The 1995 International Youth Tournament At Cappelle La Grande In France

Following on from the excellent news that the Rangers U20’s will compete next month in the prestigious Coppa Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy, in 1995 issue nine of ‘The Ranger’ reported on the Youth squad’s summer trip to France:-

The Rangers youth squad benefited from a trip to an international tournament during the summer, to pit their skills against other youngsters from the Continent. The International Youth Tournament took place from 2nd-6th June at Cappelle La Grande in France and was undoubtedly a great learning experience for all the lads lucky enough to be involved.

After a coach trip to Dover, the players and staff travelled to Calais by ferry, a journey that definitely tested the sea legs of the young R’s players. The opening ceremony took place on Friday 2nd June and was followed by a meal for everyone involved in the tournament. Then it was lights out for the young players as they packed in the beauty sleep to help prepare them for the next day’s activities. At 11.15am on Saturday morning, the QPR Youth team kicked off their first game against AS Nancy from France. After a hard fought game, neither side had managed to gain the advantage, so the match was decided by penalties, always a test of nerve for both players and spectators alike. In the end though, the young Rangers players won through, winning 5-3. The penalty scorers were: Nigel Quashie, Lee Holman, Gavin Mernagh, Richard Langley and Paul Bruce.

After such a mentally taxing opener, the lads did not have much time to recover as their next game was against Belgian side FC Utrecht at 6.15 the same evening. The morning exertions may well have drained the lads a little bit, as they ran out second best to their European opponents, losing to a single goal. The result paired Rangers with Belgian side Liese on Sunday 4th, a game that they unfortunately lost, again to a single goal. This ended Rangers chances of bringing any silverware back over the channel and their final contribution to the tournament came later on that Sunday, in the 11th/12th place play-off. The players ended their tournament on a high, beating host side Cappelle La Grande 1-0 thanks to Nigel Quashie’s second goal of the tournament. Rangers therefore finished the tournament in 11th position.

After a day and a half spent enjoying the final stages of the tournament and sampling the local culture, the players and staff set off for home once more and arrived back at Loftus Road at 9pm on Tuesday 6th June, tired but happy. Every youth player who was fortunate enough to have travelled to France can only have benefited from the experience. Ray Wilkins has often said that English football should look to the Continent for new ideas on how the game should be played, and the young Rangers lads are lucky to have experienced Continental styles at first hand. Hopefully this experience will reflect in the lads’ play this season, as they look to improve on last year’s successful campaign.

Steve Russell