More than a magic sponge

Interview with physio Andy Proctor in The Grecian

Football has moved on since the days when the physio just carried a bucket and sponge and cut the oranges into segments for half-time. 

Even for the Grecians’ first-team physio Andy Proctor, who has now been with the club for three years, the level of fitness that a pro footballer in the fourth tier has to reach is staggering.

During pre-season, Proctor was on a mission to make himself the least-popular person at the Cat & Fiddle by putting the lads through shuttle runs and the dreaded yo-yo test – but he believes it is all part of the conditioning that a player needs to compete in the professional ranks. 

“Fitness in football has completely changed,” says Proctor.  “It’s no longer a case of just doing a few star-jumps and have a pint and you’re ready to go.  It’s about warm-ups, making sure that training is developed to peak at the right time, making sure that performance testing is done correctly – there is so much to consider.

“Even in this league, some of the guys that play for and against us are unbelievable athletes – and you have to take your hat off to them, because you have to work hard to get as fit and strong as these boys are.

“When I first came to work with the first team and did a few running sessions, I was trailing at the back by a long way!  A League 2 footballer has to be ridiculously fit – and in our pre-season tests that we did, a lot of our players got up to Premier League-standard fitness.  That’s something that we pride ourselves on.”

The full interview with physio Andy Proctor will be in Saturday’s issue of The Grecian, our matchday programme, which will be on sale around St James Park at the price of £3 at our game against Morecambe.

Proctor discusses the fitness of footballers, the number-crunching, the pleasure of getting players back to full health and his own playing career.