Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The meter's always running

Burridge's second pre-season training session takes place tonight........

Kristian Hewitt called me earlier in the week to see if I was going pre-season training on Wednesday evening. He was on holiday in Wales during the first session, which I had also missed due to a touch of tendinitis in the feet and calves, which has led me to decide on taking a further two week's leave. Hewitt was slightly apprehensive about the prospect of running laps around the playing fields of Burridge. He knew it would be a long hard slog. Not just on Wednesday night, but for every week until the season begins in September. 

Kristian Hewitt in action for Burridge, Sept 2010.
Training absentees are still able to contribute to the club. The penalty for missing a session, irrespective of the reasons why, is a fine of fifty pence, payable in cash to manager, Paul Dyke. As an accountant by profession, Dyke is extremely adept at keeping accurate records on who has outstanding fines to pay. Not that Dyke is mean. All the money goes towards the liquid refreshments at our end of season night-out. When taking escalating alcohol prices into consideration, the money is well spent.

Gordon Strachan said he was surprised at the poor level of fitness of the Southampton squad, when he took over as manager in 2001. This wasn't only an indictment on the previous regime of Stuart Gray, but also of the players themselves. Not that simply being able to run all day is necessarily an asset in itself to playing the game, but as Strachan said, the idea behind fitness is to allow players to perform their skills for a longer period of time, whether that be water carrying, decision making, or the seemingly simple task of passing the ball to another player's feet from a distance of five yards. None of which are a straight forward skill to execute if you are tired. Even in the Southampton Football League, a good level of fitness can often be the difference between an indifferent season and a good one. Naturally, there were one or two grumbles in the Burridge camp when Dyke kicked off his tenure as first team manager in the summer of 2010, with two-hour long weekly sessions of interval training; but, when assessing last season there's no doubting the value of the long hours spent on the training ground. There were come backs from two goals down on three separate occasions, most notably against eventual champions - Netley Central Reserves, and a last minute winning goal away to Forest Town, in a cracking game down by Fawley Power Station. 

The Football Association's Full Time website has published the details for the 2011/12 Southampton Football League season. Click here for full details. Casting an eye over the teams whets the appetite further for the coming season. Alongside Burridge in the forthcoming season's senior division are many of the usual suspects, like Southampton BTC, Durley and Netley Central Reserves, who despite winning the double last season remain in the senior division, because the Southampton Premier League don't allow reserve teams to compete in it. (Although, rather tellingly, Netley's starting eleven has been vastly different in each of the past five seasons we have played against them.) The reward for the hard work in training will come in the form of seven pre-season fixtures that Dyke has booked through August.

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NB Any blog text in blue is a hyperlink, which you can click on to be taken to a relevant link elsewhere. For example, those who wanted to get a better idea of how Kristian Hewitt strikes a ball can click on the blue text his name apears in. PS For those of you who've been away on summer holidays during the off season, my thoughts on Diego Maradona's recent  footballing appearance in the Russian region of Chechnya, appear on the website of Britain's finest football magazine, When Saturday Comes. To read it click here.

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Looking back (bringing back the blog)

I haven't posted here since 2012 – that’s five years of not blogging. The blog is/was about Burridge AFC, the football team I played f...