Friday, 31 October 2008

With Crawley slipping up last night we have a great opportunity to put more pressure on the clubs around us. There are no easy games in the Conference any more and Mansfield's visit to Plainmoor will be no different. We will be doing our best to keep keep the run going. This may read like the standard pre-match hype but it's the mind set you have to have as a player, coach and manager.
We all leave the club on a Friday and try to relax in the 24 hours prior to the game but at the back of your mind you know that the time is nearing to switch on and go to work.
In saying that it's quite hard to relax when you have got a devil, two witches, a vampire and a skeleton walking around the house. The house is fully kitted out in Halloween attire and open to trick or treaters. It will be the same story at most of the homes of players at T.U.F.C especially those that have children. In fact Stevie Adams our midfield dynamo will be revilling in tonight's Halloween fun. Nicknamed the Ghoul, a likeness in colour!, I'm sure Stevie will be very convincing when opening his door to visitors, whether they stay long enough to grab a few sweets is another story!.
I think Stevie thought he had turned the corner when he joined Torquay but the nickname we gave him brought him back down to Earth with a bang. Unknown to us Stevie was called the Ghost at Plymouth, hows your luck!.

A big weekend of sport awaits with Lewis Hamilton in Brazil aiming to become a World Champion and England's Cricketers in Antigua aiming to become very rich!!. Good luck to both.

Must go I think Stevie is at the door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Pop Idol

The music industry has seen the likes of Will Young, Shane Ward, Leona Lewis and even Paul Potts shoot to stardom through talent shows. Now there is a new kid on the block and who is he........ Tim Sills!!!!!!!!!!. After taking victory in last seasons Karaoke, he went home with the 'mike'! 'Sillsy' gained a belief that he too could be the new singing sensation.
OK there's the build up, now for the facts. After sending in a demo Tim was accepted to the auditions for 'Don't forget the Lyrics', the Sky one show hosted by Shane Ritchie. Members of the public are invited to win up to £250,000 by simply remembering the lyrics to some of the best known songs ever written.
At the audition Tim had to sing a song of his choice. Then he was asked to speak about himself for a couple of minutes, he could have blown it here as their was a time limit. There is only so long you can talk about last seasons overhead kick!, great goal though. The song went well, Tim said he belted out a great rendition of Wham's Club Tropicana, then for the charm offensive and then the wait.
And yes I can report that out of thousands of applicants our Tim is down to the last 60, he is literally a cat's whisker away from appearing on the show.
On the show each player is given 9 categories, behind each is two songs. They pick a song and sing along with the band reading the lyrics from a screen. When the band stops and the words disappear you have to carry on filling in the lyrics. The first song is worth £500, the second £1000, the third £2500 and if you get the fourth a guaranteed £5000. Remember 5 more 'Timmy' baby and you are picking up a cool £250,000 and who knows maybe a visit from Simon Cowell!. So sometime soon you may recognise one of the contestants and lots of the audience( Dave start the coach!)on 'Don't Forget The Lyrics'.


