15:22 19th July 2013
A tale of two balls, mobs and birthday cake!
IT was a game of two balls last night!
The result wasn’t what we wanted but it was Hannover’s eighth pre-season game so they’re a good bit ahead of us in their preparations.
That probably told because they were a bit sharper.
But once we got hold of the ball we looked pretty dangerous and played some good stuff.
It was a bit strange playing the first half with a Bundesliga adidas ball and the second half with a Nike Premier League ball.
The footballs are so much different and I think that’s partly why we gave the ball away so much in the first half.
We’ve done all our training with Premier League balls so it was tricky as those adidas balls are pretty difficult to get used to.
It took us some time to get to grips with that but once we did we scored a good goal just before half-time.
Overall we looked pretty comfortable in the game and everyone got through it and had a decent workout, which is the main thing.
In fact, Barnsey tells me, despite the heat, the game was played out at near-Premier League intensity.
It was good to see Markus get on the scoresheet for the second successive game and hopefully he can keep that going and build some confidence.
He deserves it, he’s a good lad, works hard and we all want him to do well.
He’ll benefit from having a full pre-season with us because last year he joined us having done nothing for six or seven weeks.
With Rom [Lukaku] going back to Chelsea and Peter out of the equation, he could maybe replace some of the goals we’ve lost.
One man I’m sure who will grab goals is Nico.
We may also need to hire some extra security for him when we go on away trips this season!
He was mobbed by Albion and Hannover fans outside Gleisdorf’s Solar Stadion last night – and needed three stewards to shepherd him back onto the team coach.
He’s a big name and has played for big clubs all over Europe.
There’s a massive interest in him and it’s the first time we’ve really seen that at our club over the last few years.
But it doesn’t seem to affect him; he just gets on with things.
Earlier in the day we trained as usual.
But before we started we took a little time out to have our team photo taken for the wall of fame at Bad Waltersdorf’s training ground.
The team photos they have on the wall already shows what kind of set-up they’ve got to attract such teams.
Teams like Arsenal, West Ham, Blackburn and Leicester have been here as well as a host of European clubs.
Even Mozza’s been here before with Middlesbrough – so his photo will be on the wall of fame twice now.
It’s only a small place we’re in but football is obviously a big part of the community.
And it’s the little things that make all the difference as our head of logistics, Andrew Hussey, showed yesterday.
He organised a birthday cake for Claudio [Yacob] at dinner last night after we returned from the game.
And everyone gave our favourite Argentine a good chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’.
The problem is Andrew’s set the standard now, so I’ll be expecting a cake on my birthday in December!
What he didn’t tell anyone is that he put the chocolate cake on Claudio’s room bill!