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The fine tuning of pre-season

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Paul Fletcher | 09:52 UK time, Wednesday, 1 July 2009

June turns into July and the sanctuary of the beach gives way to the toil of the training ground in the scorching summer sun as players return for pre-season.

As Steve Wilson pointed out in his recent blog there is a 24-hour window between the football seasons. The last campaign ended with Monday's final humiliation for the England Under-21 team and the new one started all over again with a Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.

But there are 38 days left until the Football League season starts on 7 August (most teams play their opening game on 8 August but the Middlesbrough v Sheffield United match has been switched to the Friday by Sky Sports) and I personally cannot wait for the new campaign to kick-off.

I thought last season was fantastic, with Burnley's promotion to the Premier League showing that anything is possible, and there were plenty of twists and turns elsewhere.

Rest assured there is also plenty of pre-season work currently going on behind the scenes at the BBC to make sure our coverage of the Football League will be in tip-top shape for the forthcoming campaign.

In addition to 10 live Championship games, starting with Newcastle's opening day trip to West Brom (which will be shown on BBC One), there will also be delayed highlights of every single game available to UK users on the website.

Our individual club pages are being redesigned to showcase the additional video content and there will be plenty of news, match reports and blogs to really bring the competition to life.

For footballers in the Championship, League One and League Two, the start of the new season probably seems a very long way off.

Take Bristol City. Their players report back today and will spend seven days working on their fitness in England before heading off for a pre-season training camp in Portugal.
The friendlies then come thick and fast until the season starts.Pre-season training has changed significantly over recent decades

A week in Portugal doesn't sound too bad but manager Gary Johnson insists it will be "gruelling".

He tells me: "Pre-season is very important. You have to make sure the players are mentally and physically ready when the season starts."

Johnson has his training programme mapped out more or less in its entirety, its content influenced both by scientific and technological advances as well as his own experience of what works and what doesn't. (Incidentally, if you run a football team you might be interested to hear the thoughts of Reading's Academy boss Eamon Dolan on how to plan a pre-season programme for your club.)

At least the enthusiasm for finding the steepest hill and forcing players up it until they are sick seems to have passed.

"I remember that well," Johnson told me. "I remember every pre-season when I was at Watford - and every pre-season I wanted to give the game up.

"There is a way to build up a players' fitness and if someone is throwing up at the top of the hill you have not done it right."

City did not make the play-offs last season and so the players have been 'off' for seven weeks. Well, that's not entirely true - every member of the squad was given a programme to follow during the close season, while voluntary sessions have been held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in recent weeks. I'm told a fair few players have attended.

"We can check what they have done," said Johnson. "All the results can be uploaded and seen on a computer."

Fitness readings can be compared with the previous summer, while progress through pre-season is constantly monitored. Heart and pulse rate monitors allow Johnson to understand how hard a player is working and whether certain tests and drills are working an individual to capacity.

Hydration and diet have also taken on added significance, which is partly why Johnson and many other managers choose to take their players on a pre-season trip.

"You know exactly what the squad are going to be eating and drinking as well as how they are going to sleep - and these are very important in the first weeks of pre-season," said the City boss.

There is also a 'fat club' at City. Players who return for pre-season overweight are the subject of ridicule from their colleagues and have to endure additional training before being allowed to join the rest of the squad.

Politically correct it is most definitely not, but in the banter-heavy world of professional football I can imagine how it would incentivise a player to return in good shape.Bristol City boss Gary Johnson says science and technology play a big part in pre-season

Johnson lays heavy stock on having the right atmosphere in his squad. He tries to vary the exercises and drills to ensure his players do not become bored.

In Portugal, they will face at least two sessions a day, although the manager is quick to spot the importance of leisure time.

"It is a good opportunity for new signings to integrate," he said. "A week-long training camp is as good as a couple of months of normal training in this regard."

When I talked to him, Johnson stressed the importance of trust and good man-management.

He told me he does not make use of all the advances in technology to try to catch his players out, like a school teacher with an errant pupil.

