Goater?s former club confirm Island tour

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Shaun Goater?s former club Southend United are jetting to Bermuda later this month for a pre-season tour ? and will take on the national team in an ?appreciation game? for the retired forward.

The striker, who last month put an end to his illustrious career after one final goalscoring season with the Shrimpers, had been helping the newly-promoted Championship side organise the summer tour while still a player at Roots Hall.


Shaun Goater?s former club Southend United are jetting to Bermuda later this month for a pre-season tour ? and will take on the national team in an ?appreciation game? for the retired forward.

The striker, who last month put an end to his illustrious career after one final goalscoring season with the Shrimpers, had been helping the newly-promoted Championship side organise the summer tour while still a player at Roots Hall.

Manager Steve Tilson will bring all 18 first-team players ? and three other officials ? to Bermuda on June 27 and the side will stay for one week of pre-season training.

Southend, who have achieved a remarkable two successive promotions, will take on Kyle Lightbourne?s national squad on June 30 at the National Sports Centre in their only official outing. It is understood they may play at least one behind-closed-doors match, taking on the national Under-20 side who are in the midst of their own World Cup qualifying campaign.

?It is certainly a more expensive pre-season trip than we are used to do,? said the club?s marketing executive Nina Drew.

?Last year we didn?t go any further than Essex. But we have established a great relationship with Bermuda through Shaun and we wanted to keep it going.

?It will be a wonderful trip for the players and the match against Bermuda will be our way of saying thank you again to Shaun for all he did for us.

?I?d like to think lots of fans out in Bermuda will come out for the game to cheer on Shaun, like a sort of testimonial game.?

Apparently before the promotion was achieved, chairman Ron Martin came up with the idea of Southend coming out to Bermuda, something that was finally confirmed only earlier this week.

?Any game is a good game for us,? said national coach Kyle Lightbourne, who will actually miss the rare domestic international as he flying to Germany that day to watch some World Cup quarter-final action.

?We have the Digicel Cup coming up in September and we have been looking at trying to get some matches ahead of that. At the moment nothing is concrete although it is good we have this game coming up.

?It will be good for the guys to get out there and play another match.?

Lightbourne revealed the national squad had remained in training, although emphasis recently had been on the Under 20 side ? of which he is also manager ? who head off on July 10 to the US Virgin Islands for their World Cup campaign.

?We have been looking at trying to get them some matches,? continued Lightbourne.

?But we haven?t had a lot of luck. Although the senior squad are going to face Southend, we are going to have a behind-doors game against them with the Under 20s so they can get some exposure too.?

Although Lightbourne will prepare the squad for the Southend encounter, assistant coach Paul Scope ? himself currently away in Germany watching the World Cup ? will take over on the night.

Southend, who will have been back in pre-season training for just a week before their trip, will be working primarily on fitness training and basic ball work during their stay. They will be staying at Grotto Bay and the Department of Tourism ? who have helped organise the trip ? are currently working to try and sort out training facilities for them.

Although Clyde Best?s company SetPlay have been involved in bringing in recent tours from Brazilian and US sides, this will be the first full UK senior squad visit to Bermuda for years but follows a rich tradition of tours by leading English teams in the 1960s through the ?90s.

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