Roy gets kit on!
English Barclays PremiershipPre-season is all about preparation for George Graham and his squad but for kit manager Roy Reyland it's the busiest time of year. The summer tour means a hectic, around the clock schedule for Reyland and his team. Thankfully, we have one of the best and most experienced kit men in the business to organise things - Reyland is approaching his 25th year at the club and his 13th as kit manager. Here's his behind-the-scenes insight at what the job is all about.
"The busiest time of any kit man's season is the two weeks prior to coming on tour and the actual week you are away because the amount of training you do, it's just continuous.
"The boys have to get fit and we're doing two sessions a day, so when you are on tour you don't really get a day off. Back in England you'd get a Sunday off and maybe a Wednesday afternoon. On tour, that's it. The workload is quite excessive.
"The quantity of equipment that we take is incredible. Out in Sweden, we had 21 players and five staff, the team trained twice a day plus the games, so the multitude of kit we take is quite excessive.
"You also have the medical team and their kit. People perhaps don't realise but for every training session the lads have to be strapped up, ankle strappings, knee strappings, whatever ailments they have we have to have the right stuff for them.
"We take 11 big aluminium containers, four small containers and nine big adidas holdalls absolutely jammed to the rafters with kit. You have to cater for all aspects because if the gaffer turns around and says 'Roy, I want a rain top or Roy, I want a thermal top' then it has to be on hand. You have to cover every possibility.
"On a typical day we'll train at 10am and then 4pm. I'll be up at the crack of dawn preparing for their training session and while the lads are training I'll go back to the hotel and collect the laundry from the local club that has laundered it for us from the previous night. I'll sort that out while they are training.
"I'll then go back to the training ground probably 20 minutes before they finish training and make sure everything is there and brought into the dressing rooms.
"We'll all travel back to the hotel, the lads will take off their kit and leave it outside the rooms to be collected. Then I'll take that back to the club to be laundered overnight ready to be brought back to England clean. Obviously you if leave it in skips, the longer it smells.
"It's a busy job and a hectic job and the most important thing is to be organised. If you are organised and work two or three steps ahead. It's a bit like playing snooker - you plan your next shot before you take the first one.
"There is no substitute for experience and I consider myself as having that experience. You just make sure that everything is done in advance so you are not chasing yourself around on a matchday. You should only have to take care of minor problems that might pop up, change of studs, minimal things. Providing you are organised, you stand half a chance.