"We are here to help the players," he said. "At the end of the day, they might get into the first team. That means more appearance money or they could eventually get a good transfer. They have to make sacrifices, but it might benefit them in the long run."

Many players may need some convincing, but it will all make sense when the season starts on 7 August.


  • Comment number 1.

    When I used to play rugby (a while back now, and before my body became all mangled and twisted from being bashed about) I hated pre-season training, even at the lowly-level I played at. There was a very long, steep hill near the club that was known locally as Killer Hill. We had to run up it three times pre-season, every session, before the actual fitness work started. I still have nightmares about it now. And if we'd have had a Fat Club then I think everybody in the team would have been a member!!!

    Interesting read though, cheers.

  • Comment number 2.

    I used to despise pre-season conditioning work for my athletics because every Sunday we'd be up at a part of Cannock Chase which was filled with little running routes and many, many hills. I never used to look forward to those Sunday sessions but thankfully the small group I used to train with were a fantastic bunch of people and some great friends of mine now. We get each other through the sessions and without them I most definitely wouldn't have managed. You should never underestimate training with other determined people - it's the sole reason I stuck with it for 5 or so years.

  • Comment number 3.

    I find it quite interesting reading alot of this pre-season stuff recently, that many people are referring to the 'running up the steepest hill' theory as dated and perhaps old school.

    Just 6 weeks ago Wolfsburg won the Bundesliga for the first time under Felix Magath, who had a custom built running hill created at their training ground for this exact purpose. Magath attributed VFL's late season surge to their superior fitness levels, aided in no small part by his preseason schedule and his now famous hill.

    Using science to get players fit is all well and good, but perhaps the discipline and mental strength garnered from gruelling pre season schedules has a greater impact on performance.

  • Comment number 4.

    the Football league season actually starts on the 7th August, Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Utd match was moved to friday 8PM for sky sports coverage

  • Comment number 5.

    Jwm367t - thanks for that info - I have tweaked the copy.

    dcrulesok - I take the point about Wolfsburg, and it is a good one. What I would add is that I doubt his players were running up hills to clear off the weight they had gained in the summer months - the traditional reasons for trudging up and down, up and down. The balls didn't come out for quite some time back in the day. I fully expect Felix Magath used that method as part of a strategic programme, with the hill running done to improve a specific aspect of conditioning.

  • Comment number 6.

    My pre-season 'starts' next Thursday. I play Rugby League but have been training in the gym for the past 7 weeks to bulk up. I was 10 stone 5 when I started but have managed to hit 11 stone 2 now. My target was 11 stone so I am pretty happy with the progress.

    I must be one of very few people who look forward to pre-season, getting back to seeing your team mates on a more regular basis and the banter you miss in the off-season is unrivalled. Here's hoping I score a few more tries this season, I only got one last year but at least I didn't have to do the naked run!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Let's hope QPR spend some of the TV income on players becuase Ecclestone and Briatore certainly aren't!!!
    For all the billions they have between them, they're certaqinly not eager to get into the premierhship. As a life-long QPR fan I think the only reason there at Loftus Road is to bolster their ego's, espeacially if it's true that Briatore wants a say on the weekly team sheet! I know families who have been buying season tickets for years who have now cancelled their subscription due to the way the club is now being run. So, as I said, I hope the BBC income will go towards players and not un-used 'confernece' rooms!

  • Comment number 8.

    Our individual club pages are being redesigned to showcase the additional video content and there will be plenty of news, match reports and blogs to really bring the competition to life.
    No doubt with loads of mistakes.
    I have lost count of the number of times we have had an article about the Daggers with wrong information on it.
    It's about time the BBC started taking the lower leagues seriously instead of a bad copy and paste exercise from other sources.

  • Comment number 9.

    How many live games have the BBC got? And what time will the highlights show be on, will it clash with Match of the Day?

