(Academy Operations Manager) reports back from the U18 pre-season tour in Lanzarote and gives us an insight into the week with the U18 players and staff...Anthony Redwood
Day 5 - Sunday 22nd July 2012
"After a demanding 90 minutes last night, the players went for a recovery session in the sea to get rid of stiffness and soreness from the match. Kane Owen swears that he was stung by a jellyfish on his little toe, although whether or not this is true is debatable. It still didn't stop his trusted friendJosh Yorwerth from offering a remedy which Kane gladly accepted (If anyone has seen THAT episode of friends then you know what I'm talking about).
"All used the afternoon to relax by the pool and an audience gathered to watch Kane Owen and myself establish ourselves as head tennis superstars (a record score of 171 between us will be difficult to beat).I'd put myself in the world elite when it comes to head tennis and I enjoyed teaching Kane the three golden rules - 'Knees, Neck, Washing Line'. Simple.
"Late afternoon we gathered in the meeting room to take part in David Gough's general knowledge quiz, an experience the staff would rather forget having come a distant last! The highlight was the round where one person from each team had to blow the biggest balloon without it bursting. We won't talk about the 'dance off' round, or any of the others for that matter. I'm sure the whole thing was fixed.
"The boys have enjoyed the attention from the Community and the other residents at the hotel. Some have chosen to embrace it, whilst others have chosen to shy away and keep themselves to themselves. Either way, their attitude towards it has been impeccable and it's testament to their upbringing (at home and in our environment) that they continue to conduct themselves as professionals.
"We have visited the Puerto Del Carmen Stadium on a daily basis this week and watched many different age groups train. Neal Ardley and Lee Kendall have both helped deliver sessions that have made a lasting impression on the players, staff and parents at Puerto Del Carmen FC. Their hospitality has been magnificent this week and it's always good to know we can give something back in way of our expertise. Having watched our staff this week, it always strikes me that we are blessed with many individuals who are excellent at what they do. Sometimes it can be easy for some to take this for granted, but I never do.
"Meanwhile, David Gough has brought a unique dressing style to the tour. When I say unique, I'm just being kind and avoiding the word 'awful'. Honestly, it's almost as if someone has dared him to do it. Tonight he looked like he had walked into someone else's wardrobe, picked items at random and then got dressed... in the dark.
"Congratulations to Lee Kendall and his partner Tina who have just found out that they are to expect an addition to the family in the next 6 months. We may even let him have a beer tomorrow to celebrate."
Day 6 - Monday 23rd July 2012
"Another glorious day started with the players going for a stroll down to the town and the beach, led by Neil Lewisand David Gough.
"Both Neal Ardley and I attended a small press conference at a neighbouring town this morning, along with Lee Kendall, Macauley Southam and Dave 'Trigger' Richards. Although it was a low-key event, the local press attended and Neal spoke very well about how grateful we are for the courtesy and hospitality that has been shown towards us. We told both Macauley and Trigger that they had to say a paragraph each in Spanish and left them to worry for a few minutes!! Fair play, both were prepared to do it, although I can't imagine what it would be like if they actually had. I struggle to understand Trigger's English!
"Following the Puerto Del Carmen match between their U16s and U18s, our players trained in the early evening for about an hour. Tomorrow will effectively be our last day and I know the coaches are planning two really intense sessions before we return home.
"It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile trip, with many of the lads not wanting to go home! When I signed the new apprentices four weeks ago I stressed to them how important this week would be in terms of attitude and building character. We have already been given an insight into each of the player's personalities. I have said it before but their conduct this week has been second to none; they have been a real credit to the Club, their parents and themselves."