Michael Duberry continues his blog from United's trip to America
Dubes’ Blog Part Two
Michael Duberry continues his blog from United's trip to America
The day after our first game the squad is split up into two groups (not including the injuries). Those who played in the majority of last night’s game will go over to the gym with fitness guru Alasdair. The rest of the squad will go training as normal with the Gaffer and Mickey.
It feels like Groundhog Day for the injury squad as we are back over to the Seacoast gym with Physio Andy Lord.
Everyone was down for breakfast at the same time and we eat all together as usual. At breakfast I discovered there is sausage and egg muffin on offer, so I thought I would treat myself. To be honest I treated myself twice that morning!! Haha
The injury squad head over to the gym and are joined by the lads that played last night. Alasdair takes his squad onto the basketball court for a core session while we go in the gym for our usual program.
After core the lads are in the pool for a cool down which consists of swimming and stretches in the water.
Team Masseur, and also the injury squad motivator, Spike has a massage bed set up on the basketball court. When the lads come out of the pool they get a massage and can also get treatment from the physio, who also has set up a bed.
Some of the lads play basketball while waiting their turn for a massage. Let’s keep it real, we have no Michael Jordan hidden amongst our group.
Batts, Jake Forster-Caskey and Coxy all try and showcase their basketball talents but just end up making the squad laugh.
The biggest laugh was left for Alasdair: his enthusiasm alone was making everyone laugh. He was like a big kid just happy to play, it was like he just discovered the game! He was fetching every loose shot even those that weren’t his. His tekkers weren’t great but he didn’t care he was just so happy.
Alasdair finally stopped and sat down; he had run of steam and people to play with. Haha
Alasdair wasn’t the only one in an Oxford United kit dripping with sweat. While the fit lads have fun the injured lads were working hard and sweating in the gym. Just in case the physio Andy reads this blog, I was working the hardest out of the lot!
I was working so hard that I needed to take time out to speak to Oxford Mail’s David Pritchard. We chit chat about my journalism aspirations for after football and general stuff. It’s not long before he pulls out the dictaphone and we chat about my current injury situation, so look out for that as it should make for a good read.
We go back to the hotel for lunch. We are going to see Liverpool play Roma at the legendary Fenway Park Stadium, which is home to the Boston Red Sox.
I am excited to visit such a great stadium but would have much rather gone to see the Boston Red Sox than the red socks of Liverpool. The team gets some time in Boston to walk around the shops before we go to the game.
Most of the lads just go window-shopping which won’t please their other halves who might have expected a gift. I suppose most of the just lads like shopping in duty free!! Haha
Back on the bus and we have a few late arrivals which is just music to the ears of Michael ‘Fines Man’ Duberry. The gaffer sets their fine and makes the late stragglers buy everyone a drink, so I make mine a double!
We get to Fenway Park and it is amazing, it has a different feel than being at just a normal football ground. We have some great seats for the game and to be fair I don’t think there is a bad one in that stadium.
Credit to the staff at Fenway Park to turn the field into a great football surface from being a baseball field. It is a pre-season game and Liverpool have a makeshift team. Stevie G was the most noticeable absentee from the Liverpool line-up.
I was actually gutted because you always want to watch world-class player but I was happy to see Joe Cole back playing.
I always wanted to go to a baseball game and buy a hot dog from a one of those sellers shouting “hotdogs, get your hotdogs!” Yeah I have big dreams I know! Anyway there wasn’t any one doing that on the night so I settled for a Fenway Cheeseburger.
It was funny hearing the American Liverpool fans making up their own Liverpool songs.
Everyone is quickly on the bus for the 90-minute journey home.
Straight off the bus and to my room, I quickly checked my twitter before retiring to bed.
The next morning I settle for a toast for breakfast with apple juice and ignore scrambled eggs and American sausage. It was no gym for me today as I am watching the lads train this morning.
I am getting frustrated with my injury now and with that fact I can’t play football at the moment. My thoughts and feelings are echoed by all of the injured squad. While the lads warm up I play ball boy for the keepers Browny and Clarkey warming up.
