ᑕ❶ᑐ Fenix ​​Trophy: One other likelihood at European glory for semi-professional and novice golf equipment

Fenix ​​Trophy: Another shot at European glory for semi-professional and amateur clubs
FC United beat Prague Raptors 2-0 in Rimini to win the inaugural Fenix ​​Trophy in June

Followers in pink gathered at Milan Bergamo Airport, hoping to catch a glimpse of their victorious heroes on their manner again to Manchester. Their crew had simply lifted a European trophy, evoking recollections of Sir Bobby Charlton, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo doing the identical.

Solely the congregation weren’t there to greet a facet brimming with the world’s largest stars, as an alternative they have been anticipating non-league facet Manchester FC United, who gained the primary Fenix ​​Trophyexterior hyperlink – a European competitors for semi-professional and novice golf equipment.

In doing so, FC United – a breakaway membership created by dissident Manchester United supporters in 2005 and presently the seventh tier in English soccer – had earned themselves particular standing.

“We have been the one English membership to win a European trophy final season, so I will take it,” laughs Reds boss Neil Reynolds.

“Bringing the trophy house by way of the airport and seeing my children see us win was wonderful. We will say that we’ve gained a European trophy and nobody can take it away from us.

“Our followers have seen it occur with Manchester United, now they’ve seen it with FC United. »

The thought of ​​the Fenix ​​trophy was first mooted on the finish of 2020 by Alessandro Aleotti, president of non-league Italian facet Brera FC.

Aleotti established Brera in 2000 with a imaginative and prescient of changing into Milan’s third soccer membership. He noticed European competitors as the right step in direction of that purpose, so with the assistance of his son Leo, Brera’s managing director, he set about creating one.

The identify Fenix ​​is ​​an acronym representing the core values ​​of the event: Pleasant; European; Not skilled; revolutionary; and xenial, which comes from the traditional Greek phrase xenos, indicating an perspective of hospitality in direction of strangers.

Nevertheless, the Aleottis did not simply need former golf equipment to affix Fenix ​​and started scouting for non-professional kits throughout the continent that matched their standards.

Whereas there are specific logistical and aggressive components to think about – similar to proximity to a serious airport and guaranteeing groups play between the sixth and eighth tier of their respective nations – Leo says they wished to “ discover distinctive golf equipment, emblematic at a sure stage and gave visibility to non-professional soccer”.

For final yr’s entrants, that meant golf equipment which have a storied previous however have fallen on laborious instances, or these with a transparent social or group function, similar to belonging to supporters like FC United.

Among the many competitors have been two-time Belgian champions KSK Beveren, who misplaced to Barcelona within the semi-finals of the 1978-79 Cup Winners’ Cup, and DWS Amsterdam, who gained the Eredivisie title in 1964 and counts Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard because the youth crew. previous college students.

Brera additionally has its personal connection to historical past by way of its house, Enviornment Civica. The bottom opened in 1807, making it the oldest stadium in continental Europe, and was the previous house of Milan’s two nice golf equipment earlier than they moved to San Siro.

On the different finish of the size are the Prague Raptors, a crew primarily based within the Czech capital who satisfaction themselves on offering an inclusive setting for all.

“We weren’t within the first part of the golf equipment Brera was speaking to and we predict we have been the final ones they approached,” stated Prague Raptors England president Daz Moss, who began the membership in 2017. on the whim of his five-year contract. eldest son Lukas.

“We have been chosen as a result of we had achieved a challenge just a few months earlier than with AKS Zly, a Polish crew that was in final yr’s event, to carry extra ladies into soccer, as a result of we wish to break down obstacles and are very pro-diversity.

“It was wonderful for us. It sheds gentle on every little thing we’re making an attempt to do. It actually helps folks discover us and even all the way down to shirt gross sales we’ve seen a rise within the international locations we’ve been concerned with. »

Fenix ​​Trophy: Another shot at European glory for semi-professional and amateur clubs
Brera and FC United met on the Enviornment Civica in April 2022 – the English facet gained 3-1

Final yr’s event noticed two teams of 4 face one another house and away, with the winners of every part assembly for the ultimate in Rimini, Italy in June. The opposite six groups have been additionally current to play matches primarily based on their group standings to resolve a remaining standings.

And whereas FC United triumphed within the remaining with a 2-0 victory over the Prague Raptors to raise the trophy, it was the human tales and the moments created by the competitors that stood out for the founders of Fenix.

“It was wonderful and everybody was so excited,” Leo stated. “We had a really various roster of gamers from all around the world and with every kind of backgrounds, from UPS drivers to varsity college students.

“For among the gamers, enjoying in a foreign country was nice. For some it was a as soon as in a lifetime expertise and I keep in mind there was a man I noticed from Gambia who was nearly crying when he received on a airplane to play in Poland.

“It was his first time on a airplane, so getting that have as a result of he was enjoying within the Fenix ​​Trophy is the most effective projection of the competitors you may make. »

For the FC United winners, it was a possibility to get their fingers on a particular piece of silverware and present their followers, a few of whom used to journey throughout Europe for the large nights of the Champions League with Manchester United, the chance to relive these recollections of their new guise.

Becoming in further video games and touring by way of an already busy non-league schedule introduced challenges for the Reds’ part-timers, however few complained.

Reynolds says: “Taking part in Milan on a Wednesday night time, we left Wednesday morning to fly over, performed the sport and got here again Thursday afternoon. We received house on Thursday night time, the fellows needed to go to work on Friday and we have been touring three hours to play Morpeth on Saturday.

“It makes me chortle once I hear these Premier League managers complaining about European fixtures and the league.

“It is bought out and there is no time to relaxation, particularly for these guys who’re engineers or electricians, and do not get a therapeutic massage or a pool to assist get well between video games, however they’ll always remember the expertise. As laborious and demanding as it’s, we would not change it for the world. »

The second version of the Fenix ​​Trophy is about to kick off, and it has already gained momentum, with 9 golf equipment now participating in an preliminary three-group stage forward of the finals this summer season.

FC United’s protection will begin in opposition to KSK Beveren on November 15, with Spain’s Cuenca Mestallistes finishing their squad.

Brera’s Leo Aleotti is pleased with the competitors’s progress up to now, however has ambitions for it to develop much more sooner or later if budgets enable.

“There are three new groups and two new international locations getting into this yr, however there may be nonetheless loads of room to develop and enhance,” he stated.

“This present format is nice and so long as we hold the numbers at 12, 15 or 18 groups we will implement this three crew group format, though sooner or later we must make a soar to a different sort of format. – probably a knockout part – which permits us to have a a lot wider community.

“An enormous a part of the choice is the affordability of golf equipment and it is tougher for these in much less prosperous components of Europe to assist themselves by enjoying 4 or perhaps six video games yearly.

“There needs to be a monetary incentive for many who take the following step to have the ability to afford the additional video games and that is a setup I see for the longer term, though I do not know the way far that future is. . It is one thing we must be aiming for as a result of it is the way in which to cowl much more territory. »

Regardless of the purity of the Fenix ​​Trophy competitors, funds are key for the event to essentially take off on a a lot bigger scale. So, does Leo have any potential sponsors in thoughts?

“As a result of the event is self-funded, we depend on finances airways, so perhaps Ryanair must be our sponsor sooner or later,” he jokingly mirrored. “We have now so many photographs of groups posing in entrance of planes that they need to positively give it some thought. »

Get a Benefactor on board and the sky actually is the restrict for the Fenix ​​Trophy.

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