Months ago I took the opportunity to sign my football crazy triplets and I up to a day out at Plymouth Argyle organised via the boy's local village football club. At £20 a head for a full day of fun and a chance to see their first ever professional league match it seemed a golden opportunity. Beforehand the boys were fairly indifferent claiming Plymouth were a "no where" team and why couldn't they go and see Manchester City or chelsea play. However as the day arrived and they dressed in their kit ready to be trained by the team coaches the excitement began to build.
Our meeting place was by the official shop. Not my favourite place as after half an hour of hanging around they had fallen in love with some "must have" purchases. There were some really pricy named kit they could have gone for so I decided mine were actually quite sensible, one of the benefits of earning and spending their own money.
We were treated to a full tour of the grounds by the coaches. The children were fascinated by the contrast between the basic away players changing rooms and the more modern home team facilities. Though I must say club funds must be struggling as all the showers looked rank.
Looking down on the pitch I was struck by the size, I'm sure our village pitch is smaller! Up close felt just as vast though I must say it was in perfect conditions for the time of year.
The day wasn't just about watching as the kids actually had a full hour of coaching with spectator's gallery above for us parents. This one of the highlights for my three and they came out more than ready for their buffet lunch all courtesy of the day.
We had time to kill before the match against Luton town and watched some of the supporters arrive and the stands fill up on either side. The children were amazed by the number of away fans travelling the 4 to 5 hours it must have taken from Luton. Within the stadium there is a thoughtful family room which was open to wonder in and out at any time before or during the match complete with plenty to keep children busy from a supervised 3 a side football match area to pool and other table top games. The triplets were so engrossed they nearly missed the start of the game!
Outside the pomp and circumstance surrounding the start of the game really helped everyone feel part of the afternoon and ready to cheer on their team. Our lovely mascot regularly came up encouraging us to shout for Argyle banging football rhythms out next to us and the boys wanted photos of the cheer leaders to make their older brothers jealous!
I never thought I could sit though a football game in the freezing cold and genuinely enjoy it as much as I did; I was cheering Plymouth on wrapped up in the atmosphere with the children.
The coach approached us just before half time to see if Clio would come onto the pitch at halftime and join a penalty shoot. The boys were beside themselves with jealously and Clio quite bemused as to why she was chosen. I'm sure it was because she was the only girl on the day. After playing so well in the coaching session she really didn't do herself justice on the big pitch, but I'm still proud of her, there were hundreds watching!
We sloped off 5 minutes before the end with the score at 1 - 0 to Luton to beat the rush to leave. The kids were furious but soon saw my point when we passed several supporters being marched away by the police to their van, something they were blissfully unaware of within the grounds. The car park so empty when we arrived that morning was by now a sea of cars and I was delighted to be hitting the road ahead of them all leaving.
Back home Nick had steak pierrade waiting for us, a perfect way to end a long day. It was a pleasure to have taken them all just to listen to them retelling the highlights to their older brothers and Dad.
If you ever have the chance to do something similar at your local club, do take it up, I was surprised how much we all enjoyed the day and I am not a football fan but would happily go again. Plymouth Argyle have now risen to number two spot in the triplets mind, it may take them a while to overtake their heros though!
My thanks to St Tudy village football club for organising the event for their club members.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
Rain or Shine Mamma has a lovely idea for a scavenger hunt to help little ones understand nature from litter.
The country has been gripped by snow even though we have none in Cornwall, my kids are envious of the fun had by Nikoteen 87 and Claire Justine
Walking Poles transformed a frosty family woodland walk for Mum turned Mom.
I do love educational visits about our history, Redpeffer enjoyed a winter living history event in Bromsgrove while North East Family Fun found some wonderful Roman discoveries on a day in south Wales.
Plutonium Sox explored one of the Country's great National Trust Estates for a fun day despite the cold.