60th Anniversary - 21st All Stars Football in Mülheim

Friday 3rd May 2013

Darlington 21ST Allstars junior Football club enjoyed an excellent weekend away to Darlington’s Twin Town Mülheim an de Ruhr over the May Bank holiday , after all the fund raising by both teams and help from Darlington Borough Councils twin towning to celebrate our 60 years twinning with Mülheim.

Allstars took 2 teams, the Under 14’s and Under 16’s along with managers, coaches, club officials and parents.
We set off from Longfield School heading for Leeds Bradford airport and after only 1 hours flying time we landed at Dusseldorf airport, to be met by Axel our host and guide for the weekend, as ever the German machine was as efficient as ever and we were extremely well looked after, The players and managers were dropped off at their hostel accommodation, while the rest of the parents were taken to their hotel.

The next day we were all picked up and taken on a tour of the Mülheim area which we estimated to be about 4 times the size of Darlington, the first things to strike you about the area is the amount of trees and greenery also the cleanliness of the whole area including the industrial parts

We then went to our first arranged football match, we were very impressed with the facilities if not a little bit envious, the pitch was surrounded by a running track and a covered stand area to sit in, we had expected the weather to be similar to back home but the sun shone, the sky was blue and the temperature was up. The Mayor of Mülheim opened the ceremony with a speech and we exchanged gifts with the officials.
We were informed that Mülheim is twinned with several other countries including Turkey,Poland,Israel and Norway.

Our 1st game went well with a win to the Allstars U14’s with the U16’s losing out by 1 goal. Both teams played with enthusiasm and enjoyed their game along with their German counterparts, an excellent show of sportsmanship and respect by all concerned.
After the matches we had refreshments in an adjoining beer garden , then onto the coach where we were taken to the towns shopping Mall, a very busy place with plenty of shops and variety for all ages.

We returned to the beer garden for a barbecue and more refreshments, enjoying sitting out in the balmy evening air with our German hosts, the players still enjoying playing football with each other on the local 3G play area. Later we returned to our accommodation ready for the next days events.
We set off 9.30 sharp Sunday morning for our next arranged football matches, if we thought the previous days facilities were excellent we were astounded at the sight before us, these were akin to professional football status, all for a Junior Football Club, a full size 4th Generation football pitch again surrounded by a running track, an excellent stand and changing facilities, and their own swimming pool as well !!

We had another presentation from our hosts prior to the matches, after all the courtesies we got down to playing football, with the Under 14’s losing the 1st match it was down to the Under16’s to restore the balance, something must have been lost in the interpretation because the German opposition all turned up driving their own cars, obviously a lot older, 18 year olds.
Still not to be perturbed the game got under way, the Germans were very professional in their play, but not to be outdone the Allstars U16’s dug in and upped their game to meet the opposition head on, with the heat of the day building up and on the pitch, the Allstars flagged towards the end the German team finally won. Another fine display of sportsmanship by all who participated.

We were back on the coach to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in the centre of Mülheim, again the weather was hot and the whole town seemed to be out in force enjoying the day off. There was a music festival in the main square and lots of people in fancy dress. We spent a few hours window shopping and looking around the old town.

Our evening was spent at the Shopping Mall where our players were treated to 10 pin bowling and refreshments, later we retired to our accommodation.

Our last day and we were all packed ready to be picked up at 8.30 as a special suprise we were taken to the Borrusia Dortmund Football Stadium for a tour, our guide showed us around one of the biggest and best supported stadiums in Europe with regular attendances of 86,000 , we spent the rest of the day at a local sports centre with indoor pitches where the players and parents played mini football matches against each other, with the parents failing miserably, after more refreshments we said a sad farewell to Axel, our German Host who among others in the Town Twinning department spent the whole 4 days looking after us.

We reflected upon our time in Germany as we headed for the airport, we all agreed that our time there had been brilliant, Mülheim is a beautiful place and the German people were extremely friendly and accommodating.

Darlington 21st Allstars would like to thank all those who made it possible for our teams to visit Mülheim an de Ruhr, the town twinning from both Darlington and Mülheim and also the German people for their Hospitality.
We would also like to thank all the players for their excellent Sportsmanship and behaviour during the trip, they were a pleasure to be with and Brilliant Ambassadors for our club and the youth of Darlington

Paul Scott
Darlington 21st Allstars JFC
20 Glamis Rd

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