Blue Square Bet
Published 29th June 2012
....plenty to think about as he cast his eye over almost three-dozen potential players at a very successful trials evening on Thursday.
The event was staged at Staines Lammas FC in Laleham Village and culminated in three short, small-sided games on the back of a thorough warm-up and some basic training exercises - all supervised by Gayle, who was supported by his assistant Gus Hurdle, player-coach Scott Taylor and Academy coaches Martyn Spong and Mark Fabian.
Swans executive football manager Chris Wainwright was also involved, with all pouring over their pre-prepared sheets, which allowed marks to be noted against each player for 'speed, stamina, strength, suppleness and skill'.
Amongst the prospective players keen to show their qualities and ambition, there were six successful graduates of the Swans own Academy side as well as another handful of players who'd played some Capital League football in Swans colours last term, all of whom will be expected to remain with the Swans in the coming season and try to battle their way into the senior squad.
The remainder of the eager cast, however, were triallists of varying experience who had previously sent in their CVs or who had otherwise been recommended to the Swans new boss by a number of his many contacts throughout the game. The group of hopefuls included players from many different areas of the game, including at least two with very relevant 'course and distance' experience from the Conference South last term who clearly stood-out of the crowd and surely will result in ongoing discussion with the Swans boss as regards their plans for the coming season. Otherwise, there were a number of former young professionals, at least one former England Schoolboy international and a group of talented lower league players all looking to step-up a level or two in the game. Gayle and his team plenty to chew over during their post-event discussions, but the Swans manager had left every triallist with some closing words of thanks and inspiration and underlined that every one of them would receive a call or contact in the coming days as to whether they will join-up with the senior squad for the start of formal training on 5th July Gayle reflected on the evening's activities: "It was a very successful evening and I was very pleased how it all went.
“I must admit to fretting a little before-hand, but all credit to the thirty-five players that turned-up. All but a couple were on-time and ready for an early start and I must say that every one of them showed the kind of hunger and desire I was looking for.
“The evening was set-up to a specific plan and it all worked through very well. We tested their fitness first and then some skill tests, before the short, intense games during which there was loads of desire and commitment on display. I'll speak to every one of them before the middle of next week and I expect half a dozen or so will be invited to join the squad for the start of first team training next Thursday. But for those who don't make the cut this time, there'll still be opportunities for them maybe later - we have their contact details and we can keep an eye on them, so who knows they might come back and play a part later in the season in our reserve team and stake their claim. There was certainly a couple of players on show who stood out, what with their known pedigree and so I'll be speaking with them today as regards a potential deal to sign straight on and bolster the squad as we get ready for the start of pre-season. “All in all, it was a really positive evening then for the club as an exercise on so many levels."