What happens on tour, stays on tour.
At least, that is the usual motto employed whenever high-spirited footballers head off to foreign climes for a couple of weeks of double training sessions, sunshine bonding and high jinks.
Manchester City have been heading to exotic locations since the Sixties, and those jaunts have thrown up tales of people being tied naked to pianos, near-drowning, managers being pranked and occasionally smashed by tackles, and players getting caught in the middle of a stick-up.
But possibly the most riotous City tour in the club’s history took place a little closer to home, when the team accepted an invitation to the Isle of Man tournament back in the Nineties.
With City not in the running for trophies, a trip across the Irish Sea was the nearest thing their loyal fans would get to a European away, so they made the most of it.
An estimated 3,000 made their way by ferry and plane for what seemed to be one long boozing session, players and supporters together.
Chaos ensued, with the island’s pubs and clubs taken over by a Blue invasion.
One unnamed character was spotted using a zebra crossing during a violent thunderstorm, completely naked, and another drunken outing ending in one of the fans’ more inventive chants.
Niall Quinn and Steve McMahon had indulged in some tomfoolery in a nightclub, which ended with Quinn’s T-shirt being torn from his back, revealing the full splendour of his cut-off denim trousers.
A group of City fans witnessed the debacle, and a new chant was born: “Niall Quinn’s disco pants are the best, they go up from his arse to his chest. They’re better than Adam and the Ants, they’re Niall Quinn’s disco pants.”
It became the anthem of the debauched Isle of Man tour, and was adopted by Sunderland fans when Quinn moved to the north east.
But even when City hit the heights, signed a few superstars and broke their 35-year trophy hoodoo by winning the FA Cup and qualifying for their first Champions League in 2011, the fun and games on tour did not relent.
When they were not hobnobbing with James Bond star and City fan Timothy Dalton on Long Beach, the Blues’ players were enjoying some hearty revenge on the physio staff at their luxury Marina Del Rey base.
The masseurs and physios who knead the players back into shape inflict plenty of pain on the expensive soft tissues - and once the working day is over, the players often go in search of revenge.
Former City physio and personal trainer Paul Webster revealed to MEN Sport just how far they will go to avenge their pain - and he marked out the US tour in the summer of 2011 as particularly memorable.
“They harassed me every day,” he said, with a smile. “One day they wrapped me up in bubble wrap – they had a mass of it, and Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards and De Jong got me and wrapped me in it.
“They marched me out to the pool and were about to throw me in.
“I was screaming inside the bubble wrap because I thought if they threw me in – it was quite deep – I would go to the bottom and they wouldn't be able to pick me up.
“It was terrifying but everyone was laughing. Luckily the doctor showed up and said if they put me in there, how would they get me out?
“Shaun Wright-Phillips said 'He'll float doc, he's in bubble wrap!'
“He said, he won't, he'll go straight to the bottom, take him out.’ So they took me out, ripped my shorts off, marched me into the hotel and in the middle of the hotel stuck me to the piano naked.
“Another time they stripped me naked, tied up my hands and put me in a lift to the top floor, which was a nightclub.
“The doors opened and I was there naked in front of a raving nightclub. We had a lot of good fun.”
To show there were no hard feelings, the players clubbed together, as Webster revealed: “When I got back Wayne Bridge, Shaun and Nigel De Jong, who were the three who really went for me, walked into the medical room and presented me with a nice Rolex, engraved 'The trip wouldn't have been worth it without you, thanks for good memories'.
“I got them back with the massages!”
On that same trip, the attitude of one new signing had the players in fits of laughter - and almost literally left manager Roberto Mancini in stitches.
Mancini shook the club up in many ways, but made a few enemies along the way, and by the time the Blues went on that pre-season tour of the US and Canada, things were already coming to a head, even though the ground-breaking title season was ahead of them.
Mancini made it plain, in a meeting with reporters in the lobby of the Blues’ hotel base, that he wanted control over City’s first-team squad recruitment - he wanted to be more of a traditional English manager, like Sir Alex Ferguson, while City had divorced the coaching role from the transfer side, bringing Mancini into conflict with Brian Marwood, who was essentially the football director.
With that row simmering away behind the scenes, City’s recruitment continued apace - they were days away from signing Sergio Aguero but in the meantime splashed out £9million for Partizan Belgrade defender Stefan Savic.
The no-nonsense stopper, now a key member of Atletico Madrid’s La Liga-winning side, flew straight to California to meet up with his new teammates - and he did not waste time in making himself popular.
Inevitably nicknamed “Robbie”, Savic was out to prove a point in his first session in the summer heat of Los Angeles, as Mancini joined in a training match.
Having only met his new boss two days before, Savic was not exactly currying favour when he dived into a solid challenge, sending “Bobby Manc” cartwheeling through the air.
Mancini took it in good part, gingerly standing up and limping away with a pained grin - while Savic’s new teammates were beside themselves with laughter.
City under Mancini were well-known for their “anything goes” training matches, which ended in fisticuffs more than once, but this was a new slant, and goalkeeper Joe Hart was still giggling about it a couple of days later when he met with reporters in Vancouver.
“It was awesome – I was watching it,” he said, unable to contain his glee. “Brilliant! The gaffer was training and Stefan properly did him.
“I think that’s a statement of intent. The gaffer took it well, I think he’d love all that.
“If the boss wants to get involved in training I think he should realise he will get the treatment off the players. Everyone had a laugh about it, I was roaring with laughter.”
The great Sixties and Seventies side had some great players, but they could easily have lost the great Neil Young on one American tour.
The striker was dining with defender George Heslop when a man with a gun walked in and held up the restaurant. “Nobody move!” shouted the robber - but Young showed the turn of pace that earned him many a goal to get through the exit before the gunman could blink - and solid defender Heslop was close on his heels.
Young’s pre-season trips to America seemed to be cursed - on another occasion he stepped out of his hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia to hear a cop shout “Freeze!”
The City man did as he was told, and then realised the officer was pointing his gun at another man, further down the corridor. He stayed in his room on pre-season tours after that!
During that same trip, news came through that Bobby Kennedy, politician and brother of John F Kennedy, had been shot.
The news was relayed to City chairman Albert Alexander, who instantly thought that it was the City full back of the same name who had met his fate.
“What was he doing out at this time?” asked the alarmed chairman.
Winding up managers was every bit as fair game back in those days as well, and even the great Joe Mercer could not escape a ribbing.
On a flight to Australia, for a tour, a man who boarded en route at Bahrain ended up sitting next to the City boss, and the players thought they would have some fun.
Enlisting coach Johnny Hart, they handed him a note and asked him to hand it to Mercer.
But Hart read the note and instead, to make the prank more effective, took it to the captain, who happily joined in with the wind-up.
He printed out the note on official airline paper and sent it back to Mercer, who went pale on reading it.
The note told him “We believe the man you are sat next to to be a known hijacker who is possibly armed and extremely dangerous. Please keep him talking until we land.”
Mercer duly did as he was asked, chattering nervously to the bemused man all the way to Australia, while the players were almost literally rolling in the aisles.