The Spireites are now back in Blighty and ready for Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (1pm kick-off), here's the final installment of the week's diary.The last full day was set aside mainly for recovery after the pre-season friendly excursions the previous evening. Mal Purchase lead the squad through a swimming pool session to aid in this while also working on flexibility in the water.
The verdict on the night before remained positive, with the Apollon Limassol players in the hotel - weeks ahead of the Spireites in their fitness preparations - noticably more reverential to their energetic and, playing a man shy, stubborn opponents from the night before.
Later, the traveling party headed into Budapest for the first time for some well-earned downtime in the capital.
After the bus arrived back in Telki, Gboly Ariyibi and Reece Mitchell were soon seen on the way to the Jacuzzi for one last soak, while the ping-pong championship reached something of a climax, with reports claiming Ollie Banks and Connor Dimaio among the title winners, positions despited by plenty of others.
The final morning of the trip left little time at the hotel except for breakfast. Sandwiches were sneakily made for hasty lunches to be had on the flight back to Luton, while all passports were found and reluctant payees were sought to fulfil remaining room tabs.
At Budapest Airport Morgs and Mal were told that the two bags of Mitre balls could only be taken on the flight if the air was taken out of them first. Imagine a less sensible pair to pick on! Negotiations found an oversized baggage solution that left air in balls and balls on the flight.
On board and Spireites heads were bobbing before the the seat belt light was extinguished. I was on the look-out for snores and their producers; one player had spent the week complaining about his room-mate's constant sleeptalking through the night, but while ears and eyes were peeled it is as yet unable to be confirmed.
Learnings from a packed week include: that if you have anything that makes you stand out, be it slightly biggish ears, 'the full-backs pushing on' (early signs of future folical challenges) or the wrong training shirt one morning, and you will get a squad-wide earbashing, and possibly a fine from debt collector Sam Hird if a crime's agreed to be severe enough.
That Rodger Wylde eats like a horse.
That team spirit is a real and delicate thing, which takes careful massaging and interaction with to build. The Spireites are heading into the rest of pre-season with a good foundation in this respect.
Finally, that for players pre-season is really really hard work. It is intense, competitive, unforgiving and the cushdy life professional footballers are often accused of having comes only with reams of dedicated hard work.
Iain Pearce - Spireites Media Team