During the course of the football season, I have quite a few nights away from home. This is part of the territory of working with a successful professional football team. Not that I’m complaining either, I enjoy being involved in the beautiful game at a high level.
On this occasion, with a match at 2.30 p.m. in Pen-y-Bont, it meant that The New Saints FC travelled the day before. The vast majority of football teams don’t have this luxury, they probably play fairly local anyway so it’s not that much of an issue.
The times that they do have to travel some distance, they just get up earlier after an early night. In an ideal world though it is best to do your journey the previous day if possible. That way you are fresh for the game, as opposed to waking up really early and disrupting your sleep patterns.
I know that many football fans are probably thinking it’s pandering. After all they (and I include myself in this) often arrive back home in the early hours of the morning after being at a game somewhere in the country.
However, when it comes to the players themselves, it’s different. Especially in the professional game, they are athletes and it’s about tight margins. Waking up at 8.00 a.m close to the ground or having to be on your way at 5.00 a.m with a long day’s travelling ahead of you can be the difference between winning a game or not.
With so much at stake in modern football, any advantage that the clubs can give themselves, they will. With The New Saints being a full-time team, the players are at the top of their game when it comes to preparation.
That’s why overnight stays are part of the team schedule. In this case, we stayed in a Holiday Inn just off the M4 near Cardiff at a place called Tongwynlais, hence the lead image.
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