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Credit Crunch

Could my regular Friday night TV be under threat?. It usually involves Johnathon Ross interviewing guests and freinds but this time I think he may have got himself into a bit of bother!. I enjoy watching his show on Fridays as JR does his stuff, great guests( the recent visit of Stevie Wonder was brilliant) and great banter. Initially after hearing he and Russell Brand had been suspended I thought over reaction get a grip whoever has complained(10,000 people phoned the BBC) about the radio show they were presenting together.
I have since heard the phone call made to Andrew Sachs(Manuel in Fawlty Towers)and the answer phone message left was let's say controversial!!. Since then both have been suspended and I bet they are sweating buckets while on 'gardening leave' awaiting their punishment. I would be really surprised though if the BBC axed two of it's biggest stars especially Jonathon Ross who has millions of viewers and is on millions of pounds!!. A slap on the wrists maybe. The lesson must be to avoid Russell Brand and live radio at all costs!!!!!.
Still on the Fawlty Towers theme and the hotel that Michael Poke(our currently injured on loan keeper) has been staying in this season is the original Fawlty Towers!. Lot's of pictures and memorabilia but no Basil, Sybil or in fact Manuel and the food has definitely improved over the years!.
Christmas is upon us and judging by the queues in most shopping centres the credit crunch is on the back burner. You have to keep your elbows in position like a marathon runner when shopping otherwise prepare to be trodden on and left with the piles of clothes strewn over most shop floors. I managed 1 hour today with 'the girls' until alarm bells started ringing in my back and stomach. The only thing I can bare to buy on these dangerous assault course visits is food and coffee so for me it will be the normal annual Christmas eve mercy mission!!.
Two thank-you's today, firstly Mel at South Devon College who broke me, in a good way though(massage) and secondly Dan next door who I have just seen return to the house with surfboards on the roof rack, thanks for the invite mate!!!!!.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Freezing cold, then quite warm, raining heavily, then really cold. That sums up this mornings weather at the racecourse. It's pretty isolated out there so we get a full range of the elements but not usually in a 15 minute spell. Environmentalists would save a lot of time and money monitoring climate change if they just spent a morning at the racecourse.
After training had finished and braving 'Hurricane Newton Abbott' the reigning head Tennis champions Woods and Hargreaves took on more contenders. Nicholson and Sills stepped up to challenge the throne. Overhead kicks, Aces, diving headers, it had everything but after 40 Min's and more dodgy line calls than John McEnroe ever received it was over. All comers welcome on Thursday again, the old boys remain unbeaten!!!.
The Summer that never was is over, yes the clocks have gone back an hour meaning it is now dark at 4.30p.m. Introduced in 1916 it was primarily as an energy saving measure in Wartime( without the change children,especially in Scotland, would be going to school all year in the dark meaning extra lighting and power needed.
History lesson over!!!.
It is now dark early afternoon which is not good. The only bonus is that Halloween is on Friday. As of 4 o'clock the Hargreaves household will turn into the annual haunted house. Complete with 'scary 'music' in the background, a witch roaming the corridors(my wife dresses up!)and the children dragging me round the village until their sweet bags are at breaking point it should be fun!!!.

Finally I must thank friends of ours who invited us over for a dinner party last night. Homemade samosa to start, homemade curry to follow and even homemade Souffle for dessert. Great food and a good laugh, all in all it was a quality night topped off with the most amazing family Photo's!!!!!!!!!!!!.


Monday, 27 October 2008


It was great to see Chris Todd at the game on Saturday. 'Toddy' had an operation on Tuesday to repair a tear in his stomach, the resulting scars are impressive. Hopefully the rehab will go well and we will see him in action again soon. He explained to me that it is very painful when he laughs so I with recommended a short stay with our driver Dave, that should do the job!.
Another player in the wars is Chris Robertson who damaged ankle ligaments last week. It's incredible how often you are injured after, not during training . The same happened on this occasion, 'Robbo', myself and Kev Nicholson had set up a few cones to do some sprint work and within 5 minutes 'Robbo' had turned his ankle. Unfortunately this means a fair few weeks out for the big fella so again fingers crossed it's a speedy recovery. I'm sure he will want to return quickly, he has been playing really well. His pockets are also that deep , I'm talking ankle depth, that his lack of appearance money will be driving him mad!.
STOP PRESS! The blog has been criticised and this is from friends of mine!. No it is not as you may think the punctuation or the grammar, apologies for both. It is in fact the lack of facts. I'm full of bizarre information and useless facts and I haven't included any. Get your pen and paper, a cup of tea and I will begin.

Every day we drink 165 million cups of tea, importing 150 tonnes a year. 40 million burgers are sold every day by McDonald's. A lightning bolt is 5 times hotter than the Sun, golfers beware!. The Sun is 330,330 times bigger than the Earth. A square piece of paper cannot be folded in half more than 7 times, I know you'll try that one!. There are no clocks in Las Vegas casinos, I wonder why !. There are 194 countries in the World, the smallest being The Vatican City, yes it's in Rome!. A cockroach can still survive if it loses it's head but only for about 2 weeks as it dies of starvation. The state of Florida is larger than England. Tom Jones real name is Thomas Woodward and Courtney Love's Michelle Harrison. The Amazon rain forest gives us 20% 0f the worlds oxygen contains a quarter of the worlds species and takes in one fifth of the worlds C02. There are 1.2 billion people living in poverty worldwide despite the fact that there are about 10 million millionaires.
And if you think that the 'war on terror' has gone quiet, it hasn't. America are still spending 100 million dollars a day fighting the Taliban,7 million is spent on the 11 million Afghans in need of aid. Still in Afghanistan during recent ferocious fighting with the Taliban Cpl Paul Knapp said : "In 18 minutes of solid fighting we dropped 176 mortar bombs and fired 9,000 rounds!.

I know what your saying 'Stato', 'Bore off' etc etc. Sticks and stones will not break my bones(were not in Roman times) and words will never hurt me, I have heard them all before: Gypo, where's your caravan, and your past it are just a few, and that's just from my family!.