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm a coach at a step 5 semi pro club and our boys were back on 22nd June, did the first 2 nights last week without seeing a ball - but equally it was not over exerting. There was no hill running or cart pulling of years gone by (there were when I played!!) just stamina building. Some ball drills were introduced in the third session last week and then on monday there was some actuall football for the first time. We've got a mix of ball drills and football planned tonight and Friday - and then the two sessions next week (which build up to our first friendly) will be pattern of play, team structure etc. Probably leave set pieces until we've played one or two freindlies and have a better idea of our starting XI

  • Comment number 11.

    Dagger83 - I'm very sorry to hear that. I actually went to watch one of your fixtures last season and did a piece on the back of it.

    Hopefully you will be more impressed with what we do this season.

    gunner-zp - the BBC will show 10 live Championship games. There will also be loads and loads of highlights on the website. I'm pretty excited by what we are offering on the web and I'm pretty confident it will look great.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is the BBC going to do a hightlights show like they did with Match Of The dAy on BBC2 on sunday, or is that dead in the water.

  • Comment number 13.

    11. At 1:40pm on 01 Jul 2009, Paul Fletcher - BBC Sport wrote:
    Dagger83 - I'm very sorry to hear that. I actually went to watch one of your fixtures last season and did a piece on the back of it.

    Hopefully you will be more impressed with what we do this season
    I did read that blog, it was very well written; its not often we get a mention.

    Its the articles that annoy me. Match articles have players names wrong, we had a piece about Glen Southam moving to Hereford last week and said that he came from Rushden and Diamonds and there was also another article about our 3 players going to Brentford who described Saunders as a striker (presumably because he scored so many goals).

    I don't know who writes these but it's clear they have no knowledge of the situation. I hope now that the Beeb has a few more rights in the Football League that this will improve the reporting.

    I must also say, very good blog (sorry for the rant, pass it on to the editor of the League 2 football page :-))

  • Comment number 14.

    gavt1976 - There will be a highlights programme for the Football League coverage that will be broadcast over the weekend - full details will follow.

  • Comment number 15.

    Paul. A bit of a geeky question, but one I want to ask. Who is handling the actual filming of each individual Football League match for the highlights show? When it was on the ITV, each match would be filmed by the ITV Regions team and that footage would be shown on Sky as well.

    Problem was, that footage was often always awful. Jerky camera work, goals missed, cameras sited nowhere near their intended gantry (some were sited pitchside!) and altogether amateurish.

    Will the BBC be delegating the coverage to the BBC regions, and will it be of the quality we expect of the Beeb?

  • Comment number 16.

    RichMase - in all honesty I don't know the answer to this but I will try to find out and post an answer on this blog.

  • Comment number 17.

    Will the bbc now be putting more focus on leagues 1 and 2 aswell as the championship and prem as frankly up to now its been quite poor imo, there are many fans of football league clubs who i feel are neglected, will there be video content of matches from league 1 and 2?

  • Comment number 18.

    How much did the BBC pay for the rights to show these games? Will they be shown on national BBC or England only? Is there any hint of the BBC going to spend money showing Scottish football?

  • Comment number 19.

    Comment 17 - there will be highlights of all Football League games - League One and League two included.

    glashow1968 - I really don't know how much the rights cost.

  • Comment number 20.

    I can sympathise with Dagger on this one. As a Rugby League fan, we are often subjected to poor media attention because we are classed as a minority sport. I suppose the same attention is cast over the lower leagues which is a shame. The BBC are not the worst though, the papers are terrible for it. It is a shame they cannot give column inches to lower league football and Rugby League instead of telling us which shoes Paris Hilton is wearing or which member of girls aloud fell out of a taxi the previous night.

    For the BBC pundits who do take an interest, we readers do appreciate the efforts you put in.

  • Comment number 21.

    Cheers fletch, its supposed to Say "Bees" but for some reason it comes out as that gobbledegook

  • Comment number 22.

    RoversReturn - I appreciate what you are saying. Rest assured I am a huge RL fan and if you look over the pieces I have done over the 12 months there are a few league ones in there. In between writing these comments I'm editing Jon Wilkin's latest audio column and I have recently finished reading Kris Radlinski's autobiography and will be interviewing him soon for a piece about that.

