Summer tour: Bailey's Blog day 7
- 16 July 2011 04:17
- Posted by Chris Bailey in Los Angeles
This is the last Bailey blog of the tour as in a couple of hours I am departing back to England.
Hopefully you have enjoyed the first week’s coverage of the Blues North American tour which will now go into game mode after the ‘lockdown’ training camps in Los Angeles.
It is always a privilege to be on a pre-season tour but especially with this group of players. I have been around City squads on a daily basis now for more years than I care to remember spanning half a dozen managers.
My job has – amongst other places less exotic - taken me to China, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and the USA twice with City sides preparing for new league campaigns.
Whilst Joe Royle’s 1999-2000 side had an unquenchable team spirit and some great characters this is the happiest and most together I have seen a pre-season City squad since those days.
Footballers are habitual moaners. They will admit that themselves. But gripes on this trip have so far been few and far between. The complainers have not had a leg upon which to stand.
There has been some infectious laughter from Joe Hart and Micah Richards to accompany the soundtrack of each training session, Nigel de Jong and Aleks Kolarov – two of the resident jokers - have rarely had a smile off their faces and even Yaya Toure, who views pre-season running in the same way that turkeys eye Yuletide and Thanksgiving, is relishing every moment of being with his ‘second family’.
Denis Suarez, the teenager signed from Celta Vigo, has looked right at home with his neat passing and quick feet and John Guidetti, so nearly lost to Dutch football in the summer, has appeared sharp in front of goal.
During the trip we have waved goodbye to Jerome Boateng and said hello to chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak who has been on holiday in LA with family and friends.
If you don’t believe my resume of the happy camp then believe his because he told me only yesterday that he can sense a real confidence about the team – a new belief born from the FA Cup win last May and earning direct entry into the Champions League group stage.
Of course a happy pre-season isn’t always the precursor to a successful one once the curtain rises on the real thing.
I have known City sides that have remained in holiday camp mode for months on end and others that have looked hopeless in July but have blossomed at the sign of Winter’s first chill – and the other way around.
So we all watch and wait to see who comes through the door next – other than Pablo Zabaleta returning from the Copa America – and trust the results of the six games leading up to the Premier League kick-off against Swansea are positive.
If the training ground smoke signals are correct there will not be a more together bunch than the one that occupies the home dressing room in the Etihad Stadium the first Monday of the season.