The Tigers’ recent trip to China to play in the Barclays Asia Trophy may be the most high profile pre-season tour in the club’s history, but it certainly wasn’t the first. Back in 1912 City travelled to Trondheim in Norway to face a local XI three times, and in subsequent years they’ve been to Ireland (1949), Israel (1950), Spain (1951), Sweden (1971), Gibraltar (1983) and Tampa Bay, USA (1984).
Nineteen years ago, Second Division City jetted to Bulgaria for three games against local opposition that would be largely forgettable had they not been documented by Yorkshire Television, who despatched respected mic man John Helm to narrate a half-hour televised travelogue. Helm was no stranger to covering City in foreign climes, he even played for the Tigers once during a winter trip to Bermuda!
Highlights of the innuendously titled A Kick in the Balkans include pre-game folk dancing, Dave Bamber’s critique of local cuisine, manager Stan Ternant worshipping the Almighty in a Russian Orthodox church, Paul Hunter’s Bart Simpson tee shirt and Don Robinson talking to camera topless. The lowlights are keeper Iain ‘The Flying Pig’ Hesford’s clearly scripted links counting down the days until the squad return to Blighty, and Phil Collins providing the somewhat patronising soundtrack.