The combination of football and holidays is an irresistible one for many young players and fans, and even though the UK seems unable to land the World Cup it is undoubtedly one of the top soccer nations in the world. From stunning new grounds such as the Emirates and Wembley to classics like Anfield and Molineux, the British football enthusiast is spoilt for choice.
The legendary players who have graced these grounds started at tournaments as seven and eight year olds, testing their skills at holiday resorts and leisure centres across the country before taking their talent to the big leagues. Thankfully trophies and festivals are also within reach for those who don’t or didn’t make it to the professional ranks from the many great tour organisers, including Duke’s Sports.
Here are five top choices for football tours and tournaments for 2015 for young and older alike.
North West Trophy, May 22-25
Pontins Holiday Park in Southport is the venue for accommodating one of the largest youth tournaments in the UK, which usually attracts more than 100 teams.
The footy action itself caters for boys and girls from the ages of U7 through to U18s, and is now in its 12th year. Part of the reason for its longevity is the combination of sport and entertainment, with an indoor pool, go-karts, a climbing wall and other activities setting up players for the evening entertainment.
SCI-football Festival, Torquay.
Coastal locations lend themselves perfectly to football tournaments, and none better than a town known as part of the English Riviera alongside the beautiful Brixham and Paignton.
Torquay is a beautiful backdrop for the May-day weekend SCI Football Tournament. Almost 50 sides took part last year at the event, which costs £65 per person for the entire weekend. Last year former England and Liverpool hardman Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock dished out the prizes – as well as the Fair Play Awards!
The 2015 Nottingham Football Festival
Nottingham Forest remains the only club to have won the European Cup more times than the English league title, while Notts County is the oldest football league club. So a football tournament in Clough and Collymore country needs to be a decent one.
Thankfully this annual football festival from May 23 to 31 for players of all categories is one to savour. As well as matches for boys and girls there’s also 11-a-side fare for men (including two veteran categories) and the Robin Hood Cup on the final two days.
Best of Britain tour
The Goliath of UK football tours: this takes small teams to Scotland, Manchester, Wales and Dublin in nine days, with a Scottish Premier League game, coaching clinics, matches against locals and a visit to the Old Trafford Museum thrown into the mixer. Truly one for the football disciple.
Leicester City Cup/Foxes Cup
Two separate festivals organised by ESF, these gigantic tournaments attract more than 400 teams and celebrities including Stuart Pearce, Casey Stoner and Ian Rush among others to Butlins Skegness.
Once the players have left the pitch during the May Bank Holiday/May 15-18 they will be gagging to try out the £15m Splash Waterworld and the awesome fairground rides.