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Morning TV

This is an early posting on the blog today due to a couple of reasons, namely the clocks going back and the baby waking up but also the fact that we are having a day out. Yes it was my turn to rise with Harriet this morning and deep joy it was 5.50 a.m. I tried to persuade 'Hatty' that it was still nighttime but it was in vain, soon we were both downstairs watching Teletubbies and reading Flora's Blanket.
Why is it always the same, if I had gone to bed at 10p.m last night 'H' would have been in bed till 9 this morning!.
It's my fault I know but when everybody had gone to bed, my mind was still in 'the Red Bull zone ', I stayed up and trawled through the offerings on late night/early morning TV . First I caught the second half of the Bundesliga game between Bayern Munich and Cologne, a great game ending 4-2 to Bayern. While this was on I kept flicking over to watch the 100 greatest scary moments, in the end the final three arrived.
In 3rd place,Jaws, bit of a surprise there, especially when Spielburg explained that the mechanic fake Shark broke down so they had to drag it along, Scary eh!. At number 2 was the Exorcist, a real heart warmer this one, a young girl is possessed by the devil complete with white eyes and a deep voice. The winner, not my favourite, was the Shining, big scene involving Jack Nicholson battering a door down with an axe for 5 minutes. When he finally popped his head through the smashed door to the 'delight' of the screaming girl, he actually made up the next line. "Heeere's Johnny" used to be the catchphrase on the Johnny Carson show!. Stato!.
Also got a late night text from a mate with an invitation to his birthday meal. Michael 'Slipmat, Chatty' Chapman is going to be 40, oh dear the big one, I'm sure when it's mine in 10 yrs I'll be worried as well!. Chatty was my next door neighbour when I played for Hull and we had some great laughs.
I once 'wallpapered' the whole outside of his house, it took me all day but it was worth it. Why? well to cut a long story short I found out that he and another mate had 'broken' into my house after a night out and while I was sleeping had made themselves a pile of cheese toasties, too much evidence left lad's!. It's just a good job I didn't wake, go downstairs prepared to greet the burglar's and start 'windmilling'.
I also sabotaged a Tennis date 'Chatty' had with a young girl by hiding in the bushes and making constant animal noises. He said to his date it was a Squirrel nest!, but his game went to pot especially after the Elephant noise in the 2ND set.
Add that to the fact he nearly killed us on a railway track, he was throwing a few shapes to some music whilst driving his battered VW Sirocco, I think there could be fireworks when we reunite.
See you at the York game 'Slipmat', tight shirt and fairy bun ban in place.


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Job Done

Potential "Banana Skin" over with. Thanks for your support today on a very cold afternoon. Although the performance was not great the scoreline looks decent and we have progressed to the first round proper. These cup games are vital to the club on a financial side and we hope to do well this season in the cup competitions.
I spoke to Alex Rowe our Chairman after the game and he was relieved to be through.
Clubs in the lower leagues have to be run with great care otherwise there can be real problems.
If it wasn't for people like Alex and other local businessman/directors who love the club and are prepared to outlay the money I'm sure it would be a different story. All clubs lose money even Man Utd are a bit overdrawn, about 700 million at the last count!.
A cup run for a big club is just as important albeit on a different scale. If Leeds Utd had got into the Champions league a few years back they might still be in the Premiership and would not be continuing to pay some player's 40 grand a week wages who have since left the club!.
While I'm on the subject of support my sponsor Jody Shelley(Jodes Salon) is a another person who gives up a lot of time and money to support the club, she also does a wicked makeover. My wife has been on the receiving end of a few, I may delete that or say It was a typing error!.
If anyone is going to finally chop my 'locks' it will be Jodie. I've been tempted many times, by around 2020 I will be ready for the cull, but for now a short back and sides for me will still consist of '4mm off the ends'!.

Final mention is to Albert a Grimsby Town fan and ex resident who is currently living in Oxford. He popped into the changing room before our recent game with Oxford to say hello and he handed me another gift. Albert has given me a few gifts including a big bottle of Whisky, five packs of cards, some old coins, and the latest gift a small hip flask and miniature of Whisky. Albert obviously wants me to become a hard drinking gambler! but what a great character.
If you can fathom the computer Albert my Dad say's he will put the kettle on for the next time you visit home and pop into 'Martin Hargreaves Motorcycles'. I will send the Whisky up for you to top up your tea with!. Cheers to The Ancient Mariner.


