Cheltenham Town’s guide to preseason training

For the Cheltenham Town players, pre-season training meant grueling runs to Cleeve Hill.

Managers like John Murphy and Steve Cotterill would kick off their preparations for the new campaign with tilt work and it was always likely it would take some time before balloons were seen.

Current director Murphy can be seen in his acting days in the photo below, taken in July 1979.



Cheltenham Town pre-season training in 1979

Cotterill was known for his intense diets, with someone likely to always receive special attention if he had enjoyed his summer vacation a little too much.



Cheltenham Town pre-season training in 1998 ahead of their Conference winning campaign
Cheltenham Town pre-season training in 1998 ahead of their Conference winning campaign

Almost every season, a member of the team returns with an “interesting” haircut … usually in bleached blonde, with a few notable examples below.



Steve's book in 1999
Steve’s book in 1999

Steve Book, Lee Howells, JJ Melligan and Scott Brown have all returned to train with new looks.



Blonde Lee Howells, JJ Melligan and Scott Brown
Blonde Lee Howells, JJ Melligan and Scott Brown

It’s also time for a new era, with Graham Allner taking the helm for the first time after Cotterill left for Stoke in 2002:



Graham Allner supervised the training in 2002
Graham Allner supervised the training in 2002

Cheltenham also adopted the old Eagle Star Sports and Social Club as their new home that summer:



Cheltenham Town training at Seasons in 2002
Cheltenham Town training at Seasons in 2002

In addition to using their main training ground at Swindon Village, managers at Cheltenham also introduced a change of scenery, with Bobby Gould taking his players to the racetrack on their first day in 2003:



Cheltenham Town training at the racecourse in 2003
Cheltenham Town training at the racecourse in 2003

John Ward and Martin Allen both took their players to army camps as part of their training.



Kayode Odejayi swings on a rope at the Ashchurch military camp in 2004
Kayode Odejayi swings on a rope at the Ashchurch military camp in 2004

Cheltenham made the short trip to Ashchurch in 2004:



Scott Brown, Jerry Gill and Jamie Victory listen to instructions
Scott Brown, Jerry Gill and Jamie Victory listen to instructions

Before spending time at Blandform in 2009:



The town of Cheltenham in Blandford
The town of Cheltenham in Blandford

Marley Watkins, Josh Low and Michael Townsend in Blandford:



The town of Cheltenham in Blandford
The town of Cheltenham in Blandford

Allen took part in the Sponsored Bike Ride in 2009 to raise money for his gaming budget:



Martin allen
Martin allen

During one of the most varied preseason schedules, Cheltenham also trained at the Lido during Allen’s reign:



Cheltenham Town players train at Lido
Cheltenham Town players train at Lido

Mark Yates included annual visits to Prince of Wales Stadium and the racecourse, where players did sprint work in front of the grandstand as well as a circuit involving endurance races around the parade ring.



Cheltenham Town training at the racecourse in 2011
Cheltenham Town training at the racecourse in 2011

Billy Jones working with a medicine ball in Prestbury Park:



Billy Jones
Billy Jones

Russ Penn and Mark Yates take part in pad work at the racetrack in 2013:



Cheltenham Town at the racecourse in 2013
Cheltenham Town at the racecourse in 2013

Players are always put to the test with the series of fitness tests, which usually ends like this:



Fitness tests
Fitness tests

Despite the obvious pain it entails, some players seem to be reveling in the toil of the preseason:



Kyle Storer and Danny Wright on day one of the preseason in 2015
Kyle Storer and Danny Wright on day one of the preseason in 2015

The preseason is a period of player education, demonstrated here by Steve Cotterill in the summer of 1999 …



Steve cotterill
Steve cotterill

And Mark Yates in 2010:



Cheltenham Town begins preseason training in 2010
Cheltenham Town begins preseason training in 2010

It is also an opportunity to see new faces, with for the first time summer dedications and trialists:



New signings on the first day in 1999
New signings and trialist Jon French on day one in 1999

Tests in 2003:



The Cheltenham Town trials in 2003
The Cheltenham Town trials in 2003

Summer signatures, 2004:



New recruits, summer 2004
New recruits, summer 2004

New faces in 2015:



Summer dedications, 2015
Summer dedications, 2015

It is almost always very hot when preseason training begins …



First day of training for Cheltenham Town in 2014
First day of training for Cheltenham Town in 2014

make the race even harder:



Day one, 2014
Day one, 2014

But it’s always a chance to show who is the best rider on the team:



First day of the preseason in 1999
First day of the preseason in 1999


First day of training for Cheltenham Town in 2004
First day of training for Cheltenham Town in 2004


First day of return to training for the Cheltenham Town players in 2005
First day of return to training for the Cheltenham Town players in 2005


Cheltenham Town players on their first day of pre-season training in 2007
Cheltenham Town players on their first day of pre-season training in 2007


Day one, 2009
Day one, 2009


Ethan Moore, Russ Penn, Andy Gallinagh and David Bird
Ethan Moore, Russ Penn, Andy Gallinagh and David Bird


Day one, 2012
Day one, 2012


Day one, 2013
Day one, 2013

These days it’s more about football work, with players supposed to take care of themselves during the break at the end of the season.

The first day of the preseason last year:



Opening day of the preseason, 2016
Opening day of the preseason, 2016

Cheltenham reports for pre-season training this year on Wednesday morning and with the Cleeve Hill racing days over and the players coming back fit and ready to work, it will still be intensive preparation for Game 1 competition in August 5.

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