Indesit Support Your Hero: our dream weekend in Milan

So, how was YOUR Monday morning this week? I spent mine watching my husband play football at a sunny San Siro stadium with Robert Pires, Tony Adams, Billy Costacurta, Daniel Bravo and Gianluca Zambrotta. It was AMAZING!

This was a prize in the Indesit ‘Support your Hero’ Facebook competition – to enter you had to submit a photo and caption about your partner, explaining why he’s your football hero. The prize fund was generous, with hundreds of footballs and shirts to be won. I entered the competition on the penultimate day and was amazed when Rob got an email to say we were one of 33 European couples chosen to go to Milan to live his dream and play in a tournament with ‘football legends’. Just a few days later delight turned to tears when Rob injured his knee and couldn’t even walk – he had it operated on within a fortnight but the surgeon said the likelihood of him being able to do any training or play football in Milan was slim. Still, we packed our bags for the adventure and hoped for the best!

We flew from Heathrow early on Sunday morning, and the excitement began when we saw Arsenal legend Tony Adams on our BA flight. Arriving at the Westin Hotel in Milan at lunchtime, all the men were whisked away to the AC Milan training ground to prepare for the tournament.

While the boys sweated at Milanello, the girls were treated to an afternoon of what was mysteriously referred to on the schedule as ‘dedicated activities’, starting with prosecco and canapés at the hotel.

First, we were taken to designer shoe emporium Sergio Rossi and handed yet more prosecco. “You can choose any item in the shop!” the Indesit team cheerily exclaimed, and our jaws hit the floor. The shoes were epic, and most had a 600 Euro price tag.

Lots of the girls chose sky high stilettos and though I was drooling at some shiny red cut-out boots, I sensibly opted for a peeptoe kitten heel instead, knowing they would be well used.

above two photos taken from the Indesit Facebook page

Clutching our fabulous footwear, we hopped back on the bus to Lepri beauty salon, where we took turns getting our hair and make up done. “It’s a little bit crazy!” my hairdresser smiled as he waved his tongs around. And indeed it was.

Next stop was the super glam Bulgari Hotel, for cocktails and canapés on the terrace. This was certainly an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon, although the rather indiscreet Indesit lanyards meant the regulars knew we weren’t real WAGs…

Back at the hotel the boys returned in a state of excitement. They’d been assigned their teams: AC Milan, Arsenal & Paris St Germain, and were all set for the big day – Rob’s knee had survived the training! Sunday evening was spent at Terraza Martini for a fabulous buffet and a free bar. Tony Adams, Robert Pires and Franco Baresi dutifully posed for one photo after another, and we all hit the rooftop terrace for views of the amazing Duomo de Milan.

On Monday morning everyone was buzzing and eager to get to the San Siro. The stadium was looking great, with Indesit banners, a sound system, and a table piled high with scarves, flags, hats, air horns and rattles for the supporters.

And then… the teams came out onto the pitch! It was amazing to hear all the names announced and to cheer our men: I can’t begin to imagine how it must have felt for them to run out onto the pitch with such legends.

The tournament was three games of 15 minutes each way. AC Milan v PSG was first up, and I was disappointed to see Rob was on the Milan bench. Still, I shouted and cheered the boys on and when Mancunian Nathan scored a fabulous goal we went crazy! I whooped with joy when Rob was brought on, but hid my eyes every time he went in for a tackle… this could end in tears. Rob managed to play for ten minutes or so and considering I hadn’t expected him to play at all, it was emotional!

After losing 1-0 to Milan, PSG went straight into a game with Arsenal which ended in a 1-1 draw. The penalties were tense, with all of the first nine scoring. Brit Christian stepped up to take the final penalty for Arsenal… and it was saved. The Gunners were distraught.

So, with Arsenal on 1 point and PSG on 3 points, the final game was the decider. AC Milan went 1-0 up, then Arsenal equalised. So exciting! Rob was brought on to chants of “there’s only one Rob Coke” (by me) and a second goal for Milan ensured the cup was theirs.

All the players were presented with medals, and it brought a tear to my eye to see their celebrations while “We are the champions” played… sniff!

Lunch and wine was next, followed by an awards ceremony where the top goalie, midfielder, defender, striker and couple were cheered. I was delighted to win the ‘best fan’ prize as a result of my frenzied goal celebrations and shouting, which was a shirt signed by the Arsenal squad.

 

Back in town we opted for a pint of lager rather than a city tour and headed to the Friends Pub for post-match analysis and much laughter.

In the evening Indesit treated us to a Gala Dinner at shiny restaurant and nightclub Just Cavalli: parma ham and melon, penne, the largest steak I’ve ever seen and a boozy limoncello pudding. We were still eating at 11.30pm! After dinner we were led away to a special section of the nightclub for drinks and dancing. A round of jägerbombs later and it’s time to go home… we’re all drunk and emotional and have a sing song on the bus back to the hotel. What a weekend!

Indesit pulled out all the stops with this prize, and for two days the Cokes felt like the Beckhams. Attention was paid to every tiny detail, the food and drink was plentiful and beautiful and the only money we spent was on a postcard and a pint. I also made some excellent new friends – not least Tony Adams!

Next year the event will be in Paris… see you there?

Thanks to Olivia, Christian & Louise for their photo contributions – much appreciated!

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