Players and staff from Plymouth Argyle Football Club took to the sea (Tuesday 4th) for a high speed team-building exercise afloat with the Royal Marines.
The first team players, club physiotherapist and club performance manager, enjoyed a soaking as they held on for life during their roller coaster ride of high speed turns and wave-riding in the off-shore raiding craft in a heavy swell in Plymouth Sound.
A thrilling adventure was promised and delivered as the Marines of 10 Training Squadron (part of Plymouth-based 1 Assault Group at HM Naval Base, Devonport, Plymouth) showed off their highly manoeuvrable boats. The craft, designed for taking small raiding parties onto hostile enemy-held beaches under fire at speed and withdraw fast from danger can accelerate fast to over 40mph, turn on a knife edge and stop from high speed standstill with a boat’s length hard.
Captain Mark Triggol, of 10 training Squadron said: “The idea was for the players to have a taste of life as a Royal Marine on the water while enjoying an exciting activity together as a team away from football. And also put themselves outside their comfort zones, which I’m pleased to see we did successfully. This was entirely new to them, both being on the water and working with the military – it was obvious they loved it from the involuntary grins and whoops as they were thrown around and soaked by the waves – all safely of course. Our lads also benefited from some boat-handling practice.’’
They showed the players a routine training exercise to assist the footballers with team-bonding ahead of the eagerly anticipated visit of high-flying Scunthorpe United FC on 15th March 2014. This match is an armed forces benefit event.
Matt Lecointe, PAFC striker, said: “ This was a fantastic way to team build outside our small world of football. We got away from the training ground and interacted with each other in a different environment. It was very exciting, far more so than I expected. It takes the day-to-day match and training pressure off the lads for a short time and allows them to relax. It’s always good to see how other people do their job and puts ours’ in proper perspective. I’d love to do it again sometime.’’
Physiotherapist Paul Atkinson said: “It’s my job to prepare them physically, but their state of mind is also vital and a break away from the insular bubble of football has done them a world of good. This has opened their eyes to see the broader world, so they think of something else apart from football and all enjoy a shared experience and relax. It’s all good preparation for the rigours of high pressure league football. We are very grateful to the Marines for this rare opportunity.’’
A Plymouth Argyle Football Club spokesman said: “Argyle is proud to be at the heart of a city rich in military history and tradition, and the club is fully committed to supporting our armed forces. Armed Services Day is an event of which we are very proud. It always draws a full crowd to Home Park who can share their enormous respect and appreciation for the men and women who serve, and risk their lives, in our military. We always enjoy our trips to Devonport and look forward to seeing the Royal Marines go through their paces.”
The Scunthorpe match will be the sixth consecutive season that has seen Argyle nominate one of their matches as a celebration of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and RAF with the aim of maintaining their strong links with military personnel and their families.
A large number of military personnel, including the families of those deployed, have been invited to attend the match along with local civil dignitaries and a number of senior military officers. Pre-match entertainment includes a silent arms display by local air cadets, drummers from HMS Drake volunteer band and to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1 members of the Royal British Legion will display their standards. The match ball will be presented by a serving member of the armed forces.