Training pitch

Argyle in Spain | Day Three Blog

Wednesday. The second day out in Marbella and we’re properly into the swing of things now. 

It has been another tough day for the players, who were put through one of the hardest looking drills I have ever seen. 

They were split into four teams of four players, two played a short match while the others did shuttle runs. After a minute, they swap and so on. A constant rotation of high intensity work - it’s exhausting just watching.

It must have triggered something in me because later that day, after my work for the morning was done, I decided to go for a run – not a good idea.

After a very slow 5k, I return to the hotel; hot, bothered and incredibly sweaty. I see Nick Fulton, our lead physiotherapist, near the lift back to the rooms - and he clearly realises my pain.

“What on earth have you just done?” A valid question. “Running at the hottest part of the day son, not a great choice.” 

Yeah, I should have thought this through a little better.

After a shower, cool down and a quick check through my emails, I get ready for the afternoon session.

This one is slightly less intense than the one in the morning, more focussed on shape and patterns of play.

I spot Nick sitting on one of the benches at the side, and wonder over to join him.

“Cooled down at all, pal?” I hadn’t.

We sat and we chatted for a while, about injuries, players, the training amongst other things. It was great. I know Nick, of course, but I had never really spent a huge amount of time with him as we both live busy lives when at work.

That is one of the best things about this trip, getting to know people better. Spending quality time with them and finding out about what makes them tick.

The players have spoken about how being away for a period of time allows them to understand each other better and allow the new members of the squad to integrate, but for me it’s the same thing.

I’d like to think that I have a decent relationship with the gaffer and Neil Dewsnip. Two people from the football staff that I would probably talk to the most. 

I spend pretty much every working hour within a couple of metres of Charlie Rose and speak to him more often than I do my partner.

But for some of the others, people like Ellen Shine [Player Liaison Officer and Assistant Club Secretary], Sam Morcom [Performance Analyst] and Abner Bruzzichessi [Sport Therapist] this week has allowed me to get to know them.

In the evening, after dinner and a meeting led by Neil Dewsnip, the staff head to the bar for a quick drink.

I’m sat next to Sam, who like me, is on his first pre-season tour. Sam has been at the club for three years but has been a fan for a long time since then.

He was a mascot for a game against Dagenham and Redbridge in 2010. “I think it was a record for the lowest league attendance at Home Park,” he says with a smile, “but we won.” 

We carry on chatting, trying to name the players who played in that side and what it was like to walk out with his idols.

“I was a ball boy as well for about three years, at the Devonport End.” Another mic drop statement from Sam.

A prime example of what these trips are for. I have known Sam for a year, worked with him, sat in the same office, but knew none of this.

Stories of people who work at the club, who love the club and have the best interests of it close to their heart, is what makes Plymouth Argyle special.

After we swapped stories of games we’ve watched, away trips we’ve been on, we finish our drinks and head to our rooms.

Nick wonders back over to me, taps me on the shoulder and asks, “Fancy a run in the morning?”

I look back at him, and with a smile politely decline. 

Even if it is a bit cooler in the mornings, there is no way I am trying that again.

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