Ian Whitehorne and a team of 20 Sheffield FC veterans will be swapping their Dronfield ground for one of the biggest stages in world football today.
The San Siro, the home to AC and Inter Milan, will be hosting the Sheffield team made up of ex players, supporters and people that have dedicated time to the world’s oldest football club.
Among the squad are former manager Chris Dolby and club mainstay Matt Roney, as well director Bob Dyson.
The journey to Milan started today. Whitehorne and his team will meet at the ground at 4am before flying from the East Midlands airport at 6.45am to their hosts where they will play two matches – one tonight at the San Siro, and one tomorrow against Inter’s supporters club.
As part of their 150th anniversary in 2007, Sheffield played the Italian giants at Bramall Lane and six months ago, Inter sent over a veteran’s team to play Sheffield again at Dronfield, and were invited to play today’s game at their 80,000-seater stadium for a rematch.
“Out of the blue they contacted us and asked if we would like to go to Milan.” Whitehorne said, “We organised the game at the Coach and Horses and they have asked to play at San Siro.
“There is a bit of a difference, and it’s not bad going.”
Whitehorne added: “They will meet us today and they have arranged a meal around about lunchtime, then it is over to the stadium where we will have a tour before we play in the evening. On Thursday we will play the supporters club at one of the city’s most historic grounds as well. It will be a great occasion.
“For our 150th year we played Inter Milan as part of the celebration and sold around 20,000 tickets. We have close links with the Milan teams and a veteran’s team came over six months ago.
“We are taking over people who help out at the club and give their time up for nothing. We have made our team up of supporters, helpers and those people who give something to us we are trying to give something back to them.
He added: “It’s a ‘first’ at the San Siro, it is definitely going to be the biggest stage I have been on.”
Sheffield have also been invited to Berlin in September, which they will have to get permission for as it is during the league season, as they look to keep their close links with teams from all around the world.
Their travels have seen them play games in Poland, India and Hong Kong recently as the football world continues to recognise Sheffield’s place in football history.
“We get quite a few requests from teams from all over the place really. They come along and want to take in a game and visit the club out of respect for being the first worlds football club.
“We have been all over in the past few years” said Whitehorne.
“We have been to Poland to celebrate a team’s 100th anniversary, we played three games in India two years ago and played in Hong Kong not long ago either.”