    Post No. 21 - something has definitely gone a touch gobbledegook there.

  • Comment number 23.

    as a blades fan, i cant WAIT to see the 10 newcastle games to be on bbc this year! instant classics one and all!

  • Comment number 24.

    Fletch, will you have rights to a match on the last day of the season, at the same time as one on Sky? That would be great viewing.

  • Comment number 25.


    First of all great blog! Just reading about the steep hill running etc reminds me of my time in the Army and all the "conditioning" we did pretty much non-stop. My main point, or question i suppose is more accurate, is whether the Beeb are planning on utilizing the HD service to show the football next season? Obviously Sky do at present and i think that "the other terrestrial channel" offer the service to their freeview viewers (although no to those of us that pay the best part of £50 quid a month for Sky, but that's a different rant altogether) so is there any chance of watching MOTD, or the Championship games you mentioned in your blog, in HD over the next 12 months?

    Cheers mate.

  • Comment number 26.

    It's rare that I don't envy professional sportspeople for their jobs. Pre season, I feel very lucky to work in an office.

    Gary Johnson is a really top manager so I hope he does well again.

    What matters most, as always, is Southend United.

    Top article

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Paul, I read all your RL work and am glad I have RL-related stuff to read during these dreary working days. I've mentioned several times on 606 how great it is to see George Riley and yourself covering the sport. I hope you don't think it was a dig because it certainly wasn't, it was a generalisation of the media as a whole which I believe is rightfully placed. George, yourself and The Times online site are up great for our game, so thanks very much mate!

  • Comment number 28.

    Really looking forward to August 8th already (as long as our opponents, Stockport, survive that far), and delighted that I'll be watching live football on the BBC again.

    At first I was slightly concerned that your first 2 live games will involve Newcastle, but that opening day fixture is a no-brainer choice, and I expect that with just 10 matches to play with, you'll be looking to cover as many of the 24 teams as possible over the season.

    Do you think Football League goals will be elegible for Match of the Day Goal of the Month, in the same way FA Cup goals were when BBC had the rights? And do you think also that MotD might dip into some League footage if it's sufficiently notable?


  • Comment number 29.

    If you've only got 10 games how will they be spread out through the season? One game a month?

  • Comment number 30.

    Hello Mr Fletcher

    Do you know who is going to present the championship show i hope it is not Gabby Logan

    Also why has the sport editors blog not been updated in ages? will there be championship show blog on there soon?

  • Comment number 31.

    They should have

    Newcastle v Boro
    United v Wednesday
    Forest v Derby
    Leicester v Coventry
    Cardiff v Swansea
    Preston v Blackpool
    First day big game not involving the above
    Important game involving say West Brom or Reading
    Relegation scrap
    Last day big game

  • Comment number 32.

    Why not show live League 1 matches?
    The Championship is handed enough money as it is.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think the way the BBC cover the lower leagues is disgraceful.


  • Comment number 34.

  • Comment number 35.

    #32 - Because their contract only covers live Championship games.

    #33 - A bit harsh considering the season hasn't started yet and they
    didn't have the rights until now, why not wait and see?

  • Comment number 36.

    Paul, when the Football League right were won by the BBC, your fomer Boss Roger Mosey said that not one team would be on twice.
    So why have your lot gone back on that promise and put Newcastle on twice for?
    Thats not denying 21 clubs their chance to be on BBC, shame on you all.

  • Comment number 37.

    I hope the BBC will be showing a weekly highlights package, with all the goals from the League in the same way that ITV's 'Championship' did.

  • Comment number 38.

    #3 dcrulesok

    Assisted or resisted running will often be used by coaches and sports science to improve running speed or perhaps in an attempt to alter running biomechanics. Hill running is an example of resisted speed training as obviously it is harder to run up hill than on the flat. It is a way of building overload into a training programme aiming to improve speed.

    I would imagine Magath was using hill running with a specific component of fitness targeted (relating to speed) rather than the traditional or out-dated pre-season training schedules of hammering players until they are sick and voer worked.

