Saturday July 17
A RELATIVELY early start at 9.30am as the squad prepared for the final friendly of the training camp against Trollhattan. Dominique Cuperly took the lads for a few sprinting routines but it was soon onto ball work and an 11-a-side match and all over in just over an hour.
A QUICK lunch and we left for Trollhattan at 12.15pm. It was another picturesque trip, this time north from our base at Kungsbacka through Gothenburg and just enough time to watch the first half of another film, The Hot Chick, starring Rob Schneider (from Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo). On the way back, we watched the first hour of Matchstick Men (Nick Cage).
LEE BARNARD'S injury overshadowed the match somewhat and he was rushed to hospital with a broken collar bone. He returned to applause as the full squad and staff enjoyed a lovely meal together at Peterniclas Restaurant in Kungsbacka's main square on return from the match. Thirty-odd footballers wandering down the street to dinner was certainly an eye-opener for the locals enjoying their night out at the local cafe on the corner of the square. Lee put on a brave face but was naturally disappointed and matters were made worse because, having been stretchered off straight away, he was desperate for a shower. He wanted it when we got back to the hotel that night but a combination of the club doctor and Chris Hughton convinced him it was a bad idea to disturb the injury further. The conversation went something like this...
Lee: "Can I take a shower."
Chris: "You're probably better of leaving it tonight Lee, to be honest, you don't want to aggravate it really."
Lee: "I know, but I came straight off the pitch."
Chris: "Who are you rooming with?"
Lee: "Dean Marney."
Chris: "Deano will be alright, he'll just have to put up with the smell for a night."
Lee: "Fair enough, I've had to put up with him all week..."
THE EVENING closed with some great action on the table-tennis table. It appears that our new goalkeeper Marton Fulop is king of the singles with Johnnie Jackson not too far behind. But Hans Segers wanted a piece of Marton and squared up against his young rival. And he had victory in his grasp, leading 17-10 at one point, before Marton hit back with 10 straight points. Hans recovered to 20-20 before Marton clinched it 24-22 and I can tell you, they don't like losing at anything, these professional footballers.
Sunday July 18
OUR FINAL day and the first rain of the training camp. We were greeted with steady rainfall in the morning after it had hammered down all night and the coaches decided to go indoors for the final training session, rather than use the pitch. Dominique Cuperly put the lads through their paces in the indoor training area attached to our training base, an excellent facility that didn't look unlike a hanger at an airport.
AND WE finish with a joke that backfired on first assistant coach Martin Jol. He has the same mobile phone as Chris Hughton and switched them as he and Chris sat with our press officer John Fennelly in Gothenburg airport's departure lounge. Our attention switched to the lads all sitting together behind us, laughing out loud thanks to a whoppee cushion and in doing so, Martin must have forgotton that he'd switched the phones. Anyway, we got back to Heathrow and Chris was in a bit of a pickle - he'd turned on his mobile phone and not only was it in Dutch, it was also asking for a pin number that he didn't know. Convinced it was his phone though - remember, they were absolutely identical - Chris keyed in a pin number he had used in Sweden, only to get it wrong three times and block the phone! He decided to call Orange for their help and they told him to pop open the back and read out the sim card number. To add further confusion, the sim card was Vodafone, when Chris was expecting Orange. What was going on? I suggested to Chris that the only thing I could think of was that he had someone else's phone. I had barely finished the sentence when Chris looked over to Martin who also had a confused look as he tried to fathom out 'his' mobile phone. The penny dropped, Martin remembered and owned up to the switch and then moaned 'that's one that backfired on me!'
From Paul Miles, now back in England...