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The Clog Blog: Day Five - Maastrichtly Speaking

On the final day of Argyle's Dutch Tour, Rob McNichol assesses the squad, points out a familiar hazard, and, through the sleep and the sweat, offers us all hope.

27 July 2018

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TYPICALLY, I write these blogs last thing in the day, but I am least starting this one a lot earlier, for our final day here in the Netherlands is probably our busiest.

The clock in front of me reads '14:30', then flips to the temperature, which reads '38 degrees'. We are on the road to Maastricht, and said clock is above the head of the driver of our coach - I say ‘our coach’; it is emblazoned with MVV Maastricht livery, which apparently they have sent for us. 

Most around me are sleeping. It has been a tough week out here in some ways - and a doddle in others. Long hours, plenty of hard work and scorching temperatures have got to us all, but no-one is complaining. I could certainly get used to days on the training field, with someone to wash my gear and three cracking meals laid on a day. This is not a hard life, but it can be a tiring one.  

And in the time it has taken my to write the above (quite a while, because I had a quick snooze, too) a new situation has reared its head, that our new contingent will have to adjust to as Argyle players. 

We are in a traffic jam.  

Actually, as it turns out, it is not too severe as hold-ups go, and we are soon rolling again, but they are all going to have to get used to sitting on coaches watching central reservations go by very, very slowly. 

People will read into results and performances on the pitch this week, but that is really not the story with this trip. The players get to know one being in each other's pocket for a week, but it certainly promotes bonding and being a unit. Plus, the management get to know the person behind their players that little bit more.  

Our lads have been faultless this week. I am proud of the fact that, whatever happens this season, whether dazzling success or otherwise, they are good men, good people, who will strive for the club - and for each other. 

The most wonderful time of the season is probably this bit. Everyone is full of hope. Every team is currently top of the league. Every team only 46 games from glory. Still in the cup. Unbeaten since May. 

I am enthused by return to fitness of Tayls; I love our competition for places at centre-back; I am interested that I cannot work out who Derek will pick at full-back; I enjoy that we have a clutch of talented young players that will come into their own in the next two or three years; I am full of joy that Graham Carey is having his fourth year in a green jersey. 

Right now, I want to go home. I want see my family, have a pint, sleep in my own bed, and have a proper shower. (We are looked after wonderfully here in Delden, but my shower has been rotten. Thank goodness is has not been HOTTER THAN THE EARTH'S CORE, eh?)

However, after I have gone home and seen my family and had a pint, and had a sleep, and had a shower or six, the wagons will be hitched again, and it is off to Walsall we go. 

Only seven more sleeps. Or maybe a dozen if you need to take a few naps. 

Dank je. 


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