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A LETTER FROM AMERICA - DAY TWO

4 July 2014

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

After a night of erratic sleep for yours truly, it was a bright start to the day as we made our way down for breakfast. 

It was a blue sky outside with a fair bit of cloud and already the temperature was in the 90s. 

It would certainly be a testing first training session at the IMG Sports complex some twenty minutes down the road from Sarasota in Bradenton.

Having cleared the security at IMG we were faced by an impressive array of sports pitches, which catered for football (our brand of the game), football (the American version of the game), baseball and tennis to name just a few.  

In fact the IMG is the training home of Sarasota resident Maria Sharapova and when she's in residence, security is impenetrable. 

I didn't hear any loud grunting from nearby so assume she was still in SW19.

The pitch we are using for our main training session was the same pitch used by Costa Rica on route to the World Cup. 

The training over the course of the next eight/nine days is set at different levels so as not to expect too much physically from the players, too soon. 

But more about that later.

There were two sessions at the IMG on this the first full days training sandwiching lunch at the IMG' s Golf Club just a few minutes from the main complex. 

The set up was superb and the view from the dining room, to use an overused word in this part of the world, was awesome.

The late afternoon session, which started at about 6pm, after the main heat of the day, included some gym work which is all part of the excellent training and warm up work well supervised by the hard working conditioning team, led by a Bees newcomer - Head of Conditioning Matt Springham - who is ably assisted by James Purdue and Tom Perryman.

The afternoon heat is intense and allied to the high humidity causes sporadic thunderstorms late afternoon and early evening. 

Such a thunderstorm struck mid session and unlike back in England when you get an inkling that a few spots of rain would suggest that you get the washing in before the downpour, here there is no such warning. 

One moment some of the coaching staff and yours truly were watching the players being put through their paces, and literally a split second later had it not been for the swiftness of movement (that is the others not me) to the welcoming marquee situated just a couple of yards away we would have looked liked drowned rats. 

Yet the players who were training about 40 yards away saw us and assumed that a hosepipe of similar had just gone off, as the same downpour didn't reach them until a couple of seconds later.

Once back to the hotel it was time for dinner and the first night of The Bees X Factor featuring Andre Grey, Moses Odubajo, Matt Springham, Richard Clark and Marcos Tebar. 

As readers of previous pre season blogs will be aware, newcomers have to go through the dreaded ritual of singing a song for the attendant gathering. 

Generally it's a dreaded ritual, not for the newcomer, but for those who have to listen to them.

However this time round the rules had been changed and the process would be held over the course of a few nights - aren't we lucky!!

I was asked to take the part of Ant and Dec to present it, so I did as Ant and Dec rolled up into one big fat lump. 

Having introduced the five lucky contestants, they were then invited individually to take to the chair, tell us who they were and a little bit about themselves, then sing a song of their own choice. Unfortunately, as is becoming more and more the case, four out of the five didn't know a sufficient amount of words from their own repertoire without using the services of a mobile. 

Be that as it may, they came up individually and "sung" (and I use the word in the loosest terms) the following platters: Andre - "Here's comes the hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze; Moses - "Juicy" by Biggy Smalls; Matt - "Stan" by Eminem; Richard - "Stay with me" by Sam Smith and Marcos - "Otherside" by Red Hot Chilli Peppers. 

It was in fairness, and all honesty, as good as the real X Factor - you know the one when they have all those people in the first audition show and you think to yourselves, why am I watching this!

Tomorrow I will tell you more about The Bees X Factor and the controversy surrounding the competition rules.


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