On Tuesday 8th May 2018, Fifteen representatives from the Wrexham Inclusion Football Club headed out to Munich, Germany to take part in the Regenbogen Cup, the European Mental Health Championships.
On the first afternoon, the players had the opportunity to tour the allianz arena, before a scheduled team meeting that evening.Prior to the meeting the management trio of Wayne, Carl and Andy met the competition organiser Steffan at our city centre Hotel. At this point German Television were accompanying and at this point our GM Wayne Greenshields had an interview with the german media about the tournament days ahead.
Following the team meeting, all players were offered the opportunity of a individual 1 to 1 meeting to discuss the experience and what the club would like to see from them during the tournament, style of play, expected position and so on.
After a gruelling 2 days of football in the suburb of Harr in the stunning bavarian sunshine, the club are happy to share the results.
First up wrexham were up against the Czech champions CDZ Prag, after starting slowly fell behind with WIFC eventually loosing the game 1-0.
WIFC' next game was against German team - Prop Aigsldorf who started the week as favourites for the competition saw wrexham change to a possession based game with a hugely effective influence which won us the game 2 - 1. Luke Armstrong and Jamie Hall with the Goals. Wrexham's third game of the day saw them play against the Slovakian representatives who ran out with 3 out of 3 wins in the games before.
Wrexham began the game strongly and kept possession, this was the first of many teams to park the bus and play with all six players in their own half. After long amounts of possession wrexham found a goal, only to concede within 30 seconds after shutting off. The game ran out 1 -1 and resulted in a draw. Luke Armstrong with the goal. 4th game of the day saw Wrexham play against host team REBO United who again played a very deep line but couldn't cope with the sharpness of our passing and possession based play and WIFC ran out 3 - 0 winners.
Wrexham's fifth and final game of day 1 of the competition group stages saw us throw away a 3 goal lead and draw 3 -3. Aron hall with a pick of the performances bagging himself a brace.
Day 2 saw us start the day against Real Bad Tolz who yet again played deep against our possession based play. Being two nil down at half time the oranges came out of the blocks early and scored a tremendous free kick early. Thankful for the dragons this was the only goal we would concede in this game and wrexham progressed to the final 8. Michael Harper and Luke Armstrong with the goals. Three games remaining at this point. In the first game WIFC played a team who played on their own 18 yard line and soaked up the pressure through out. They increased the pressure throughout the game, coming close on a couple of occasions but unfortunately the goal needed eluded wrexham and the game finished 0 - 0
WIFC ran out comfortable 3 - 0 winners against a strong Maxi Furth team of Slovakia, to progress to the quarter final stage of the competition.
Unfortunately a 0 - 0 draw in normal time against FC Regenbogan saw us face penalties to book a place in the semi finals. in a tight round wrexham lost out 4-3.
Remarkable achievement to lose just one game in normal time over 2 days, which means wrexham finished in 6th position. 6th best in EUROPE!
Overall results Played 9 Won 4 Draw 4 Lost 1
General Manager Wayne Greenshields said: "Munich 2018 for the WIFC was a fantastic experience. Yet again the city of Munich was more than fantastic to us. From the stadium tour, the weather, the hotel, transport system and of course the football For 15 players from little old Wrexham to not only compete in European football but dominant the tournament from start to finish. The lads adapted well to the competition and played in a possession based style never seen in mental health football in the UK. Sadly and cruelly we lost on the luck of penalties in the final 8. The 4 day trip has helped the guys become closer together and friendships have been increased"
Football Manager Carl Austin said "Absolutely pleasure to manage and be part of this amazing trip which seen us dominate every game the football and banter has been incredible and to see how much they have embraced the trip is truly brilliant!
Absolutely love that Wrexham Inclusion FC are able to give opportunities to players from Mental Health and Disability backgrounds. It shows sometimes people just need someone to believe in them and they can overcome anything.
Head of Media Andrew Calton said " so proud of the team as a whole, to loose only 1 game in 2 days and go 8 games undefeated was astonishing, with some of the best football I've ever seen at Wrexham Inclusion Football Club.
Such a shame we were cruelly eliminated on penalties at the quarter final stage, i'm confident enough that we would have surpassed last year's 4th place.
Thanks as always to my 2 Collegues who have put hours upon hours into making the trip happen. Absolute pleasure to work along side yourselves Carl Austin and Wayne Greenshields
The gratitude shown from the players is something I won't forget and a massive thanks from me personally for making the trip so enjoyable and easy to run"
Individual award winners for the trip are as follows as picked by the management.
Player of the tournament - Aron Hall
Biggest Impact- Luke Brown
Unsung hero- Phil Roberts
Moment of the tournament - Luke Armstrong
Most embraced- Jack Hughes
Wrexham Inclusion Football Club is the biggest disability football club in Wales and the biggest Voluntary Club on the disability circuit in the UK, it caters for people from various backgrounds including disability, mental health, social isolation, criminal justice, substance misuse and many more. our weekly training sessions take place at plas madoc leisure centre every wednesday from 430 pm, if you interested in joining please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our facebook page www.facebook.com/WrexhamIFC
Picture Credit Andy Calton