IT was in Marbella where David Preece, the former Aberdeen goalkeeper, first met up with his new colleagues. That’s where Ostersunds, the tiny Swedish club who became everyone’s favourite footballing fairytale last season by reaching the Europa League knockout rounds, were going through some warm weather training in their off-season.

Preece, their new goalkeeping coach, would come in contact with the snow and ice of Scandinavia soon enough, though. Never one to take himself too seriously, Preece posted a video on his Twitter account of his walk through Ostersunds in his first week as a resident of the city. However, vertical soon became horizontal as the Sunderland native slipped flat on his backside.

“That’s me every day,” he laughs. “It’s been pretty mild lately, so what you get is a lot of the snow melts and then it freezes overnight. Then the place is like an ice rink.”

This is not an entirely new environment for Preece. Ebbe Skovdahl and Peter Kjaer, whom he knew from his time at Aberdeen, sold the goalkeeper on a move to Denmark with Silkeborg in 2005. Preece has also played in Iceland. A fan of the Scandinavian culture and footballing attitude, he didn’t need much selling on accepting a coaching gig at Ostersunds.

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“[The club’s] got a really special feel about it,” said Preece, who is now living in Billy Reid’s old flat after the former Hamilton boss followed Graham Potter from his assistant manager post at Ostersunds to Swansea City last year.

“I was unbelievably impressed with the quality they have and the way they play football. It’s really intelligent football.”

Preece would know about intelligent football. Before joining Ostersunds’ coaching staff, he was part of Manchester City’s goalkeeping staff, working with Ederson all the way down to the keepers in the club’s youth teams. Being on the goalkeeping staff at City right now is like working at Apple Records in the 1960s.

But while Preece met Pep Guardiola, it was Xabi Mancisidor, first brought to the Etihad Stadium by Manuel Pellegrini and retained when the Chilean left, who dictated much of we see as Guardiola’s philosophy on goalkeeping.

“If you had a Pep Guardiola of goalkeeping coaching, that’s what Xabi Mancisidor is,” says Preece. “He’s got some ideas about goalkeeping that are different from the norm.”

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Perhaps more than any other position on the pitch, one’s views on goalkeeping hints at one’s views on football as a whole. There are traditionalists, who think keepers should catch rather than punch, and progressives, who see keepers as part of an overarching tactical blueprint.

“Going to Denmark took the blinkers off me when it came to my view of football,” says Preece. “I’ve changed my ideas about goalkeeping over the years. You’ve got to take in ideas from everywhere. The same ideas don’t work for every goalkeeper. You’ve got to adapt to them as well.”

Preece recognises the need to keep evolving, to keep experiencing new things. That is partly why he’s now at Ostersunds, he says.

“The job I was doing in the media, you talk about goalkeeping so much I kind of got sick of the sound of my own voice,” he confesses. “Coming here has given me new things to say and new things to think, and a new way to look at things to freshen up how I think about football.”

Coaching wasn’t always the vocation Preece had in mind after retiring as a player. While at Aberdeen, he did a journalism degree. Always interested in writing, Preece wrote about everything and anything, from Danish design furniture to fashion for Topman’s website.

“It was then that my girlfriend said to me I should write about what I know,” says Preece. “And that was goalkeeping.”

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It could be argued that Preece’s profile as a goalkeeping expert post-retirement has been greater than when he was actually playing. In recent years, he has carved out a niche for himself to become a prominent media figure. There was a gap in the market, with goalkeeping so often overlooked in any analysis of the game, and Preece has done his best to fill it.

“I think in the past whenever there’s been goalkeeper pundits on panels, I think sometimes we’ve been reluctant to criticise other goalkeepers because of the perceived ‘Goalkeepers Union.’ We know how difficult a job it can be," he says.

“At the same time, it’s critical thinking that brings progress. That’s been a big problem in the analysis of goalkeepers in the media.”

Indeed, Preece stays away from the lazy cliches and stereotypes that many lean upon when looking at goalkeepers. “The aim was to be… like how they have referees on BT Sport and to do that role where if something happened you would try to explain it and put a bit of context to it.”

Without the glittering playing career of a Gary Neville or a Jamie Carragher, Preece always knew he would have to work hard to earn a place in the football mediascape. “I’m not a name, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to walk into a job,” he admits. And so the path he took was one through podcasts and blogs and the new media – a path not well trodden by former pros.

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“It’s part of a goalkeeper’s DNA to be different,” he says, and that is in line with the move he has made to Ostersunds, a club whose forwardthinking owner, Daniel Kingberg, established what is known as the “Culture Academy”. It’s a programme that incorporates an art workshop that sees the club put on plays, dance recitals, rap battles and more. Preece, who has already performed a song as part of his initiation to the club (“An American Trilogy” by Elvis), says he is looking forward to it.

“I’ve done myself no favours because I put on a good show with the Elvis song, I think,” he laughs. “So they’ve got high expectations.” Just as long as it’s better than his public show on the Scandinavian ice.