Tomorrow (Monday) Danny(Scoop) Edwards and I depart St Michelsgestel. We leave a much different youth team than the one that we encountered a week ago.
• A week ago they had not gelled as a team.
• A week ago they had not gelled as a squad.
• A week ago they had not experienced foreign coaching techniques.
• A week ago they had not played European opposition.
• A week ago they had not won a game in Europe.
Now they have achieved all of this and there are still 6 days to go! What can our lads achieve by next Saturday. A further coaching session is planned with Dutch coaches. Two further games are scheduled against Brabant Utd (a combined Den Bosch\RKC Waalwijk team) and FC Twente.
This has been a momentous journey for Rochdale Academy and I have watched the character of these players change and develop in a few days they have learned to work together socialise together.
I will be sad to leave Japhet (Grover) Mata, Rapheal (Stretch) Chea, Callum (The Beast) Scorah, Harry (t’Hell) Pratt, Matt (Ferris) Gillam and all the other lads who we haven’t quite managed to tag yet.
As for the staff, it has been a huge privilege and pleasure working with them in Holland and I hope my gentle chiding in these blogs has given you a measure of them. They work and play hard with the utmost professionalism yet are able to laugh at each other’s foibles and idiosyncrasies with no malice or grudge.
Today the whole squad did Rochdale proud with their behaviour in Amsterdam culminating in the magnificent Amsterdam Arena for the Cruyff Shield. The stadium was brilliant but we reckon that Paul Swarbrick and his team given the support, time, encouragement and around £300,000,000 could do a better job at Spotland. What is life without ambition?
So as I leave Holland what targets have the staff set for themselves? Well, Danny (Scoop) Edwards is aiming to get a job. As a student he hasn’t eaten so well in years and is panicking about his food bill when he returns home. Callum (Tin Tin) Roberts has done so well as Milk Monitor he is hoping to be promoted to pencils and rulers when we get home. Adam (Squiffy) Brown hopes to stop being sick in elevators and his brother Chris (Lofty) Brown aims to be tying his own shoelaces by Friday. Captain Rick Ashcroft simply wishes that this week can be the start of something special.
As for me, my ambition is to get to Eindhoven in time for my plane on time as my wife hasn’t had a meal cooked for her in a week and has been living on Doritos and humous.
Vaarwel voor nu mijn vrienden.