Summer tour: Bailey's Blog day 1
- 09 July 2011 12:04
- Posted by Chris Bailey
We arrived in LA a few hours ago – the men in black and blue.
But the only bruises in sight were to the egos of those who had to turn right on the plane and not left!
Not that this a real hardship when travelling with Etihad, our partners for at least the next ten years, who provided the plane in which we took off from Manchester early on Friday afternoon.
Of course we all travel as a team but the players for some reason usually have a curious habit of turning left whenever they have mounted some plane steps this time due to the configuration of Business Class it was a case of ‘by the right’!
There is a mixture of senior and younger players on the trip – more of the exact make-up of the squad in a later blog but of the new boys Gael Clichy was present and correct but Stefan ‘Robbie’ Savic will be joining us later.
Umbro kindly provided all the official clothes for the trip though who decided we would arrive into an LA summer wearing heat keeping black and not something more reflective may have a couple of questions to answer from the more rotund in the party.
Settled in the back of the plane were the website/citytv team, marketing, events and partnerships staff and some security. In all the travelling group totalled 73 – a tour is something of a logistical nightmare and even as a veteran of more of these than I care to remember the precision and organisation never ceases to amaze.
We were joined on the plane by the FA Cup itself which was flanked by its own security guards as ordained by the football authorities
The historic piece of silverware is not allowed to go anywhere without its own luxurious carrying case, security staff, dressed in its sponsors ribbons and must travel on board and not in the hold.
Of course we didn’t see much of the players on the near 11 hour journey. The odd head did, however, peep through the curtains to see what lay beyond their luxury up front most notably Joe Hart, Nigel de Jong who was having trouble sleeping, Micah Richards (who never has Nigel’s problem but wanted to get his first diary day entry done) and Vincent Kompany. From LAX it was a mere 20 minute drive to the base for the stay in Santa Monica and check in at the hotel.
As I said, tours are planned with military precision and there is no fussing at a reception for footballers – or the rest of the party. Room keys are given out during the transfer or at handed over in envelopes when we arrive.
The party even managed to avoid the usual long wait at USA customs by touching down at a private part of the LAX complex and completing the formalities – including photos and finger-printing in a side office.
Tomorrow the players get down to work. Training begins at 9am and then there will be a round of interviews with the players for the fans to enjoy later on the trip.
Don’t forget to come back to read Micah’s next diary entry, more of the blog, and get all the news from the ‘treatment table’.
We will have our usual exclusive picture spreads and action from training to keep everyone up-to-date with what is happening on the North American tour.