The visit of the stewards was a joint effort of the enjoyfootball organisation and the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, special thanks to Mr. Ray Dean, chairman of enjoyfootball (www.enjoyfootball.com ) , and Mr. Kölling on the German side. The group visiting Wiedenbrück consisted of stewards from different Premier League sides like Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, just to name a few. In the course of the FIFA World Cup 2006 and with support of TheFA (www.thefa.com ), the group staged their visit in line with the World Cup’s motto “A time to make friends”.
During their stay in the region, the stewards had a tight schedule with a match per day against local teams and a BFG Army side as well as receptions at the town halls of Rheda-Wiedenbrück and Gütersloh. The stewards all sported neckties in their club's colors and insignia and displayed a tremendous professional and sportsmanlike behavior as ambassadors of their clubs, TheFA and nation in the whole ceremony of exchanging welcome addresses and gifts.The tour was featured by the local German press as well as the British Forces radio station (BFBS). Despite their numerous appointments, the stewards took out time to promote the idea of bridging between the two nations among the students of local German Middle School, ORS. An idea with growing importance in a world which sees people tearing down barriers to get closer together and definetely an idea which deserves further support in the future to let more students share this kind of experience.
The first of two practise sessions on Wednesday, June 14th, was intended for the club players of the 8th and 9th grade of ORS. Coach Dave Pilkington from the Blackburn Rovers organisation split up the students into groups according to their positions on the pitch to ensure training of skills demanded of their tactical roles on the field. If there were any language barriers in the beginning, the coachesunderstood to smash them through their outstanding effort and the universal language of sport.
The second practise session was eagerly awaited by two P.E. classes of the 8th grade, bringing over 60 students, boys and girls, out on the ORS’ astroturf field, ready to chase the ball. Managing such a crowd seemed to be just a minor challenge to Dave, which he took on without a twitch. These 90 minutes under a clear blue sky ended far too soon according to the participating students but the stewards had the next reception at the Gütersloh town hall scheduled at 1pm.
The official ending of the stewards’ visit at ORS was marked by a barbeque together with the P.E. teachers of ORS and an exchange of souvenirs from both sides. Everybody involved were positive about the visit having been too short and that it should be repeated if possible. Closing, I would like to thank my colleagues Mr. Renkamp and Mr. Wiertz for their support and Mr. Ray Dean, chairman of enjoyfootball, for his efforts before and during the stewards’ stay. Without his dedication and commitment, this morning wouldn’t have turned into one memorable morning for the students of ORS.
List of participants:
Ray and Andrew Dean, Liverpool FC
Dave Pilkington - Blackburn Rovers
Colin Flood and Gavin Cantwell (Goalkeepers) Liverpool FC
Tony Neary, Liverpool FC
Paul Cheshire and Paul Carlise, Everton
Simon Powley and Mark Roe, Norwich City
Stuart Pennock and Mark Warden, Ipswich Town