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Brunty's Tour Diary: Part three

22 July 2012

Sparkling day for Ridgey, tenpin bowling controversy and Shane's soothing sounds!

THERE was controversy in our pre-season training camp as Gabriel Tamas was crowned Albion’s official kingpin.

But more on that later.

Saturday, our fourth full day in Malmo, began with another thorough workout.

While the rest of the lads were well and truly put through their paces inside Malmo’s Swedbank Stadion during the morning training session, I had to settle for a longer-than-anticipated spell in the gym.

That’s where my day began, with a few warm-up exercises to hopefully help my calf get through training.

But when I began to run on it, I knew straight away it didn’t feel right so I had to leave the lads to it and return to the gym for more rehab work. I had two Malmo players for company, who were being looked after by their club’s medical staff.

Thanks to the hard work we’ve all put in, the gaffer gave us the afternoon off to relax before we gathered in the hotel lobby for team activity night – a trip to a local tenpin bowling alley.

I opted for a watching brief so I could rest my calf but there was plenty of banter flying around as the tour party set about knocking down some skittles.

Afterwards, we were treated to a meal at the alley, where our usual health-conscious pre-season fodder was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, the menu included such welcome options as cheeseburger and chips, steak and chips, burritos and chips and fish and chips.

During the meal, our head of logistics, Andrew 'the hustler' Hussey, announced that Gabi had come out on top with a strike-heavy score of 175 and then presented him with a little trophy.

What Andrew didn’t let on was the fact he was actually the overall winner, having posted an impressive 180 – which included five successive strikes.

He’s obviously got a modest streak and let Gabi take the glory!

That wasn’t the end of the matter, though!

Sam ‘Sport Billy’ Mantom has since cried ‘fix’, claiming the fact that both he and Billy Jones had finished tied on 179 had somehow been overlooked.

I certainly wouldn't doubt the fact Sam posted that kind of score – because it seems he has zero else to do other than play sport!

Pool, cricket, golf and obviously tenpin bowling...you name it, he plays it – and all the time!

The meal was rounded off with Liam Ridgewell being presented with a dessert – complete with sparklers – to mark his 28th birthday.

Unfortunately, having to ‘celebrate’ his big day away from his family and friends is something he must’ve got used to over the years – because it probably always clashes with a pre-season tour!

Sadly, we’re no further forward in solving ‘toaster-gate’. Saido took the blame for forgetting to remove his bread and setting off the hotel's smoke alarms but continues to protest his innocence.

He’s now blaming our chirpy young signing from Dundee United, Scott Allan – but he’s having none of it!

There’s one more thing I need to clear up.

Our fellow hotel guests could be forgiven for thinking that Oasis have reformed and are staying at the complex judging by the sounds coming from Shane Long’s room.

‘Longy’ has brought a small guitar with him and has been heard strumming away and singing the likes of ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Live Forever’.

He’s actually very good!

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