POMPEY’S new recruits have been warned the club’s pre-season initiations will return.
Andy Barcham has told Andy Awford’s summer signings there will be no escape from the ‘nerve-wracking’ pre-season performances.
The Blues geared up for last season’s campaign with a stay at Five Lakes in Colchester.
The serious business of building fitness and getting match sharpness under the players’ belts was the focus for the training camp.
But there was room for some light-hearted banter, and that arrived in the shape of the ‘Pompey X-Factor’ put on by the club at the end of the week-long stay.
Each of the club’s new faces were told to perform a song in front of a panel, including kitman Kev McCormack and then manager Guy Whittingham.
Barcham admitted performing in front of a roomful of people was a ‘daunting’ prospect.
The winger explained there is a purpose to lightening the mood, though, and the new faces will be targeted.
Barcham said: ‘The initiations last season were daunting.
‘It was X-Factor – and I’m sure they will be coming up with something just as bad this time. In fact, they should go with that again.
‘It was quite nerve-wracking so we were going off and practising when we had a bit of spare time!
‘People were stopping us in the hotel saying they were looking forward to seeing us!
‘It was all a good bit of fun, but I’d never done anything like that before.
‘Normally, it’s a 10-second performance, but this was a proper show! We had a host and it was put together well.
‘I’m sure there will be a few things like that this year.
‘It’s always good to get the team spirit going and build a bond for the boys.’
It was Barcham who overcame Ricky Holmes in last season’s final with a rousing rendition of Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.
Not all of his Pompey team-mates impressed to the same degree, however.
Tom Craddock came in for plenty of stick for a lacklustre rendition of the Blaydon Races.
Barcham joked the striker should be forced to take part in the event again this time around.
He said: ‘I was the deserved winner last year!
‘I know Holmesy wasn’t happy with losing to me.
‘It was a bit of karaoke classic. But when you get up there in front of the boys your mind goes blank!
‘There were a few rascal songs last year.
‘I don’t know what Tom Craddock sung until this day.
‘It was some sort of Newcastle song. To be honest, it was a shambles, so he should have to do it again.’