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Behind The Scenes at Bradford City Fc Arriving at the training ground around 9.30 on the outskirts of Bradford the car park was awash with Mercedes abandoned where ever a space was found. I was greeted by Mark Harrison, the clubs Media Officer and Football Administrator. Bradford City occupy a side section of Woodhouse Grove School the local public school on the outskirts of Bradford, I was led in the entrance with boots scattered all over and up the stairs into the manager’s office where I was greeted by Steve Parkin, Lee Butler and Nick Allamby the man credited with last year success, keeping the players going through such a long season. Nick was organising the heart rate monitors to correspond with the player’s numbers so they wouldn’t get confused, Steve Parkin was preparing for his session with the squad later that morning and goal keeping coach Lee Butler was making the teas. The walls were full of memorable pictures from last years unbelievable season, a nostalgic moment for any City fan making memories of the two trips to Wembley flood back. Up another set of stairs was the player’s area where Gary Jones and Nathan Doyle were in the middle of an intense game of pool. In the same room was an improvised kitchen with toaster and kettle with a big table in the middle. On the menu was peanut butter on toast with Stephen Darby and Garry Thompson getting in early for breakfast so they could get in the gym for a stretch before training. Players should be no later than 10am into the training ground and are expected to eat breakfast before 10.20. Being late

Players boots left in the doorway Training kit prepared by Graham Duckworth Training kit ready for the players /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// THE BANTAMS 2013/2014 33


Peanut butter on toast for breakfast

Davies and Meredith in with the Physio

to training risks a £25 fine, Kyle Bennett arrived casually with a minute to spare and an even more relaxed Aaron McLean arrived after the 10 deadlines. Unsurprisingly injury prone Davies was in with Head physio Matt Barrass who was stretching him out before he went out to the pitch. Matt Barrass said it was vital Davies did this before he goes out due to his recent problems, if he didn’t do it the chances of the injury re occurring are huge and not something the club can risk. Nick Allamby takes the players first thing informing them to be ready at 10.30 with heart rate monitors on, back in the office Nick Allamby was organising the heart rate monitors for the players to put on before they went out to training so he can keep track of how far they run and their heart rates throughout the session. The players head to corridor to pick up their out door gear which is neatly hung and folded by kit man Graham Duckworth. Walking down to the pitch as a group again the players were set a time limit with the stragglers receiving fines again. The play-

ers gathered in small groups on the pitch laughing and joking before the session started. Nick started his session at 10.40 with a slow jog around the pitch, meanwhile injured players such as James Hanson, James Meredith and Rafa Di Vita were inside receiving treatment and doing pool sessions. After a few more running drills and stretching. Nick handed over to Steve Parkin who would run the session he was planning earlier that morning. With Steve the players play small-sided games including a lot of passing and movement. These sorts of drills improve player’s skill with the ball and keep their eye in, so when it comes to game day they are ready. The games were high intensity with regular breaks, working on player’s fitness aswell as technical ability. After Parkins session the lads split up again moving into group with other players who play in the same position as them. The strikers go with Phil Parkinson to work on some shooting drills, the midfielders work alone on some passing drills, defenders work with Parkin on headed clearances and the goalkeeper’s work with goal keeping coach Lee Butler.

Allamby sorting the heart rate belts

Assistant manager Steve Parkin planning his session

Allamby writing the plan of action Jones and Doyle have a winner takes all game of pool ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 34 THE BANTAMS 2013/2014 www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk 35


The squad picking up their waterproofs

Davies and Darby talk football after breakfast

After the session the lads are under strict instruction to have something to eat, on the menu that day was Thai Green Curry, which smelt so good I personally couldn’t say no to. All player are expected to eat the food provided as part of their regime, if they don’t they will have Nick Allamby to answer too. The menu changes everyday but still always provides a healthy nutritional meal. At lunch the lads catch up with each other and have a gossip like any other workplace staff room, they share jokes about day-today life, play pool and read the paper. Fan mail is read and items sent in by fans are signed so they can be sent back out. No phones are allowed to be out in the facility and if caught fines are handed out, sitting there unaware of the rule I was happily sat scrolling through Facebook. When Nick told me to put my phone away, to which I replied with a smirk and a nod thinking he was joking. He wasn’t… The players’ lead a very controlled life, always been told what to do and where to be. Signs on the walls tell them who need

to go speak to the press others where they need to be and when. Another reads ‘When playing away everyone must attend evening meals, no one can leave the table until everyone is finished and the management say so’. Speaking to Phil I am lead to believe this isn’t because they want to be dictators it is because it helps the team gel together and work as a unit, which is very important in football.

Players fining late comers

After dinner the players head into the gym to do some weight exercises, designed to strengthen them. All players were doing deadlifts and were encouraged to watch and support each other throughout the lift. The working day for a footballer is very short but very strenuous. They are pushed to the max to reach their potential and constantly improve as a football-

The players get ready to start the session

er.

Warm up lead by Nick Allamby Davies, Allamby and Jones share a joke before training ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 36 THE BANTAMS 2013/2014 www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk 37


Players doing sprints working on their speed and agility

Arron Jameson makes a fine save in the small sided game

The squad have a break before the next drill begins

New signing Arron Mclean works on his shooting

Garry Thompson beats first team keeper Jon Mclaughlin in training

Matt Barass and Nick Allamby discuss fitness

Nick Allamby checks the players performances The squad sit down for some Thai Green Curry Deadlifts and drills after lunch ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 38 THE BANTAMS 2013/2014 www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk 39


Shirts from last years memorable season framed in the 2013 Suite

Head groundsman Mick Doyle preparing the pitch prior to kick off

The home team directors seating at Valley Parade

The sign greeting you into the changing room

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Inside the home dressing room

Defender Andrew Davies’s shirt hanging in the home changing room pre match

New signing Arron Mclean celebrating his first goal for the club

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Behind the scenes at Bradford City