MOST teenagers aspire to be footballers - dreaming of fame, fortune and fast cars. St Augustine’s pupils Alex Mullin - son of Stanley’s Paul - and Sam Rushton decided to go and see if that’s what it is like at Accrington Stanley . . .
WHOEVER thought football was full of glamour and glitz has obviously not been to an Accrington Stanley training session in the middle of January.
We turned up - not quite sure what to expect - but feared the worst as the wind and rain were preparing to cause havoc at King George Playing Fields.
Our lift for the day was Paul Mullin and we arrived at the training ground at around 9:30am ready to embark on our day’s training with the League Two side.
We were one of the first to get there and various other cars started to flood in, ranging from Kenny Arthur’s classy BMW to Chris Turner’s ‘Pimped up’ Vauxhall Corsa.
After about 20 minutes, our ‘gaffer’ for the day John Coleman arrived and we went into the changing rooms - they were okay but I can't imagine Robinho happily getting changed in those surroundings - and then we were introduced to the coaching staff and the team.
And our first job of the day - which we were used to already from a week at the Accrington Observer - was making the brews for the coaching staff - which got to about eight by the time the kettle had boiled.
Just across from the kitchen, was John Coleman in his office. He was watching the Bradford match on his television and talking to certain players about the game and things that had happened during the 1-1 draw.
Down the corridor from the ‘gaffer's’ room was the treatment room where physio, Joe Hinnegan, was treating players like captain Peter Cavanagh and John Mullin whilesome players were in there for a general chat before the day’s work began.
The press arrived next to interview the manager and then the players had to go and see Pablo Asensio, the Argentinian coach.
As we now had nothing to do, we went to have a game of head tennis to kill the time until we had to go outside and brave the cold.
It was freezing but we hoped the warm-up did what it was meant to and assistant manager Jimmy Bell put us through our paces.
It was cold and windy but at least it was not raining and we were on the move.
The warm-up included a lap aroung the muddy playing fields where we played ‘spot the grass’ and then we did various stretches and a few short sprints.
There is obviously little cover and it has to be one of the windiest places we have ever played football at.
During this, there was a bit of banter between the lads but the stern hand of Jimmy Bell made sure they kept their minds on the job in hand. The warm-up lasted about 20 minutes and then it was over to Pablo for the next session to work on the team’s shape for the next match.
He lined up the first eleven - who were due to play Darlington midweek - and we were put in the opposition line-up to make it more realistic.
It was all just set up but then the heavens suddenly opened, the rain was blowing into our faces and we got absolutely soaked.
The conditions got worse and worse as the session went on and everyone was getting extremely cold and we could not feel our faces.
It was taking its toll and there was some moaning and the weather just made it almost impossible for Pablo’s session to continue.
Jimmy Bell announced training was over and we have never seen a group of people move so fast to get inside to the warmth!
We got changed out of our wet clothes and rushed to Paul’s car but, with our numb fingers, we could barely open the car door.
We finally got in and, with the heater on full blast, we set off home after a good although cold day’s training with Accrington Stanley.
As you have probably guessed, the weather dominated Monday’s training session but we enjoyed the experience of going out and training with a professional football club and joining in with the exercise and the banter.
It was different to what we expected - on Sky television you always see teams training on perfect pitches in the sun, or on astroturf inside buildings with the warm air blasting down.
But, back in this world where money isn’t endless, the real teams are out in the wind and rain battling against the odds to improve their game.
And the session has not put us off hoping that’s our career in a few years time.