TO SUM up the last week, there is no better place to start than with the way it finished.

As hundreds of Oxford United fans gathered with players and staff for an end-of-tour photograph, it was hard to imagine the Ferreiras Stadium in Albufeira hosting such a scene all season.

It is a tradition which started almost by accident in Austria two years ago.

Wiener Neustadt broke the mould for what a pre-season trip should look like and for many who were crammed into the frame of what became an iconic picture, nothing can top that first experience.

But the monster born that night has gathered momentum.

Spain last year was very different and had a few teething problems, but this time feels like it has taken the best elements of the last two European visits and combined them.

The players have had good facilities to train and play, with tough opposition to face.

They have also been available to supporters, who between the games have organised themselves with sporting competitions and quizzes.

Whatever your role on the Algarve, the odds are you will be returning home with two things: a hangover and a renewed love of Oxford United.

For what it’s worth, as someone who has been on all three European trips, I think this was the best yet.

Which all begs one question: where are we going next year?