It’s been less than a month since we commented on West Ham United using the free time that came from the last FA Cup weekend to have a hard week’s work at home rather than going abroad for a break....
And the next thing that happens is that David Moyes takes them away to Miami for some ‘warm weather training’. Ah well, the perils of sports writing ....
To be fair he did admit that the Miami trip had been arranged well in advance of the Burnley game; and indicated the week before that fateful encounter at the London Stadium that he might take everyone away for a few days training in the sun.
Equally, it was reported after the Burnley game that not everyone was in agreement with going away at that particular time; and under the circumstances that have dominated the media since last week it’s easy to see why.
No matter how much David attempts to justify the Miami trip as being purely a training exercise those images of the players on the beach will forever portray a different story.
Despite that, the players will have worked hard in America. Although based in a hotel overlooking Miami beach, the training was held at the nearby Barry University complex, and in reality will have been like a mini pre-season.
David and the staff will have put the whole squad through what has been reported as an intensive week; with the emphasis on fitness work on some days and tactical / football work on the others.
On trips like these, the approach to the change of environment is usually reflected in the manager’s philosophy. If the manager has a laid-back approach to training then for sure you can expect a chilled-out atmosphere while you are away.
Although if the manager has a different approach - well that’s another story. David stated when he came to the club that he expected the players to train hard and basically said that if they didn’t work in training then they wouldn’t play.
And in addition to David’s strong approach to the training, neither Stuart Pearce nor coaches Alan Irvine and Billy McKinley are the type to laze around on a beach for days on end!
So the theme of the week will have been to work and train; with rest and recovery just as important.
It’s the way of the world though that the ‘rest and recovery’ part was always going to be the one aspect of the trip that the media were likely to focus on more than anything else!
After all, there’s no hiding place nowadays from mobile phone cameras and it’s unfortunate that will likely to be the lasting memory of West Ham United’s latest overseas training camp.
And the down side is that everyone involved at West Ham will be on an even-bigger hiding to nothing after last weekend. Hence the Southampton game when it finally comes around will take on a totally different level of importance.
Before then of course, West Ham United will play a fund-raising friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge at the National League club’s Victoria Road stadium on Wednesday night.
The Daggers are in some financial difficulty at the moment - as are many of England’s lower league clubs who live in the shadows of more illustrious neighbours.
In today’s economic climate, the almost unlimited access to televised games involving the bigger clubs hasn’t made life any easier for clubs of Dagenham’s level so it’s great to see the Hammers helping out.
In many ways this game follows on nicely from the training last week and is likely to have that ‘pre-season friendly’ look about it; as David will more than likely use every member of his recognised first team squad for this occasion.
For the injured lads though, such as Pedro Obiang (knee surgery), Sam Byram (ankle ligamentous sprain), Edimilson Fernandes and Andy Carroll (both ankle surgery); it will be business as usual - despite those pictures of Andy on the beach.
I’m going to stick up for Andy here; as if anyone was going to be targeted for a photo giving the impression of somebody with the holiday feeling it was always going to be him.
Whatever might be said in the media life goes on and rehab continues. Andy knows he needs to get fit and he’ll be working at it this week again.
Still, it will be a bonus for David just to have any of the four longer-term injured players available before the end of the season. By all accounts they’re making progress; but unfortunately you can’t beat the calendar.
Winston Reid has already been ruled out until the summer but there might be an option for some of the others depending on how things go between now and the end of the season.
The fixture list is an ever-present reminder of the task in hand for Gary Lewin and his medical team.