There was a good mood in the camp after Saturday's USA tour victory over Ventura Fusion.
And as the travelling party prepared to leave the beautiful Ojai Valley on the outskirts of Santa Barbara for San Jose, there was still time for head physio Kate Rees to transform herself into Anne Robinson, ‘The Queen of Mean’, for the compulsory annual pre-season quiz involving all players and staff.
Manager Michael Laudrup and his coaching staff made up the first team (The Oscar Winners); the media boys, doctor, masseur and kitmen formed team two (The Utensils); Alan Tate
led team three with one group of players (Wayne's Blackberry); while skipper Garry Monk (Team Three) and Leon Britton's motley crew made up the remaining two teams (The Turks).
The questions were split into three categories - the Olympics, music and general knowledge on the local area.
A huge cheer went up from the players when the scores revealed the management and coaching staff as bottom of the pile on a sad 30 points; Monk and Tatey's teams were joined at the hip with 31 points each; Brits' boys came in second with 33 points; leaving The Utensils, led into battle by infamous kitman and team captain Michael Eames, to lift the chocolate cake trophy.
"Put that in your official website tour diary," declared Michael. "Who is laughing now?"
Well everyone when the question was asked where the winning team’s name, The Utensils, originated.
Named in Michael's honour, it came from another classic kitman quote after he decided to promote himself to Head of Utilities (a posh name for kit) while on tour duty.
So following a glass of sherry after supper, he couldn't wait to tell an over-inquisitive American, and trust me there are quite a few of them around the camp, when quizzed what his job was with the team.
Unfortunately, his new American friend looked slightly bemused when he proudly declared with a slip of the tongue that he was Head of Utensils rather than Utilities!
At least we know now who is in charge of the kitchen gadgets.
After the victory over Ventura, the staff stopped off in Santa Barbara town centre for something to eat.
Californian laws prevent alcohol being purchased by anyone under 21. And to make life more complicated, ID is also required as proof of age to gain entry into the many lively bars and restaurants along ‘The Strip’.
It's a law that is strictly enforced by the not-so-bright door staff. Not that Alan Curtis had any objections. It's the first time he's been asked if he was old enough to drink in quite a while, although it still didn't stop him lying about his age!
The final training session on the second-leg of the USA tour was followed by a golf competition for those keen on the sport.
, who had to take out additional insurance to drive the golf buggy, came out on top among the players; while play was halted for a brief spell as a baby kangaroo hopped onto the green. Well it was a rabbit to be precise, but guess which member of staff thought it was a kangaroo?
“It’s got to be a kangaroo,’’ he declared. “It stood up on two legs and then ran down a hole.’’
Nathan Dyer preferred to chill than swing a club, although the lads reckoned he was off washing his hair again after sporting a new looking for the new campaign.
Gone are the tight dreadlocks that often sprung into a big Afro, to be replaced by a no-nonsense cut that goes close to the bone.
“I was having too much stick from Ash (Williams) and Luke (Moore),’’ he explained. “It was too much hassle so it had to come off. Now I look fresh and sexy; the Fountain of Youth.’’ Not quite Nath.
Next stop is San Jose to take on the Earthquakes on Tuesday night, the current leaders of the MLS Western Conference. Stay tuned.