Richard Mennear’s final entry to his Hartlepool United Spanish diary

TRAINING GROUND: La Cala

TRAINING GROUND: La Cala

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LOCALS refer to the stretch, close to where Pools are staying, as the Costa Del Golf given the high number of golf courses located along the picturesque coastline.

But golfing resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants aren’t the only highlights for tourists.

Oh no. There is also a massive Primark (Or Primarni, as it is known back home) located just off the motorway – they get everywhere don’t they!

Alongside that was an Iceland and C&A and other familiar shops I spotted en-route back to Malaga Airport for my flight.

It’s just like being back home. No sign of any Greggs though. Yet.

Talking of airports, I chanced my arm going through security knowing full well I had a 200ml bottle of sun cream (which was almost full) stashed away in my little clear bag you need to present with your hand luggage.

No more than 100ml is allowed and I knew I was doing wrong, not international terrorism wrong, but wrong all the same.

But given it was almost full and cost me about £8 I wasn’t in the mood for just binning it.

Sadly for me, the eagle eyed security guard spotted it and asked if it was mine just before tossing it in the trash.

I had thought about asking her to squeeze some out into my hand before binning, seeing though as I’d lost the receipt to claim it back on expenses (joke gaffer, I still have the receipt).

But the lesson to be learned here is to spend more time sunbathing and less time typing when on these pre-season jollies.

l NOT that this Spanish pre-season training camp has been a jolly for the players mind.

They have been working themselves into the ground, morning, noon and night – with three sessions some days on the training pitch (pictured above) – in order to be as fit as possible ahead of the new campaign.

During my stay at La Cala Resort there seemed a good vibe among the Pools camp, with everyone’s focus very much on improving on last season’s poor 19th-place finish.

From a personal point of view, the club staff, manager, coaches and players couldn’t have been more accommodating during my ‘flying visit’ and I’d like to thank them for their hospitality.

I even managed to join the squad for lunch and also dinner, which consisted of more salad (honest), vegetables and chicken with a light curry sauce for those interested.

Lovely tucker, it has to be said.

A few more expenses saved there, so the editor will be happy, at least.

l FINALLY, earlier this week in my Pools-Side column (you have no idea how long it took to come up with that name by the way) I referred to the robes and slippers that were hung on the back of my bathroom door at La Cala Resort.

I made reference to me shoving the ‘complimentary’ robes into my hand luggage.

Sadly my folks didn’t see the funny side and reckoned my little joke made me look like a career criminal.

Parents hey?

So, just to be clear, I do not have the robes back in Hartlepool.

Mind, my new kettle, toilet roll holder and bed sheets are looking pretty smart!