    Do you have a link to a relevant article about Wolfsburg and their use of hill-running. Having studied sports science at Uni and having worked with some professional sports teams I would be interested in whatit says.

    Really hope you revisit this thread.

  • Comment number 39.

    It should be one game a month I imagine and hopefully a couple of months nailed down at a time, so that the interesting matches are shown.

    What would be truly brilliant, would be BBC getting similar rights to lower league games and possibly the Premiership - but I suppose there would have to be some legal work to make it all happen (since BBC/other free to view channels) couldn't possibly pay what the leagues demand.

    One can dream...

  • Comment number 40.

    Are these rights being shared by Sky? If not that's a lot less football league games on tv.

  • Comment number 41.

    enjoyable read, i like Johnson, proper English manager.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hya Fletch! Interesting read! This might explain why I don't play football :)
    I have a question, will the highlights you mention also be available to viewers outside the UK? Hope so, I have hardly any access to Championship football. Despite begin an Arsenal fan, I do love the passion and excitement of the second/third/fourth tier!

  • Comment number 43.

    I didn't play at a high level but I used to really enjoy pre-season traning. After the footy season finished I'd be playing tennis a lot over the summer, so kept fit. I used to enjoy getting the fitness levels up and then playing friendlies in places you don't visit during the regular season.

    All this changed when I got injured and affectively ended my career.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am glad BBC has rights over CC highlights as the ITV show was pretty poor. What annoyed me most was their focus on teams with recent premiership pasts - Southampton, Norwich, Charlton- not because they were struggling but because they had some sort of link with the Premiership - i.e past history. It was like they thought anything that whiffed of the Premiership smelled like roses and the rest was garbage. It reminded me of some sad old groupie hanging around an old 70s band like Status Quo.
    It really was sick making the way they ignored up and coming teams who were playing really good football such as Doncaster and teams with no 'history' like Plymouth. If Bristol City had not made an impact on the top half of the table 1st season and made the play-off final I believe we would have also been ignored. I think they completely misrepresented what was a very competitive and enjoyable league to watch by their constant focus on the 'famous'. Quotes describing players at the end of their carreers as 'bringing a bit of premiership class to the Championship' were common and focus on young up and coming players was non-existent unless they played for an ex-prem side. The whole thing smacked of ITV being desperate to have the premiership - and having missed out would try and extract as much Premiership from the CCC as they possibly could at the expense of balanced and accurate coverage.

  • Comment number 45.

    moulinred - I agree regarding ITV's focus on "fallen" teams. Everybody has been saying what a delight it was to watch Swansea play last year, yet the ITV highlights show very rarely featured them in anything more than the "just the goals" round-up.

  • Comment number 46.

    I play football at vets level and my team does no training at all. In fact, most of the players would not be included in the "fat" club as the word fat does not do justice to their ridiculous rotund physiques.
    If I had my way, the hill running would be a most welcome way to get some of these chain smoking beer bellies into shape to save my embarassment at haing to play with them.
    Also, I get married on Aug 08, how daft am I missing the start of the season!!
    ps I ran the london marathon this year so I feel I have earned the right to laugh at my fat waster team mates!!

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    lost another link: it's about fixtures

  • Comment number 49.

    I think everybody who has done pre-season for amateur sport has done hill training. I think every town has a killer/cardiac hill. I can guess exactly why Wolfsburg have installed a hill and I doubt it is to work on a specific area of fitness. It was probably the same reason we did it: for mental toughness and to garner team moral. There is nothing better to bring a bunch of men close than a bit of suffering. It's either that or a night on the tiles and that would be even more contraversial.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm really happy the BBC got the rights for highlights to the "lower leagues".

    ITV did a really BAD job and at times looked as if they just didn't care towards the end of their time with the tc package.

    I can remember the ITV highlights programme not even bothering to show goals from Leagues 1 & 2 on many weekend !!

  • Comment number 51.

    I would ban pre season training and make all players return the night before their first game and see how many have beer guts and reek of ale. It might level things up a bit!

