Football brought Austria to Merseyside last weekend, as Liverpool FA’s Walton Hall headquarters hosted a friendly match between hometown Heswell Vets Football Club and Austrian side Club der Letzten.
With the Austrian team visiting Merseyside to watch Liverpool take on Cardiff City at Anfield, one of the team members contacted Liverpool FA to arrange a match during their time in England.
“I received an email from [Club der Letzten manager] Bernard Taurer asking of we could set up a game when they came over for the weekend,” explained County FA Football Development Officer, Stu Carrington.
“He explained that they were going to the Liverpool game and then go out to explore Liverpool’s sites and the hospitality the city has to offer in the evening.
“We had Jacob Viera referee the game,” added Stu. “Jacob is a Step 7 referee who volunteers on our refugee football programmes having moved to the country himself.”
Played in the right manner, the 90-minute match was a close encounter, with Heswell Vets emerging as winners. At the end of the game, both teams exchanged gifts, with the camaraderie continuing over a couple of pints in the nearby Jolly Miller.
“The rematch is due to happen in the New Year,” said Stu. “That’s going to take place in Austria with Bernard’s team becoming hosts. It was a fantastic event and both teams were a real credit.”
Club der Letzten’s trip to Merseyside was to celebrate the club’s 35th anniversary and followed on from successful trips in other European cities.
“We’ve been to Munich and watched Bayern Munich in the old Olympiastadium,” revealed Bernard.
“We played against local veterans and visited the Oktoberfest. On our trip to Barcelona, we watched a game at Camp Nou and played against Fundacio Veterans de Sitges who represent the Cruyff Foundation and are a famous veterans’ team close to FC Barcelona.
“Our trip to Liverpool was a great experience and it was great to play against a powerful local team in the homeland of football. We’re very thankful to Stu Carrington and Ian Furlong, who made this possible. We’re looking forward to welcoming them to Austria for the return game.”