I get the camera off of Media man Chris to film the next Dubes Diary. The start of the session with the balls is very good and sets the standard of the rest of training. Mickey has always put on some good sessions for the team and today was one of them.
It was a pure football session and anytime in pre-season you get a day of pure football you are so, so happy.
Not because it’s easier, because sometimes it’s not, but you always feel you are working as hard when you are chasing a football. That maybe seem strange to comprehend but to a footballer it is easy to relate.
)Editor’s note: see the video in Yellow PlayerI film bits of training and get some of the boys on camera as soon as the finish some their training. Watching them talk while out of breath makes me laugh. I think Chris would have to edit a lot of the filming purely due to the language used by the lads during training. (
I was very impressed by all the new signings as well as the players with us on trial. Andy Melville went as far as to tell the defenders he thought it was the best training session he has seen in his time at the club. When he realized I was standing there he laughed and began to make me feel better by telling me that I have been involved in some good ones too. Ha ha!
The gaffer was also very impressed by training and praised everyone for their efforts and attitude towards pre-season so far. It was back to the hotel for lunch and a rest before training in the afternoon for everyone.
After lunch all of the players available for selection went to the training pitch, which also happened to be the same pitch we were playing our game on the next day.
The injury squad was split up because JP and H (Harry Worley) were running at the training ground. It left me, Levs and Whingy to go over to the gym, driven and supervised by Spike.
We have a quick blast in the gym and then back over to watch the end bit of the lads training. The team training isn’t as intense physically as this morning’s session. The afternoon session is more of a technical one. This type of training is more mentally demanding rather than physical.
The gaffer uses these types of sessions to drill into the lads the team ethos. He is pleased once again with training and lads cool down before heading back to the hotel.
It is the team shuffle board and pool competition tonight over at Paddys but even better than that we have all the new boys singing a song each. Every club has this tradition and we are no different even though we have been a little lazy the last few years.
And before you ask me, I didn’t sing a song when I signed. It wasn’t because I refused but because I wasn’t asked. If I was to have sung it would have been amazing! Ha ha!
Everyone has dinner at Paddys first then we go over to the games area. We have already been partnered up for both competitions and I am paired with H. Even if we don’t win any of the competitions me and H would win best dressed team. We have matching luminous green t-shirts on with hand written squad numbers drawn on. Check them out on Dubes Diary on Yellow Player.
Alfie and Spike are our opponents in the pool which gives us a great confidence to be honest! We start trash talking before the first break and it works as Alfie does the worst break in pool history. Ha ha!
The game is a terrible one but we grind out and are through to next round. The first part of the double is on now on to shuffle board.
The Oxford Games is interrupted by the new boys having to sing for the team.
We use the live band’s microphones while they are on their break.
Now Paddys is a public place so the lads are performing in front of a packed house. I have to say the standard of singing was brilliant from the moment Riggsy first picked up the microphone until Coxy last put it down.
The competitions resume and we were pitted against young Jake Forster-Caskey and Dave Pritchard. I thought this was a good as a bye to the next round, and when we are 11-5 up at one stage we thought it was a given.
We went out 13-15 or something like that, I was gutted and so was H.
It’s like losing the 100m final but you still have the 200m final to come. In your head it’s the 100m you wanted and the 200m is little consolation.
Mickey and Whingy were the opponents trying to kill the dream.
We started well but there were no happy ending as they sunk the black as well as our dreams. Ha ha!
I was out and left twiddling my thumbs waiting to see who would win. Jake and Browny won the shuffle board competition and were the new champs. The pool final was Levs and Riggs versus The Gaffer and Melv.
It was a close final but was won when the gaffer potted the black and white! It got the biggest cheer of the night from the lads! Ha ha!
The Gaffer took it well to be fair and was laughing as much as anyone. Not long after the competition the lads started leaving for the hotel as there was a game the next day. I wasn’t playing so I stayed out a little later but it wasn’t long before I got into my bed.
Coming Soon: Michael’s final diary instalment