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Back to the grindstone

Chris Jardine | 11:58 UK time, Wednesday, 3 June 2009

"In two weeks' time you will have just finished your first training session. Get some running done so that you are prepared for it."

That was the message from Harry Cairney that brought me right back down to earth after spending the weekend in a beer garden baking in the Dumfries sun.

The thought is a truly horrible one.

I would be very surprised if any footballer actually looks forward to pre-season training, and I'm no different.

The gaffer usually reads my column, but I hope he skips it this week.

I usually keep myself ticking over through the close season, but I'll be honest and say that I've been for one run - and that was only a few days after the season finished.

That, combined with a crazy three nights in Magaluf and the weekend I've just had - and, well, it's probably fair to say that I'm not in the best of shape - but I'll get there.

I've got 12 days until we begin the torture and I'll be working my socks off until then.

I'm lucky in that I work in a gymnasium and I always do a bit now and again once I finish, or during quiet periods, but as of tonight I will be pounding the roads.

I suppose us Annan boys are lucky as well that we have had three weeks off already and still nearly two weeks to go - I just read this morning that Shunsuke Nakamura is in Japan preparing for three world cup qualifiers.

England have two qualifiers coming up as well after a long, hard season and it must be difficult for the players when everyone else is off on their holidays.

In saying that, they get paid fantastic money and I'm sure Gareth Barry's five-year contract worth £80,000 per week will ease his pain just a little.

I'd be interested to hear the views of Villa and City fans alike on a move that certainly took me by surprise.

All the talk seems to have been about Liverpool and more recently, Arsenal.

I'm sure the Villa fans will feel a bit disappointed that their best player has left them for a club who didn't even make the Europa League next season.

Manchester City certainly have great potential about them - almost £100m spent on six players tells you they have the financial muscle to buy almost anyone in the world.

But we all know that money doesn't guarantee success.

To be fair though, I take my hat off to City as they obviously did a great job in selling the club and their ambitions to the player.

It could be an interesting first trip back to Villa Park for Barry, but he has given them 12 years of great service and deserves the chance to make up his own mind as to what is best for his football career as well as his family.

Not that I think any club could get him right now, but if I could buy any player in the world I would have to go for Andres Iniesta from Barcelona.

The performance he gave in the Champions League Final was simply incredible.

I used to think it was Xavi that made them tick, but this guy really is an awesome footballer.

Does he ever give the ball away?

I've never seen Manchester United dominated like that before in terms of possession.

It's going to be some team that takes the Spanish and Champions League titles from their grasp next season.


  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Nice blog Chris. Keep up the good work.

    Mind you, what are you doing typing up this blog when you should be out running? Ha ha ha, get that tracksuit on. No rest for the wicked!

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    keep going!!
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 5.

    hey chris, you never responded to my question about second division boozing a couple of weeks ago... and here you're on the lash again... what do you reckon, isn't it about time for even second division players to start taking it easy?

  • Comment number 6.

    Chris I always take time to read your blog and on the most part enjoy the insight.

    Do you think Scottish Football would be in a better place if all the boozing that appears to go on in the lower levels (it seems that every one of your blogs mentions some beveridge related antics) was stopped?

    Surely its very easy for good young players who have been missed by the big teams to fall into joining in with the lads and possibly damaging their careers through not looking after themselves in the best way possible. Those who have grafted and been gifted enough to play football at a reasonable level (by that I mean the Scottish Leagues)should try and push on. Players like Robson, Hartley and even the legedary Zidane really upped their game in the latter part of their careers and it would be a shame if our culture helped to destroy talented individuals.

    Anyway good luck with pre season training. Its a killer at my level so for you lot I cannot imagine.

  • Comment number 7.

    that opening line sends shivers down my spine...

    and I bet 80% of footballers in Scotland get the same feeling when hearing it too.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Chris,

    I imagine some of you pals will be out running in the old bin liner under their T-shirt.

    What exactly will training at Annan Athletic be made up of and how many times a week will you be doing it?



  • Comment number 9.

    5 & 6 - firstly camp6bell I apologise for not replying to your message. I have looked back over the last couple of weeks and can't see your comment.
    I didn't realise I spoke about beverage antics as much but there you go. In all honesty I don't think that it is a problem at any level - as long as you do it at the right time. I think footballers now look after themselves a lot better nowadays and it is the same at our level.
    Of course we enjoy ourselves from time to time but we work hard all week (in our day jobs and in our football) and I think we are all entitled to a light refreshement now and again?

  • Comment number 10.

    8 - the bin liners under the t-shirt is something I've actually done myself!
    We will be training 3 times each week beginning on the 15th of June. 1 session on a Monday and Thursday and a double session on the Saturday. We will have 3 weeks hard work before our first friendly.
    As I have said previously, players look after themselves a lot better during the close season so the days of hard slog and feeling unwell are long gone. We will come back and be eased in gently. There will still be hard runs of 12, 20 and 30 minutes. There will also be a few swedish runs thrown in, which combines different exercises over a large area.
    The one the players dread the most usually takes place on the first or second Saturday afternoon. I'll leave it until after I've completed it before telling you all about it!


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