Posted: 5/10/2018


           Burton Albion moved into their new home Pirelli Stadium in 2005 and in 2012 about 5 miles away ST. GEORGE'S PARK the National Football Centre opened in The National Forest with 330 acres (130 hectres) of parkland at a cost of over £100 million, after many delays due to the cost of financing the NEW Wembley Stadium.

          Its an awesome place with everything that all 24 national teams from seniors, womens, youth, disability, blind, futsal, and more call home, with hydrotheray suites, biometric, video analysis, medical, indoor, sports science etc that try to make the SIMPLE GAME more difficult. It also houses the LMA..League Managers Association, a useless body in my humble opinion. It's much larger that Clairfontaine outside Paris and Coverciano in Florence.

        No public transport and a stiff 1000 metres or more walk from the main road. It can be as boring as Bognor Regis in the winter.  Besides the national teams, clubs of all abilities can hire the 12 a cost... while the high priced Hilton Hotel on the grounds with a minimum price of £84 per night without breakfast is only for those on expense accounts. This month it is full with u17 youht teams, UEFA blazers, referees and FA blazers and skirts. Many foreign clubs have trained here such as AS Monaco, Galatasary, Steau Bucharest and more.

        It is the brainchild of Howard Wilkinson and other visionaries and has a full size indoor pitch...The Sir Alf Ramsey pitch... plus a full size replica of Wembley..The Bobby Charlton pitch where I watched an exciting match between The Republic of Ireland u17s and Denmark. There was an attendance of 471, comprised mostly of about 100 bused in local elementary school kids plus scouts, VIP's, agents and team members. I had a nice chat in the coffee lounge with the unassuming Welshman who coached the England u17s to World Cup glory a year ago, 38 year old Steve Cooper from Pontypridd, Wales and son of former FIFA referee Keith Cooper. plus his assistants. At the next table were The Chuckle Brothers from across the Irish Sea, Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane who must have been pleased with their teenage lads.

     They scored an early goal after only 4 minutes through Troy Parrott of Tottenham Hotspur and Denmark could never break their will or defense for the remainder of the match. Their first win after a loss to Belgium, who have qualified in Group C and the chance to join them with a win over The Bosnians on Friday at the same venue.

       Burton is the brewery capital of Europe with 8 breweries plus a brewery museum and tou,r and home of Pirelli Tires who have the naming rights of the Albion stadium. The club has just been relegated under Nigel Clough. Lt Colonel Jim Herbert Parker created Newcastle Brown Ale while Sir Oswald Mosley the former leader of the British Union of Fascists was born here. As a bi product of the brewery trade comes Marmite and the Bovril drink, which used to be served at all football griounds 50 years ago. The Battles of Burton Bridge in 1322 AD and another in 1643 AD and on 12th April 1200 AD King John gave permission for a market which has been held ever since each Thursday.

     Four hours later, after an excellant lunch at The Albion pub was the second match of the day at Pirelli Stadium between Spain and The Netherlands. A crowd of 1,378 showed up, again half of which were VIP guests, FA and UEFA blazers, scouts from all over Euope, agents and some of the teams such as the Slovenians right in front of my press box seat.

            The Dutch took a surprise lead in the 13th minute and while Spain, the defending European champions tried and tried again it was the orange shirted Dutch lads that doubled the lead in the 66th minute to make it 2-0 and three points.