Monday July 12
THE alarm went off at 6.30am. Yes, that's right, 6.30am. Suddenly the words 'training camp' hit home as the players took off for a 7am run through woods near to our base here close to Gothenburg. The woods backed onto what you might describe as a 'normal' Swedish neighbourhood and the looks on the faces of the residents as they stepped out to pick up their milk or collect the post was one of bewilderment. To be fair though, how would you react if you peeled back your curtains and 30-plus players from Tottenham Hotspur FC were going through their paces on your doorstep?
IT WAS back for breakfast at 8.30am but the hard work soon continued with a lengthy training session that started at 10.30am. After a few laps, coach Dominique Cuperly overlooked a circuits-style session consisting of eight bases with the lads jumping, stretching, throwing and sprinting while, at the other end of the pitch, Hans Segers put the goalkeepers through their paces - all under the watchful eye of Jacques Santini.
LUNCH was taken at 1pm and time for a rest for the players. A table-tennis table has provided brief respite from training and, as at 9pm tonight, Johnnie Jackson is still claiming to be unbeaten. Proving almost as tasty on his backhand as with his left foot, Jacko beat me 11-7 in the afternoon, although it took time for me to get used to the conditions and the fact that the bats we're using are actually pretty good, rather than the bats you normally come across, with no rubber left on and half-eaten, wooden heads (if that's the correct term). If I had one of those beaten-up bats, it would have been closer.
THE day's third and final training session followed at 5pm and it was time for ball work. Various drills were set up including one with a number of short passes, a cross and finish. The lads looked sharp, not least the goalkeepers, as Jacques watched from behind the goal, as did a few more fans from the sidelines. Word must be getting through that Spurs are here as numbers are rising by the session. The curtain came down on this particular session at about 7pm and it was back to the hotel for dinner at 8pm, a little more table-tennis and, as luck would have it, Kasey Keller wandering into the lounge as a couple of us watched a baseball match on television. As Kasey fielded some of my stupid questions - Why didn't he hit it? Do they let it go on purpose? Do you only get points for a home run? What do those scores relate to? - and explained the basics, we watched the end of St Louis Cardinals against Chicago Cubs and then it was time for bed. It's training and our first match of the training camp on Tuesday...
From Paul Miles in Sweden