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My Day At Training with Pompey by StooH Aged 36 11/12ths


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Thought i'd give a brief write up of my day yesterday. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that i'd won a competition to go and visit Pompey at their pre-season training camp. The prize was one of those "money can't buy" type things. There was no real value to it but all about the experience.


The prize was:

  • Meet the players
  • Have lunch with them
  • Sit in on prematch team talk
  • Tickets to match

Monday night I got an email from the guy organising it saying Andy Awford (Pompey manager) had said if I could get there by 10.30 I was welcome to come and watch the training session. Hmm, let me think about that for a moment...


So I set off at 7.45 the following morning and got to Five Lakes near Colchester, got taken to the training pitch and introduced to Andy Awford, Alan McLoughlin (scored the goal that took Eire to the 94 world cup finals), Paul Hardyman and the rest of the back room staff who explained what it was they were going to go through and the reasons behind it. Then got to watch a closed training session that the press had been banned from where they went through a number of drills for the match that evening, very, very interesting to watch.


After that Awford came over and had a chat with us and said to meet for lunch at 1 and come and sit on the management table. So went and had lunch with them all and heard loads of stories from back when they were players, and bits and pieces from the back room staff who were around in the premier league years. At the end of it Awford said "Dinners at 4.15 if you want to come and sit with us again you're more than welcome". Bonus meal, woo hoo! He sat there going over the team and tactics.


Then at 5 got to go in to the briefing room where he went through the team, gave a rousing speech, explained the importance of togetherness and no sniping and back biting in the squad. The other coaches chipped in with tactics and bits they'd worked on with specific players.


Then Awford came over and apologised they couldn't fit us on the team coach to the match, were we ok to make our own way? (Which I was planning on anyway) but nice that he thought about it.


Then got to watch the match and see what they'd worked on during the day, very interesting seeing specific things they'd worked on with players and watch them try to follow out the orders.


One little extra bonus I was sitting just in front of the Home/Away officials box and Paul Parker (Ex Man Utd and England) right back was sitting there so said hello to him at half time and had my picture taken with him by the Thurrock press officer, just waiting for them to send me a copy of it.


It was an AMAZING experience, I felt like a school kid again. I was also very impressed with the organisation and planning behind the scenes, a few of the players I spoke to said how different it was to other places they'd been. It looks like we're really trying to bring a much higher level of training and planning to things than the average league 2 team. I look forward to us reaping the rewards this season!


Me with Awfs and Macca :)



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It was pointed out to me after I met him that I should have had a word as he'd cost us a place in the League Cup semi finals in 94 when he hacked down Paul Walsh in the box, then moments later hand balled it.


In return I pointed out that Alan Knight (Our keeper in that match) was sitting about 6 feet away and he was bigger and hadn't had a word yet...


Absolutely great day though  :grin:

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