  • Comment number 52.

    Let's hope QPR spend some of the TV income on players becuase Ecclestone and Briatore certainly aren't!!!
    For all the billions they have between them, they're certaqinly not eager to get into the premierhship.


    QPR is a business, most businesses wouldnt expect their owners to dig into their personal fortunes just to give them a cash injection unless there were severe problems. Briatore is trying to improve the club as a commercial entity, improving facilities and the fanbase to generate more income, this in turn will be used to finance the playing staff. It is how ALL clubs should be run.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good Blog Paul....although you comment about hills - a good run up a hill supported by a good montage song never hurt anybody look at Rocky!!!!

    Seriously, will the BBC coverage on the web just be for the UK? or can it be accessed overseas?????

  • Comment number 54.

    I think it is great that the BBC are showing Championship games, it's about time.

    When was this decided, seems to have come completely out of the blue.

    Somebody enlighten me!!

  • Comment number 55.

    Very informative Fletch, cheers.

    Forgive me if I appear to have my heads in the clouds a tad here but how did the BBC come across the rights to 10 Championship games? Is it of the same irk as how Setanta (R.I.P) took Premiership games away from Sky?

  • Comment number 56.

    I can help Fletch by answering some of the comments here.

    Hello everyone, my name is Lewis Wiltshire, and I am the Live Sports Editor for BBC Sport Interactive. This means I am responsible for all of the coverage of sport on this website, and our other platforms. I am responsible for the coverage of the Football League on this site, and have been involved in setting up what our coverage will be since we got the rights in 2007.

    RichMase (comment 15) - all geeky comments welcome! The BBC's coverage will be produced in association with an independent media company. I obviously wouldn't want to comment on ITV's coverage last season, but I am very confident that the company we are working with will enforce the strictest standards of quality. I am responsible only for the website, not the TV output, but I can answer that one, because the video shot will be used on the website too, in our highlights packages.

    Glasgow1968 (comment 18) - we do of course also have the SPL highlights on this site. We had those way before the Football League!

    MikeMartin (comment 24) - as Fletch says, the BBC will have 10 live Championship games next season. Four of them have been announced, and it has yet to be agreed what the remaining six will be, so we couldn't say yet whether one will be on the last day of the season, or not.

    Professor Techno (comment 30) - I do know who the presenter is likely to be, but the BBC is not in a position to announce it yet. Watch this space. As for the Sport Editors Blog, you're right to point out that it hasn't been updated in a while. Sorry. To be honest, we found that the entries were a little dry (Fletch and our star writers have much more interesting jobs than us management types who sit in meeting rooms and decide stuff that is quite dull to read about!) and we also found that our sister site, News Online, covered most of the issues for us in their Editors Blog, because we and they share a publishing system and most issues affect us both. There's always the actual content, which is clearly different for us and News, but I actually think this is better, for me to answer questions here for the people most interested in the subject. Interesting that you noted it had gone quiet though - is it worth reviving, do you think?

    Martinsmith100 (comment 37) - we will be, don't worry. There will be a TV highlights show, as Fletch has already said, and this very website will have highlights from every game in the Football League, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

    BellionWonderland (comment 40) - yes, Sky are the primary rights holder for the Football League. The BBC is the secondary rights holder. So Sky will have lots of games to show live.

    And a couple of people asked about whether the highlights on the website will be available for UK users only. Yes, this is the case. Contractually, we cannot show these clips outside the UK, so they are blocked in other countries. This is generally the case for virtually all of our video rights.

    Hope that helps - if I can answer any more, I'll try ...

    Best regards to all,


  • Comment number 57.

    Post 8 Dagger83 wrote - "It's about time the BBC started taking the lower leagues seriously instead of a bad copy and paste exercise from other sources."

    Dagger, well said! I support Port Vale and would struggle to count the number of times I've contacted the Beeb regarding errors as basic as player names.

  • Comment number 58.

