Another year, another pre-season and yes, another pre-season training camp for our beloved Bees.
It has been my absolute pleasure, indeed privilege, to have reported back from the training camps in Norway, Germany and the USA over the past few years by way of a blog. So no change this year … except that I will be reporting direct from base here in dear “Old Blighty”. The reason you may ask? Well, it's not that a man of three score years and ten isn't capable of travelling (far from it), and indeed reporting back. However as is synonymous with men of my advanced years, PC has reared its ugly head (and I don`t mean political correctness or indeed the local constable) and to help me combat it, I have enlisted a lovely hardworking team of people who know how to go about it. So, daily visits to see them means that I can't be in two places at once.
Both you and I though, also have a lovely hardworking team of people, who will be updating me on a regular basis from France, regarding the general schedule of training etc plus of course the quirky and unscheduled things that may crop up, and generally make the blog just that bit more interesting.
This year's training camp is located at a resort in the spa town of Divonne Les Bains which is literally on the France/Switzerland border, just edging into the former. It's dwarfed by the Jura Mountains, and is in close proximity to Lac Leman, or better known to you and me as Lake Geneva. It is about 13 miles from Geneva.
The only rather dubious looking fact that I can source linking Divonne Les Bains and Brentford, is that Julius Caesar plundered his way through both areas within four years of each other between 58BC and 54BC. Neither have really been plundered since (apart from a few marauding away fans over the years).
The full squad, with only Judgie missing, enabling him to continue his rehab following his end of season op, together with the back-up staff, flew out on Saturday lunchtime to Geneva. In the main the players themselves have now been back for two weeks, with the exception of those who were representing their home nations during the close season break, who returned this past week. Doesn't it show you just how far we have come that we have a number of players who fall within that bracket, and given the quality we have in the squad, that number will surely increase.
The training since the players returned on Monday of last week, has been intense, particularly so given the temperatures we've experienced. But the manner in which to a man they have put themselves through the paces, is a credit to the coaching staff and probably as importantly to the players themselves
The party touched down in Switzerland late this afternoon and made the short transfer to neighbouring France where they will remain for the ensuing seven nights before returning to Switzerland next Saturday afternoon for their match against Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport.
Tomorrow will see the party out on the training pitch for both a morning and a late afternoon session, interspersed with gym work before ending the day, early evening, in the pool.
I'm looking forward to bringing you a daily update on what's happening, including the eagerly anticipated evening's `entertainment` provided by “Give Us A Song” which will feature those making their first appearance (of which there are four) at an away venue with The Bees (although Dan Bentley's rendition last year of Peter Andre's “Mysterious Girl” will take some beating).
I'm excited, and I wont even be there!!