Football Nutrition: Dunkin' Donuts, Tomato Ketchup and Baby Food

Chris PotterCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

Marcos Alvarez, the former physical instructor of Tottenham Hostpur, has spoken out this afternoon about the Spurs players' attitude towards nutrition. Now out of a job, he has outlined the difficulties he and beleaguered football coach Juande Ramos faced trying to change the approach of certain players to preparation for matches.

Much was made of the radical changes at Spurs Lodge following the appointment of the Hispanic trio of Poyet, Alvarez, and Ramos in October 2007.

Double training sessions were the order of the day and players were given a complementary (and very strict) tailored regime to follow, with the likes of Paul Robinson, Tom Huddlestone, and Michael Dawson warned that they should lose weight or lose their place in the side.

Alvarez was dumbfounded that the players were helping themselves to muffins rather than apples after their main course, that they liked their fish battered, not steamed.

Nutrition specialist Dr. Antonio Escribano (''Doctor Baby Food'') was hired and immediately began concocting unusual gastronomic cocktails designed to help the players prepare for and recover from matches more quickly.

Players were given complex and lengthy food dossiers detailing which foods they were allowed to eat, in which quantities and at what time of the day.

This draconian food regime paid dividends initially as the players looked fitter and stronger in the last moments of matches against tiring opposition.

But this very unorthodox approach to sports nutrition (at least in the context of English league football) brought discontent amongst several players, with Michael Dawson complaining of starting games on what seemed like an empty stomach.

Whilst new manager Harry Redknapp has decided not to change too much in this sense, he has already told journalists that he cannot watch over the players 24/7 and that he will not bear any grudges against players who fancy some ketchup on their chips or a pizza at home with the missus. 

But has this more relaxed attitude really contributed towards the improved performance of the players? How much does a player's eating habits affect his performance on the pitch?

After all, Cesc Fabregas confesses a love of Dunkin' Donuts just last year and England cricketers and rugby union players swear by wine gums and jaffa cakes to give them an energy boost when it comes to the crunch.

What are your views on sports nutrition? Are you old-school cod and chips or new-wave salmon and veg?