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Training ground banter bodes well for Annan

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Chris Jardine | 16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

It's been a right good few years since I can remember a team spirit as good as it is at Annan Athletic right now.

The carry on and banter between the lads at training is tremendous and if we continue like this it can only bode well for the rest of the season.

Everyone is involved; apart from Ian Harty because he's got his taxi to drive while the boys are sweating it out down the Everholm. Although I'm led to believe the wee man was in good form while enjoying a few celebratory beers on the journey back from Arbroath on Saturday.

It's just small, silly things we've introduced at training that has brought everyone together.

The players have to be at the club for 6.45pm and be ready to start training at 7.00pm but the carry on was such last Thursday that we were delayed by half an hour. I could see the manager setting out his training exercises and looking at his watch, but he never said anything as he was laughing at us.

longjump595.jpgWe start with a small game of possession and there is a forfeit for the worst partnership, in terms of how many passes are made in the circle before they win the ball. We have obvious rules like the passes are doubled for a nutmeg and if there is anything dubious it goes to a vote - needless to say the two players in the middle never win.

Bryan Gilfillan was taking a bit of stick when he moaned about a decision and we voted him in the middle; he started waving his finger in the air with his hand on his hips like someone off the Jerry Springer Show. I've got every confidence in the lads that one will stick.

We've had various forfeits like star jumps while shouting "I'm a star" and a sprint and back to a certain point (obviously on the way back the rest of the group move back to make the run further). But my personal favourite has been the head first dive in to the long jump pit.

Some of the boys have been a bit cagey with their dive and pulled their heads away at the last minute but not the skipper, Kevin Neilson. He was one of the first to try it, and he's done it a few times since I'll add, and he literally jumped head first in to the pit with his hands behind his back. I don't think he was able to train after that with light concussion.

It may not seem much but these little things have made a difference and if we can get a good team spirit in the dressing room it won't do our chances of success on the pitch any harm at all.

I think it was Richard Gough that said, "The team that drinks together, wins together". Well we haven't done much of that together but we've certainly been having a good time.

We had a reserve game on Monday against Raith Rovers and as we were walking off at half-time Iain Davidson politely told me that we had bust his coupon on Saturday!

Obviously I replied that I was delighted to hear that but I doubted very much if he had been the only one.

There won't have been many people that fancied us to pick up the three points at the weekend but we turned in a really good defensive performance and just as we had done the previous week, we scored two rapid goals that won us the match.

It was refreshing to read Paul Sheerins comments after the game as he was very honest and gracious in defeat. It's not often we get the credit we deserve when we win in this league.

I'll finish this week by trying to do justice to what was possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen happen after the game on Monday night.

I was travelling back in the car with Aaron Muirhead and Lewis Sloan with big Neilson driving. We were turning in to a local hotel to drop Aero and Sloany off so we pulled in to the filter lane and stopped as the traffic was passing.

It was quite heavy rain and the car was pretty steamed up so just as the traffic was passing Nelly put his window down as the car drove through a massive puddle and absolutely drenched him and his car.

I was just about to go a wee bit mental as I was a bit wet myself but I looked across at Nelly as he was trying to spit the dirty water from his mouth and wipe his face. The four of us were in absolute stitches for about five minutes not able to move.

Take that Nelly!


  • Comment number 1.

    As a Raith Rovers fan, I can hazard a guess at just how "polite" Iain Davidson was! Reminds me of the time I had a 10 match accumulator on the SPL and EPL. I had 9 out of 10 and was waiting for the Chelsea v Sunderland game to finish. Obviously, I had Chelsea down to win, but it finished 1-1. Gutted! Would have paid off my mortgage AND had enough for a new car, all from a fiver stake. That was a few years ago and I'm still bitter!

  • Comment number 2.

    Good signing for Annan with Ian Harty, he'll get a few goals this season, that is if he doesn't do what he did at Forfar and walk out because he got benched.

  • Comment number 3.

    Glen Haig - there might have been a couple of bleeps required during our conversation!

    JoseQuitongo - that's wee Harty off and running for the season so fingers crossed there are a few more to come. If he keeps playing the way he is just now I can't see there being any problems.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hopefully his goals helps Annan to promotion, I'd like to see you guys in the same Division as Forfar because your fans are nice people and I've never been to Galabank and want to cross it off my checklist..


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