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A LETTER FROM AMERICA - DAY THREE

5 July 2014

Brentford FC Player Liaison Manager Peter Gilham reports from pre-season training camp in Florida

Day Three - American Independence Day - and an early start as it was an opportunity for the players to be put through a stretching and loosening up programme, utilising what Sarasota has to offer.

For those who don't know, the city of Sarasota is located on the west coast of Florida and is made up of a series of keys. One such key, Lido Key, and specifically its beach was the location for the work out - some ten minutes by road from our hotel.

It was a fantastic way to start a Floridian morning, as whilst the heat of the day ahead was already evident you had the bonus of the sea breezes to nullify the humiditY.

For those who read my update yesterday and wondered why I was referring to the weather of a bygone era as It was reported I was talking of the 1930s. 

I would like to point out that it was an unrectified typo, of which I'm sure there will be more as I type these updates into my "trusty" iPad. 

It should of course have read that the temperature was in the 90s.

The stretching work out lasted around 45 minutes much to the interest of a few beachcombers and early morning joggers, and a conservation officer who was protecting an area of the beach where a large number of Snowy Plovers had decided to hatch their young. 

They are protected by state law and any violation such as harming their eggs or disturbing the birds is punishable by up to five years jail.

We all kept well clear!

It was then back to the hotel for breakfast before setting off for our regular sortee to the IMG complex. 

Each time there is a training slot at the IMG a number of the staff arrive some 30 minutes earlier to set everything up for when the players arrive. 

On arrival the players go through a period of prep in which they are kitted up with GPS monitors which measure their movement and heart rate levels which in turn provides the Conditioning team with excellent feedback.

Then it's out on to the pitch where, in this particular session the training was at Level Three, which is a mark of the level of intensity. 

Following each session out on the pitch the players enjoy an ice bath. 

Now I say "enjoy" as the opportunity to plunge into ice cold water after a training session in this unrelenting heat is somewhat more appealing to the players than an ice bath after a midweek match up north in January/February!

Then it's lunch at the Golf Club, back to the hotel and a brief period of relaxation for the players before snacks are provided at 4pm. 

Whilst the players "relax with their snax" they can watch a video of the work they have been putting in during training. The videos are expertly put together by our analysis team of Head of Department Neil McIlhargey and his assistant Luke Stopforth. 

It is their expert analysis of performance which is crucial to Mark Warburton and the coaching staff not only in pre season with our own players but maybe even more so during the season itself when analysing the opposition. They also provide detailed analysis of each squad members performance to the players individually which allows them to assess their own strengths and possible deficiencies.

The evening session back at the IMG was split between 45 minutes of Level Two football training out on the pitch and 45 minutes in the gym working specifically on the players' lower limbs. 

Now I have to be honest, a gym is not where you would normally find me, but WOW.

This was the Disneyworld of gyms. 

Even Conditioning Coach exclaimed that it was incredible (to paraphrase what he actually said) and far and away the best equipped gym he had ever had the pleasure of using. 

The players were put through a series of exercises on a plethora of apparatus (or is the plural apparati?) and it has to be said, throughout whatever pain they may have been experiencing, you could see how much they enjoyed it, although the air conditioning in part obviously played a part as opposed to the humidity (and increasingly ever present flies) outside. 

I also have to say that the admiration I already felt for the current squad of players at our disposal grew even more, considering the long day of strenuous and testing work in testing conditions they had endured. 

Yet their work ethic, general demeanour and eagerness to perform at the highest level was to be applauded.

It was then back to the hotel which took slightly longer than normal as the traffic was building up as people were jockeying for vantage points to watch the July 4th celebration fireworks. 

They were setting up chairs in parking lots, pavements, anywhere they could find room, to witness a 20 minute display that must have cost the earth. 

As it happened we had a perfect vantage point as the room we use to eat in and hold meetings, is alongside the hotel jetty. 

But hey, the highlight of our evening was now just minutes away - the Final of The Brentford FC X Factor. 

As the excitement amongst the audience soared I introduced the five "semi finalists" Andre, Moses, Matt, Richard and Marcos. 

I then re-emphasised the criteria for the competition which the Media Team had presupposed, understandably, would be based on the three most retweeted auditions. 

At the Players' X Factor Organising Committee behest the three contestants with the LEAST number of retweets would progress to the Final. 

Yes this audience really are gluttons for punishment!

I then asked for the sealed envelope which contained the votes which were as follows: Andre 103, Moses 46, Matt 60, Richard 16 and Marcos 112. 

Therefore the three finalists were Moses, Matt and Richard. 

The three of them then had to sing a group song together and they chose Boyz II Men - "End of the Road". 

Based on their potential singing careers, the title of the song could not have been more apt.

They then each had to sing a song from a film. 

The first up Matt chose "You've lost that lovin' feeling" from Topgun. 

Moses gave his rendition of "A thousand miles" from the film White Chicks, whilst last up Richard chose "Afternoon Delight" from Anchorman.

We now await the public's vote!

And so to bed!


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