In retrospect – Our guests, Fulham FC

We are busy organizing the Future Cup 2012, although the tournament takes place this August, the planning already started last October. It’s sometimes useful during the planning phase to look back and recognize what was good and exciting the last time of this event.

Fulham FC has been a participant in the Future Cup tournaments for a long time and we can also say that we became friends. The teams led by Geoff Noonan and Gevin Taylor have enjoyed their visits with us. Besides the technical and professional elements in a trip like this, we also put emphasis on the personal and cultural experiences for them as well.

It is by no chance that our club identifies the level of standards with FC Barcelona and Fulham FC teams and we value our relationships with both clubs. We see that both organizations consider football more than just the physical elements of the game. Both clubs developed a certain philosophy that makes the foundation of their programs. They’re both friendly, cooperative and open while they value fair play more than the momentary results of the game. Both clubs have a vision and a unique program to which they are very committed to.

It is also our motto at FC Budapest to develop committed, loyal and intelligent football players who learn other important moral standards and values besides football skills.

This is why we make an effort to bring our players into different cultures when we travel. We take them sightseeing and show them new experiences. We are glad to see that our partner clubs do the same when they travel. When FC Barcelona and Fulham FC visited us, their leaders made an effort to give a unique experience to their players. We’d like to recap Fulham FC’s visit with our club last August…

Our British friends arrived one day before the tournament with 3 leaders. FC Budapest sent their staff to the airport to welcome them and traveled together to their accommodations. There was plenty of time before the opening ceremonies so the coaches allowed some leisure time to their players and talked about the event with us. After lunch, the whole team had a meeting with the coaches who emphasized the importance of appropriate behavior – not that we would have experienced otherwise before. During the meeting, the kids were able to ask questions and talk about their requests, while the atmosphere was happy and friendly.

After the opening ceremony the team chose not to take the bus back to their accommodations, but rather walked. They walked instead of taking the bus back to their rooms for the next couple of days.

They showed such professionalism during the tournament and even if their level of play was not what they might have expected they kept composure on and off the field. The coaches encouraged all the players and told each of them what they did right or wrong. They didn’t worry about the referees and thanked everybody after each game, just like their players did.

The tournament at the end did not turn out according to their own expectation; however they analyzed everything and remained calmed at the dinner after the closing ceremony. The last day of the tournament was on August 20th, which is a national holiday in Hungary so we took our friends to see fireworks. Our club’s leaders accompanied Fulham FC to downtown where the fireworks took place. We explained the cultural background behind this national holiday. We walked together to Roosvelt Square where we could see the fireworks together. The kids really enjoyed this and later mentioned it quite a lot. It was pretty late when we all went home from here and there was still one surprise for our British friends the next day.

We organized a fun morning for them on Sunday that included cooking, playing football and talking with each other. At first, there was our team against theirs, but later mixed the teams up with each others’ players and this was a lot of fun. This unusual line-up was very motivating to our players as well as Fulham FC’s players who found a good synergy with each other. At the end of the game, the players exchanged jerseys with each other. All of the Fulham FC’s players wore our FC Budapest jerseys for the remaining of the day.

While the young players were busy playing on the field, the parents were busy preparing home made lunch off the pitch. The Hungarian kids’ parents were very gracious with their hospitality towards our guests and had to say good bye to them after lunch, because they were excluded from the afternoon event.

We began the afternoon with a river cruise on the Danube. During this one hour long cruise we showed our friends from London the most famous sights as well as shared a little about Hungarian history. Of course the kids really enjoyed the sights and the good weather. We sat in the Europa Kavehaz, a pastry shop to have some refreshments and cake, while having technical discussions with their leaders. After this, we visited the castle district up on the hill, overlooking the Danube and Budapest. Geoff showed off his violin playing skills to the kids at the cable cart by the castle, for the amusement of everyone.

Sadly it was already time to say good bye as their plane was leaving in the evening. We all went to the airport together and talked about our next projects together as well as next year’s Future Cup.