Town are currently out in Portugal as they step up their preparations ahead of the 2017/18 Sky Bet League Two campaign. Ben Purkiss, one of nine new arrivals at The County Ground so far this summer, will be keeping supporters up-to-date with events in Portugal over the next few days. In Part Three of his exclusive #TownOnTour Diary, Purkiss talks down time, golf and the importance of the role the fine master plays at the club!
We had a little bit of a rest period after the game yesterday where we had some time to ourselves, but we had to meet at the pool at 5pm and we took part in an upper body circuit mixed in with some core stability work.
We were then put through a military press-up challenge and it was tough. A few people breezed through and it was a breeze in particular for Dunney (James Dunne) for whatever reason - I think it was more to do with technique than anything else!
It was all done to the tune of Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down so when we heard Bring Sally Up we had to be up and when we heard Bring Sally Down we were down in the press-up position - some of the lads lasted longer than others.
We had this morning off and we managed to squeeze in a bit of pitch and putt around the par three golf course before lunch and we’re then back at it this afternoon with a tough tactical session.
There has been that recognition that the lads have been working really, really hard and everyone has put in the work.
The application towards the game yesterday was exceptional and Chris Neville has an impressive CV and an impressive array of experience, but I think he knows when to tone things down and there was a recognition that we have worked incredibly hard and perhaps a morning off was not a bad thing.
However, we will be back on the football pitches later and we’ll be back at it again.
Back to the golf course and my group included Olly Lancashire and Chris Robertson, so it was good for us to spend a little time together and we got to know each other a bit more.
Olly led the way in terms of his golf and Chris marked the scores and was very selective in terms of the way he counted them - when he lost a ball it didn’t seem to count!
You need to watch your back when Robbo is around that’s for sure!
He has one of these win at all costs mentalities and he was very keen to get in charge of the scorecard.
We managed to still end up tied even though he ended up losing five balls on his round and I lost just one!
We touched on traditions in football yesterday and another popular one is fines in the dressing room.
It is a case of trying to instill a little bit of discipline, togetherness and why professionalism is important, certain things like time keeping.
One of the biggest things at any football club, and particularly for this manager, is time keeping because you are a team, you are reliant on everyone else and if someone is late then the whole outfit kind of breaks down and that is the same in a game.
In terms of policing it, I just think it is a good way to make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction and the fines vary in terms of their severity.
All the fines are things that you should do anyway and they are designed to make you a better football player as an individual.
It is a small contribution depending on the offence and that then goes into a player’s pool and that can be used for various things, such as team bonding throughout the season.
There were certain managers in the old days that used to keep the money for themselves and used it for their teams to go away, while there were previous clubs that I’ve been at where people have skimmed bits off the top but that’s certainly not the case here.
"Olly led the way in terms of his golf and Chris marked the scores and was very selective in terms of the way he counted them – when he lost a ball it didn’t seem to count! You need to watch your back when Robbo is around that’s for sure!"
The manager here has allowed the players to police it themselves and we have got a fines committee set up, which is a difficult job.
It is something that I’ve done previously and there are grey areas. Robbo (Chris Robertson), who I’ve known for a little bit, will fight for every penny and it is a difficult position sometimes.
Luke Norris has stepped up to become the ‘Fines Master’ and he’s calling the shots as it were.
One of the things you need is someone you can trust in that position and also someone who will apply the rules equally across the board, while ensuring that he pays up if he falls foul of the rules himself.
I’ve got a close eye on that and I’m going to make sure he applies the rules himself!