Young City supporter Euan Ray recently visited Cardiff City's Vale Pavilion training complex. In the days following, he sent us this expertly written account of his experience, giving an insight into a day in the life of the Bluebirds.
THE DAY I MET MALKY - Euan Ray
"We pulled into the car park at the Vale of Glamorgan Resort and got our autograph books and camera ready. Jamie, the man who was to show us around, said he'd meet us in the foyer. We walked through some massive front doors to see some stairs and two doors - one labelled Cardiff Blues and one Cardiff City FC. We were only there a few seconds when - oh my gosh! - Earnie walked past! Wow! Jamie walked down the stairs and said 'Laura?' (my mum). She replied 'Jamie?' Our adventure started!
"As we walked upstairs thoughts ran through my mind. Who would be there? - Whittingham? Bellamy? We arrived in a small waiting area with Sky Sports on the television. There were three doors - one saying Players and Staff - you could hear all the players having their breakfast. We were so close! Another of the doors led to Malky's office.
"We sat down and waited with a lady called Amy. She was new and her job was to interview players and staff for Cardiff City Player. Then Jamie said, 'Come on guys you can wait in here for a bit!' Oh my gosh! - he pointed to the Players and Staff door! We followed him in and it turned into a game of spot the players! We saw Whittingham, Earnie, Gunnarsson, Marshall, Etien and Kim Bo-Kyung!! Wow all here - and lots of other players from the under 21 team! We were star-struck!
"Then Jamie said, 'There's an interview going on with the manager you can come and sit in on it!' We followed him through the door which we had only looked at a few minutes ago. On the way Jamie picked up a camera to film it for the website. Inside we met the man himself! He said, 'Welcome.' in a strong Scottish accent! We shook hands with him and he gave us two DVDs and another present for me and my sister Caitlin. Jamie pointed to one of the sofas where me, my mum and Caitlin would sit. Amy sat next to Malky and asked him questions about the team.
"After the camera stopped rolling Malky went training with the players. A few minutes later we followed them downstairs and watched them. We got some pictures with Etien and McNaughton when they came out of the changing room. They went off quickly to do their training. We watched for a few minutes and then went back upstairs where Jamie gave us a tour of the facility.
"First off we went to the physiotherapy room where we met Sean the physiotherapist. He talked to us about physio and then showed us the anti gravity treadmill. Because I had trainers on he said I could have a go. What it does is it takes the weight off your legs so you can run even if you're injured. I had to put on these weird tight trousers which had a zip at the waist which connected to a kind of bubble on the treadmill. The idea is your legs go in to the bubble and they pump air in so your legs feel weightless. When I started to run it was weird because I couldn't feel any weight in my legs so I guess the machine did its job.
"Soon after that we were shown around the rest of the building which was mostly scouting offices and the canteen again. At the end of the morning we waited back at reception for the players to come up after training. Then we met all of the players as they walked up. I got autographs and we all got pictures.
"Then it was time to go home. We walked through the huge double doors through which we had entered and said goodbye to Jamie. It was the end of a fantastic day in the Cardiff City training ground! Thanks to everyone for a great morning."