    On the highlights show, will the BBC be showing every goal?
    The ITV show gradually got worse for L1 and L2, often only showing one or two goals from a 5 goal match.
    Also, the highlights that they filmed, for official websites and certain other media outlets, came with commentary by one person which was obviously tacked on afterwards, got names wrong, often sounded bored, etc. Will the BBC at least make an effort to make the overdub sound interested and get the facts right, or even be able to use the club's official commentary?
    I would also like to echo the sentiments above; please, no Gabby Logan. I would prefer someone who's actually got extensive experience of the lower leagues and knows what they're on about.
    Other than those questions, I always enjoy your blog, Paul.

  • Comment number 59.

    Two out of the first four games include Newcastle. Why? You're only showing 10 games a season, which means a max. of 20 out of 24 teams can be shown. Now that number is 19. Are you saying that Newcastle is more important than all of the other Championship clubs?

  • Comment number 60.

    Oh, and for the commentary on the highlights, are you going to use local BBC Radio commentary, or have a reporter?

  • Comment number 61.

    Lewis Wiltshire - BBC Sport thanks for the reply

    Yes i do think the Sport Editors Blog should be revived,the last blog on the Sport Editors Blog features comments from people wanting more updates we maybe in a minority but i thought they were definetly not "dry"

    Roger Moseys blogs were intresting but he has quit

  • Comment number 62.

    Pre season starts tonight for me! Preparing for vomitting around 9.30pm tonight! Come on Blackberry Jack FC!

  • Comment number 63.

    Im looking forward to it,cant wait for the bbc experience with the championship;its going to better ITV,undoubtedly

  • Comment number 64.

    This deal was announced shortly after the BBC and Sky lost the FA contract to ITV/Setanta a couple of years ago.

  • Comment number 65.

    In addition to 10 live Championship games, starting with Newcastle's opening day trip to West Brom (which will be shown on BBC One), there will also be delayed highlights of every single game available to UK users on the website.


    Sounds promising, but any chance we could get this extended to users located outside of the UK?

  • Comment number 66.


  • Comment number 67.

    Post 8 + Post 57.

    I wish to echo these sentiments. I support Leyton Orient and the number of times I have read articles or match reports with errors within it is countless! This should really be addressed, because, if nothing else, it just makes it look amateurish.

    I would do all Leyton Orient articles!!

    Again, Fletch, we realise this isn't your fault - but you must be able to get this point through to whom it concerns?

  • Comment number 68.

    I have always thought football was way behind other sports in their training methodology watching various clips of clubs and internationals training.

    Watching premiership football players perform static stretches as part of their warm up always filled me with further conviction that the trainers clearly have no idea what is going on. The worst thing though was watching a documentary on getting Michael Owen back to fitness after his first major injury...quite simply astounding how bad his physio was so stone age I though they were going to finish the session with some trepanation to remove evil spirits! If you want to see why Michael Owen is always injured you just need to see his training methods.

    It also surprises me how little appreciation there is for endurance in football, anyone who watched USA's performance against Spain and Brazil will hopefully not be so blind as to release the huge advantage of being fitter (and using it to work harder) than your opponent.

    There is amazing research on endurance and training methods, some of the best stuff coming from American football and Olympic athletes, where as football training seems to be a cross between Arnie's Pumping Iron and Stalone's Rocky. Perhaps that is why so many footballers sport mullets, its all down to the 80s training methods!

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Hello Lewis,

    Any news on whether the Sport Editors Blog will be revived? The latest comments on this blog suggest you are making a BIG mistake in getting rid of the Sport Editors Blog


  • Comment number 71.

    Fletch, I live in Scotland but am a Coventry City fan. Will the live games be on BBC Scotland (I suspect not) and, if not, will they be live on the website?

  • Comment number 72.

    Hill running and cart pulling of old are not as stupid as a lot of people seem to making out. They both work the muscles of a persons core. This is basically the area of the stomach known as the 6 pack, the hips, the rear and the lower back. The point of it is, that with a healthy strong core, anyone can run swim bike or jump, faster better and longer.
    All those guys berrating the hills should be running them every day.


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