Peter Vincenti writes our first blog...
Welcome to what I’m sure will be another season filled with plenty of twists, turns, ups and downs... pretty much what happens every season. That's football!
As the anticipation for the new season builds, and as we look forward to this coming Saturday, I've been asked by Leighanne our Media Officer at the club, to produce the first blog for the upcoming season.
I'm not sure if I was sought out by Leighanne, or whether or not it was the fact I was the only player in the corridor at the club when she walked in. I said yes, mind you I could have been saying yes to anything as I'm still trying to get a grasp on the northern accent having relocated from the south.
I lived in Liverpool for 3 years at university and have relatives from Manchester and Leeds and even now I struggle. Recently, while in Tenerife, I was having a conversation with one of my new work colleagues. Well, I use the word conversation, but for 25 out of the 30 minutes I couldn't understand a word being said. I won't name them, not in my first blog anyway, but I'm sure everybody must have been in the same position as me at some time or another when you can't understand someone, so to begin with you simply say, 'sorry, what was that?’ After they've repeated what they've said and you still can't understand, my excuse was, 'sorry mate, I can't hear you?’ After the third time of repeating themselves, still none the wiser to what they said and wanting to be polite and not ask them again, I simply gave a smile and said 'Yes'. Thankfully they carried on, which prompted me at every pause in the conversation to reply with a variation of 'Yes' or 'Yea' at different tones with different smiles. If I am asked to do another blog I'll name who it was!
In today’s ever developing world of technology, and with the increasing use of social media, things such as blogs have become the norm. I do believe it's important for organisations to realise the demand for social media through such mediums as twitter and adapt with the times. This is something Rochdale are looking to do, and do well, and as Leighanne explained to me, blogs from players is one way of connecting with the fans. This brought about my reluctance to write the first blog because as I explained to Leighanne, I didn't want to be the author of the first and possibly last blog before a ball had even been kicked! So if you have a spare 10 minutes to read the rambling thoughts of a lad from Jersey and enjoy it then great, if not then it was intended for bed time reading anyway…
With this being the first blog, I thought I’d look back on pre-season and forward to the new season ahead.
So, let's start with pre-season, which for me was the first at a new club for a number of years. After relaxing over the summer you always look forward to getting back into it and as it gets closer, the excitement builds. There’s also the apprehension of going to a new a place of work and meeting a new bunch of players - there's always going to be apprehension going into a new job in any line of work, but in a football dressing room it is a pretty open environment and the 'banter' between players, whether new signings or not, gets thrown around very soon. It’s fast paced and you tend to feel relaxed pretty quickly, or at least I did. The lads at Rochdale are a great bunch and welcomed the new signings from the first day.
The pre-season trip to Tenerife certainly helped; the training facilities were excellent. You usually tend to find that you have groups of players who drive in to training together in car schools if they live close to one another, therefore it can usually take a week or two to get to know some of the other lads. Going away on a pre-season trip so early and staying in a hotel where you're all together speeds it up and helps the camaraderie amongst the players.
Gone are the days of pre-season where all you do is run. Like advances in technology, as mentioned above, there has also been huge advances in sports science over the years. At the end of each season player's weights, body fats etc are all taken and players are given training regimes to complete during the off season meaning we returned for pre-season in a relatively good condition. Because of this there were a lot of sessions geared towards how the Gaffer wants us to play this season, and I think it's a season the fans can look forward to.
The pre-season games all proved to be beneficial and all produced positive displays, and results against various levels of opposition. The first three games all produced wins and a number of goals against Northwich Victoria, Halifax Town and Stalybridge Celtic. This was followed by our first home friendly against Blackburn, a team looking for promotion from the Championship. Whilst it was disappointing to concede so late, I think the performance showed what this group of players is capable off. I was also pleased to score my first goal for the club and hopefully I will be able to repeat that once the competitive games start. The Rovers match was followed by another tricky game against lower league opposition, but a very professional display brought about a 3-0 win against Macclesfield, while our penultimate pre-season game, and last at home, saw us go a goal behind for the first time against a strong Preston North End outfit. Whilst we were a little disappointed with the first half display we at least came out in the second half and scored the equaliser which shows there is character in the squad. The final pre season game brought another victory at Winsford, leading us to Saturday.
And so with the new season just around the corner, the atmosphere around the club has changed as everyone, be it the Directors, groundsmen, ticket office team, players, management, and of course our supporters, prepare for kick off on Saturday. It's difficult to describe and put into words the change that happens as the first game of a new season approaches. Without trying to sound too much like a cliche there's a real positive attitude around the club as everyone looks forward to Saturday. You can use any word you can think of in preparation for the first game, but when Saturday comes there really is a buzz that goes with the first game of a new campaign. For me it's the anticipation of a new football season.
I'm sure you as fans are feeling all the emotions and looking forward to a new season as much as the players are. This is what Saturday's are all about. I feel I should sign off with some inspiration and so I'll quote Tommy Lasorda, a former major league baseball player who said: "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination." We as players will be determined going into each game to try and win three points, and we’ll give our best to try and do that.
Thank you in advance for your support for the season ahead, it really does make a difference on the pitch!
See you Saturday