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Marbella: Day One

Pre-season on Spain’s Andalusian coast begins in earnest for the Shakers and, after arriving at the hotel at around 1:30 in the morning, day one is, obviously, something of a light day.

9 July 2017

  • Video Features from Day One

    • iFollow – Ryan Lowe – click here
    • iFollow – Lee Clark – click here
    • Facebook – The Pitch at the resort – click here
    • Facebook Live – Swimming Pool Session – click here
    • Facebook Live – Training Session – click here
    • Facebook Live – Training Session – click here
    • Facebook Live – Training Session – click here
  • Photo Album – Click here to see day one photos on our official Facebook Page

After successfully navigating our way through baggage drop-off at Manchester Airport which, with all the kit needed for a professional football team involved a huge collection of bags, boxes and not forgetting all the medical kit, went with militaryesque precision. Security was a bit of a nightmare though due to all the kit needed to cover the trip for the website and social media. A vast array of camera’s, video cameras, battery chargers, phone chargers, laptops, cables and tripods were duly placed into six trays to be scanned. The OCD in me (Gordon) had a nightmare getting it all back in the carry-on baggage as neatly as it had been arranged before arriving at the Airport. 

The journey to Spain was fairly straightforward. An uneventful flight from Manchester ended with probably one of the hardest landings I’ve ever witnessed which saw the plane touch down at Malaga Airport at midnight.

Baggage collection was something of an event as most of the club’s kit and personal baggage seemed to be one of the first through. Kit man Craig Rawson and Video Analyst Jimmy Dickinson herded together around six or seven trollies for said luggage. 

The brunt of the banter was aimed at me (Gordon) for the very lurid suitcase (bag) the wife had packed. I didn’t pack it, as I was too busy covering the Sunderland game, but the PURPLE (not Pink!) bag was one of the first out – leaving me to wander off and wait for the rest.

Once the kit and baggage had been claimed, it was then down to Brassy who, as trip organiser knew the way to the coach although it has to be said he must have gone to the Mark Thatcher School of Navigation as Brassy led everyone - Chairman, manager, coaching staff and all the players - through, round, up and down the airport, before we eventually found the bus and began the journey to the hotel. 

The footballer’s “Welcome to Bury” initiation ceremony got off to a flyer on the coach on the way to the hotel.  New boy Jay O’Shea volunteered to go first and ‘get it out of the way’ and came up with a stunning rendition of “Galway Girl” to which Alan Thompson chirped up “That’s not the Ed Sheeran version!”

A journey along roads with more twists and turns than a Dan Brown novel saw the coach venture up hill and down dale before the hotel suddenly reared up out of the darkness before us and what a place it is. It is blessed with every facility you could wish for. After settling in and, with most of the group still wide awake, the coaching staff assembled for a meeting to discuss forthcoming events. 

The hotel is that good, that Jim Henry, our new strength and conditioning coach suddenly popped up on the clubs “WhatsApp” group and simply said “Premiership Facilities Lads”. Phil Edwards, in his own, unique, way responded almost immediately by saying:  “Jim our sleep is important and u keep wakin’ me up!

So, at 1:37 am - we are an hour in front of the UK - the lads are in and settled, the coaching staff are discussing plans for Sunday although the schedule does say Breakfast at ten and I’m sat on the balcony of my hotel room beginning to write up the first blog of the week.

After a few hours sleep and breakfast and a good tour of the complex this morning to see what’s what and what we could use whilst here in Spain. The answer was simple – everything. The Spa, the swimming pools, the gym – the works! The hotel is a Golf and Country Club and the facilities are absolutely outstanding – as Jim Henry said on arrival – it’s Premiership quality, perhaps better. 

A trip to the training ground was next. Although only a stone’s throw, it’s down the steepest hill possible, so Ryan Lowe – who is now the club's designated driver whilst here – took the Chairman, gaffer and coaching staff down to see the pitch and, again, it’s outstanding.  Ryan Lowe did manage to upset everyone in the mini bus by stating “there’s a lot of weight on this bus, it might struggle with the hill going back up!”

The Chairman then pulled something out of the blue, when we arrived back in the hotel, swapping rooms with me (Gordon) who now has the suite to himself.  I wonder if he did it officially, with reception, as I would hate the mini bar tab going to the wrong person!

The lads are now into the schedule and the first sessions are in the pool at 1 pm which will, hopefully, present us with some good photo opportunities and the chance to get the Bury FC Beach Towel in use - Yes, I did bring it!

The pool session went well and was made more enjoyable by several holidaymakers joining the session.  New physio Paul Smith took the opportunity to get some valuable work into Danny Mayor and Nathan Cameron once the session was finished, with both players continuing their rehab in the pool whilst wearing weighted belts for extra effect.

Physio, Tom Walsh also took the opportunity to work on Ryan Lowe’s ankle whilst the lads were in the pool. Lowey had rolled the ankle in training last week, hence his non-appearance in the Sunderland game.

A late lunchtime came and went and the gaffer took the chance to speak to the lads as a group and stressed that the week is all about fitness and, with plenty of sessions planned on the training ground, he expects results from everyone that has travelled. This is going to be no holiday in the sun!

With the lads given the afternoon to themselves, some spent hours sunbathing to improve their tans (Joe Skarz), some slept and most made use of the outstanding golfing facilities around the complex.  Reports coming back in later spoke of Joe Murphy being quite sharp with a driver in his hand.

6 pm duly arrived and the lads took to the training ground.  Alan Thompson and Chris Brass took separate groups for several drills, whilst Tony Caig (Caigy) took charge of Joe Murphy and trialist Kyle Lefferan.  Rowe Lowe assisted in both sessions before taking all midfielders for a finishing session.

With the session over and many litres of sweat left on the training ground, Sports Scientist insisted the lads drank often and continually monitored their hydration levels.

Dinner was again delivered with outstanding food and plenty of laughs as more of the new arrivals got their songs out of the way.  Stephen Dawson led the way, before Joe Skarz and Callum Reilly got their initiation out of the way.

It’s an early start tomorrow with the first training session starting at six pm, so the lads are already tucked up in bed, recovering as they sleep, knowing that it all starts again in the morning.

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