
Sounds like you two had a great time! Meeting Shearer must have been amazing. I too have Autism (Aspbergers Sydrome) mildly, and im not really in to things like that either, always feels weird around other kids I don't know. Anyway, sounds like a fantastic experience.
Meeting Shearer was great. He is a really genuine down to earth bloke. Being a Southampton fan I remember having to get in the ground 90 minutes before kick off to get a good spot to stand up in. Got soaked as it rained all day but he scored 3 that day and has been a Saints hero ever since. That happened in 1988 when I was 12!!!!
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monkey76
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alanaman
May 13 2013, 11:42 PM
Well done Topps! My youngest son has some moderate learning difficulties and would be very clingy when in crowds. At the world championships they allowed me to stand with him while he played. I was allowed to keep him right with what the rules were but didnt interfere in his card choices.
Again this got some funny looks from other parents but I think its magnificent that topps do this and give every child the same chance to take part.
Well done George.
You know what it feels like then to hear in the background other parents comments and feeling that everyone is staring at you. George spent longer getting his kit on than being on the pitch!!!

You have to laugh in the end. All the planning and travel,cost,time off work etc. and in the end plays football for 5-6 minutes. He did enjoy the trip but I get the feeling he liked staying in a hotel more. Its never likely that he would have the chance to do something like that again so im glad we chose to go.

Topps were great aswell. Leading up to the trip there were some doubts on whether he would be able to take part as he would need a carer but they could not have helped more and put all of us at ease.

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