Leighanne Ball, the club's media officer, brings you the lowdown on the final day in Tenerife...
Well, there you have it! Another pre-season at the T3 completed.
Today (Thursday) was our final day in La Caleta but there was still time for one last session before our departure at 4pm.
After completing a competitive 90 minutes last night, the final session of the week saw the players led through a warm down by Kev. This involved pool work, stretches and bit of spinning.
As the players headed back to the hotel, it was time for the staff to sort out the equipment and get it packed away for the flight. Bibs, balls, cones and water bottles were amongst the items flown out with us and they all had to be packed away neatly ready for the off.
After checking out of our rooms, we had a few hours to kill before the coach was due to take us to the airport so the players mooched around the hotel. Many opted to watch the tennis, which was being shown on the big screen in the communal lounge.
The week had caught up with me by this point and I was ready for some shut eye. I was conscious of nodding off in case a rogue photo of me catching flies ended up on social media, so I did my best impression of Churchill the dog instead.
All the bags were packed, the lads were all where they should be at the designated time and the bus had arrived with plenty of time spare, so we bid farewell for another year.
Checking in at Tenerife airport again provided lots of laughs. Joe Raff was signing his own song… duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh Joey Rafferty. Joe and Ollie Rathbone should consider auditioning for the next X Factor as a duo… think of Ed Sheerin and Stormzy and there you have it. Ollie was on the melody, while Raff provided the odd rap line as the signing rendition continued during our wait for the check-in desk to open. They kept me entertained.
Walking through the airport, I felt an unbelievable sense of pride as I spotted groups of our lads in their stirking blue training kit. I thought to myself, these are our boys and they’ve represented the club impeccably during this trip. They have been real credit to us all.
Plenty has been achieved during our week long stay at the T3 in terms of fitness, tactics and relationship building, and other than injuries to Joe Bunney (knee) and Brendan Moore (foot), sustained during the first couple of days, everyone else has come through unscathed.
But the Gaffer, as always, wants more. He is still striving for more and will demand further improvement from the players before the start of the season. He wants us to have a real impact on the league, so the players will continue to work hard on our return to Rochdale in preparation for the new campaign.
In addition, the trip has provided a great experience for the Academy players who have come away with the first team for the first time - Keith and Louis, and in particular, 15-year-old Daniel Adshead. I’ve had to remind myself a few times this week about just how young he is, because he has fitted in superbly well with the players and has responded well to the demands that have been put on him. He’s a great kid with a bright future.
On the way home, the plane was very, very quiet. We’d all been up since 6 o’clock-ish and I think the day had taken its toll on us. I had intended writing the majority of this diary but I couldn’t keep my eyes open and slept like a log against the window for the majority of the flight. After collecting our baggage when we arrived back at Manchester Airport at midnight, we were met by the pouring rain, much to the excitement of Josh Lillis who was delighted to see the wet stuff after a week in the blazing sunshine. I wasn’t so happy though when I ran through a puddle on the way to the car. I was wearing sandals.
All roads now lead to the pre-season games as we hurtle towards the opening game season on August 5th, and I must admit that I’m very excited that football is back – the week in Tenerife has most definitely got me in the mood.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the trip and I am very grateful to the Board of Directors and the Gaffer for giving me the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the week-long training camp again. I hope I have been able to offer you, the fans, some insight into the week, and I hope you enjoyed the content as much as I enjoyed writing it/ snapping photos/ and filming it.
Onwards now to AFC Fylde on Saturday… Bring on the 2017-18 campaign!