I had set my alarm for 4am but was awake before this as I was buzzing and raring to go (the buzzing and the raring wares off later). I had a shower and packed the toiletries and went to say goodbye to Mrs G, who I might add had not got up to make my full English bless her. Mrs G in a state of semi unconsciousness did acknowledge my departure and to be fair did offer to get up to say goodbye but I wouldn’t do that to her.
I was flying off to AK’s to leave my car at his house as he had already arranged parking at the airport. On my flight up the motorway I was surprised to be passed by a group of players, who will remain nameless but they know who they are, now I wasn’t hanging about but neither was Wing Commander Nameless.
I got to Andrews and we had a leisurely drive over the top to the airpark and arrived at Leeds/Bradford just as the first mini bus from the club was arriving. The Gaffer, Beechy and Tony were just arriving in the Gaffer’s cart as Jack had overlooked the space required for all the people, their bags and the extra bags and there wasn’t enough room for everyone on the mini buses. I thought the Gaffer took that well or the bruises on Jack’s body are just not visible.
Check in is usually a worrying time for me and I didn’t have the benefit of Flickers’ charm to help me today. Thankfully the charm offensive wasn’t needed as we had a very fast and efficient check in at the Jet 2 desks and I would thank Jason and his staff for their great service. Before long our group was camped out in the coffee shop waiting for our gate number to be displayed on the boards.
The main group of 30 were sat in the middle of the plane and the extras that I had booked (which were the Gaffer, the Chairman, AK, Beechy, Jack and myself) were scattered around towards the back of the plane. I was sat next to a couple from Yorkshire, no surprise there and they were on their way for a week’s holiday and were very pleasant company when I was awake.
I find it quite difficult to sleep on a plane but I have to tell you I gave it a damn good go. First I tried with my right elbow on the arm of the seat and the chin pouched in the palm of my hand, then I tried resting my chin on both hands with my elbows on the tray table and this worked until my left elbow slipped off and I sat up pretending that I wasn’t really asleep, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers. I was most successful with the arms in front and the head back but I probably looked like a nodding dog at times.
As you know I am “careful” with our money and our economy seats with insufficient leg room were not the best for the taller members of our group, poor Steve, Lois, Joe and Rhys. Joe spent more time stood up than he did sat down and even then he had to duck so that he didn’t bang his head.
Beechy worried me a bit during the flight. I thought he was looking forward to his new role as assistant manager but he spent a lot of the journey stood up and I think he has designs on being a “trolley dollie” as he was never very far away from one. The flight was four and a half hours long but it seemed longer, in between dozing I listen to some Coldplay, had a snack and read a little bit of the book that I started on holiday last week.
The landing was smooth and our bags were soon through, we just had one problem… our new squad members, the mannequins, had gone missing and this was a most distressing time for Jack and the rest of the staff. After a while Jack managed to locate them in the overweight/size department and all was well.
I collected my hire car and had my usual argument with them when they told me to bring it back empty. I told them it won’t go when it’s empty as I think this is a big “rip-off” when they charge you a premium price for a full tank of fuel and then say bring it back empty. Anyway, just to be bloody minded I’m going to circle the airport car park when I go back and then I’m going to seek the assistance of our new back four and I’m going to run out of fuels and get the lads to push me in to my parking space, that’ll teach em.
The journey past Los Cristianos to La Caleta was only about 20 minutes from the airport and I followed Obbo to our hotel the Jardin Caleta. It wasn’t long afterwards that a very tired group of players and staff arrived on the coach and we got them all checked in and up to their rooms so that they could relax.
My check in was a little eventful, the receptionist apologised to me and said I would have to make my own bed, I was a little tired at that point and just said that’s fine, she then gave me some wood and a hammer and some nails. She then apologised and said there were no towels in my room and if I washed my hands I would have to hang them out of the window to dry them to which I replied by saying I would stay clear of a shower. Sorry about those two but in the last seven years I haven’t used those jokes and that’s because they are much older than that.
I went to my room and carefully unpacked my clothes, I wouldn’t want to undo all that hard work put in by Mrs G at the ironing board and then her careful packing. I was keen to get my wifi kick of the day and Obbo had organised this for me. I was ok getting on the internet but struggled to access my computer at work on the remote network and this was and still is a bit frustrating. At one point I got on and did some work but then it kicked me off and didn’t even have the decency to save a draft for me. If this continues I can see a Dell Laptop flying off the third floor of this hotel.
At 4.30pm the Gaffer wanted to take all our equipment up to the training ground and he also wanted to do a recce of the facilities. Obbo and I packed all the bags in to the car while the rest of the staff walked up to the training ground. Obbo told us the training ground was a 10 minute walk from the hotel (it’s quicker in the car) and to be fair it probably is about 10 minutes but it’s up another b****y hill. You may all recall that b****y hill from the training ground to the hotel in La Cala, which was an absolute killer after training. This one is probably not as steep and it’s uphill to get there, i.e. before training, which means it’s downhill on the way back but it is longer than the La Cala hill and I fear it could take its toll on the players before the Gaffer gets his hands on them. Ah well rather them than me.
The facilities at the Tenerife Sports Center are fantastic. The pitch is like velvet, there is a 4G pitch next to the grass pitch. It has a separate work out area, again like velvet. There is a 50m and 25m pool, an inside and an outside gymnasium and all the facilities are very modern, Hilly, sorry the Gaffer was very impressed and is looking forward to getting the players on the pitch with a ball.
During our visit to the training centre, Beechy staked a claim for the most outrageous t-shirt with his pink number, if his swimming shorts are from the same designer he will win the most outrageous swimming shorts competition with ease. It was also during this visit that I noticed Tony and Steve standing side by side and to me they just looked like brothers and therefore I have christened them the Gell Brother, Tony is GB1 and Steve is GB2, the numbering is an age thing.
From the training ground it was off to the Supermercado for some supplies. I have some cooking equipment in my room, kettle, toaster etc, so I thought I would treat myself to some Nescafe Classic then I can have a black one while I’m typing, I also got some low cal Flora biscuits and some Coke Zero to keep me going.
My next hour and a half was spent getting kicked off my remote computer and starting the diary but thankfully 7pm and dinner came and this saved the laptop from an early launch from my balcony. Dinner is in the main restaurant with the other guests although we have separate tables on one side of the restaurant to ourselves. The food is very good on first inspection with plenty of variety to satisfy all tastes.
After dinner I went back to my room with renewed patience and started to type the Prelude and the Diary, I’ve done ok so far as I’ve just been typing on the laptop, the fun will come when I try to email it back to the club, which I am going to try right now. Its 11pm and it has been a long day, see you tomorrow.