Day four of our trip to South Korea and the boys step up preparations for our Peace Cup date with Boca Juniors...
Another steamy day in this vibrant, bustling region of South Korea - it must be half-time in the rainy season at the moment! It saw to it that the lads got a good sweat on in a high-intensity training session in the morning back at the Seong Nam Stadium.
Spare a thought for our long-serving kit manager Roy Reyland (pictured with his appointed assistant Brandon). The turnover of training kit must be unprecedented for 'Roysie', who clocks up 30 years at the club in April.
Such experience sees to it that he is never caught out whatever the circumstances. He does recall a post-season trip to Hong Kong, China and Singapore, but explained tours at the other end of the close-season bring about far greater demands.
"The difference with the Hong Kong one was that it was an end-of-season tour and wasn't so pressurised," he reasoned. "Coming here it is an actual pre-season build-up with an intensity in training and matches that obviously mean that much more.
"It's massive really, with the amount of players we have training in the humidity you seem to be changing kits every five minutes. The amount of kit you have to bring for training alone is phenomenal."
Roy must be grateful he does not get billed for excess luggage as he transported 150 sets of training kit just for the players!
"You've got to assume that the lads are going to train a minimum of two and a maximum of three times a day. You've got to cover for every eventuality too, in that Martin might throw another session in somewhere along the line.
"It's going really, really well. There is a hell of a lot of kit being used, but the facilities provided for me have been spot on and I've got no complaints."
Roy is famed for his attention to detail in providing for the specific requirements of each player but, not surprisingly, none have so far requested a long-sleeved match shirt.
"To be fair, I didn't bring any with me!" added Roy...
It was the opening games of Peace Cup 2005 last night with holders PSV Eindhoven taking on IIlwha Seong Nam at the Seoul World Cup Stadium and coach Chris Hughton was impressed with what he saw. PSV ran out 2-1 winners while, in the other group game, Lyon drew 1-1 with Colombian side Once Caldas in what was said to be a physical game in which reported Chelsea target Michael Essien was red-carded.
"I was impressed with both teams," reported Chris. "For a first game in pre-season it had a good tempo and what helped was PSV scoring very early on through Cocu with a good left footed strike into the corner of the net. So the game started on a good note.
"The fact that a South Korean team was playing in the opening game ensured a very big crowd in a fabulous stadium. Both teams played the game in a very good spirit."
Elsewhere, staff, officials and players not set to start against Boca, attended a gala dinner to raise money for Stardard Chartered's designated charity 'Seeing is Believing'.
A total of $50,000 was raised on the night through an auction which included items such as four return flights to London and tickets to watch Spurs-Liverpool in September from an executive box and five signed shirts.
Martin Jol made a speech on the subject of teamwork which was well received by the 500 guests in attendance, after which he introduced the players on the stage.
From Richard Hubbard in Seoul
Pictures by Simon Mooney