Friday, 24 October 2008

Cup Fever from Torquay to Milan

Great days!. The F.A. cup is upon us, brilliant moments and memories from past years. That's what this competition is all about so let's hope we have a good run this season and put a smile on the Chairman's face!.
I saw a friend of mine today, Richard Carr-Hyde, a brilliant chiropractor based in Newton Abbot. He was telling me about his recent trips to AC Milan on a consultancy basis to work alongside his friend , the head of the medical department Jean Pierre Meersemann. Jean Pierre probably lives near Lake Coma in a mountainside palace with butler service and enough horsepower in the drive to impress even Jeremy Clarkson.
On his most recent trip Rich was working with Fillipo Inzaghi an Italian International and Milan star. OK enough I'm saying to Rich but no there's more.
All players at Milan have a ten point checklist before going into a game, psychological analysis, blood tests, vitamin and mineral levels, and levels of co2 expelled are just some of the tests undertaken. That's before we get to any 'niggle' a player might have!. If a player fails to get above 6.8 he doesn't even play!
This ten point system has been effective in that the injury percentage has been reduced by about 96%. Since Meersemann has been at Milan the squad has been dramatically reduced no doubt saving tens of millions. Not bad for someone who was already very successfull in his own practice, but if Silvio Berlusconi were to offer you a couple of million a year at an Italian giant hey why not.
I'm just wondering whether a tight groin, a glass ankle and having to have a couple of injections in the ribs will keep me out of the game tomorrow. Oh and then there's my mental state which after hearing all this is quite fragile!. Hey it's the F.A cup though Ten point test or not!.
A great insight to life at a big club though. It's also going to be Meersemann's final decsision on whether David Beckham passes his medical, no pressure there then!. I know after speaking to a few Italian player's over the years how dedicated they are and I'm not sure how Managers and chairman in Italy would handle Joey Barton. I don't buy into the second third and fourth chances, we all know if he was in the lower leagues and not worth six million quid he would be dropped like a stone, a long, long way . Rant over speak soon.


Thursday, 23 October 2008


Can't believe I forgot to mention Lee 'lambster' Mansell. He is considering doing some voluntary work for the RSPCA after his recent impressive rescue of a "wild" animal. There was a movement at the bottom of the garden one morning so Lee shot down to discover a freindly but very thin Badger.
After phoning some of his team mates and the RSPCA he waited with the poor starving animal to recieve the praise of his mates and of the rescue team.
They all arrived together and yes it was an animal, yes it was friendly but badger it was not.
Freddie the ferret had escaped from a nearby house!!!!!. It was an easy mistake to make, after all badgers are very shy, quite big and are only seen at night so good effort 'lambster' but Ace Ventura Pet Detective can rest easy!.


X and Y

Even with a gale blowing across the racecourse training was again very good today. The gym was busy after training as the lad's continue their strength/beach body workouts. I have been known to do the odd weight session but the front runner in that department at the moment has to be our new goalkeeper Scotti Beavan.
With him not being able to train fully today he started pumping iron instead about 930a.m. Unbelievably as we returned to the gym to stretch and start our own weight sessions the big man was still at it!!. That's a 3 hour plus beasting, I know he's having a barren spell at the moment in the dating arena but that's a lot of pent up anger!!!!.
Just for you Scott I'm going to list your qualities and interests, there's the Chris Martin likeness(Coldplay), the love of weights , the love of food , the love of tattoos, not forgetting the tallness and the love of diving about in the mud.
So in a nutshell if your a 6ft4in mud wrestling, tattooed, Coldplay fan, please leave your details and ill make sure he gets them.


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

It's a Marathon

Thing's are hotting up in the Blue Square Prem and we are in there fighting. It is a good position we find ourselves in now after a shaky start to the season although a few of the early results could have swung our way. The day to day training is sharp and all the players are focused on the same objective of winning games. Like all seasons there will be ups and downs but there is at the moment a really good feeling in the squad. It's also a great sign at a club to see player's who aren't in the team for whatever reason still training hard and being fully behind the rest of the lad's. We look forward to the cup games but as always the aim is promotion.
Very tired today as I've been coaching tonight, just had my tea at 930p.m!!.
The last mention goes to Grandma's arrival. The children are excited(treats and hugs!) my wife is excited( breaks from the madhouse!) and I'm excited( full on dinners!). Grandma's journey was from Lincolnshire and the journey time?
TEN HOURS, yes ten joyous hours on Britain's road network and the culprit not a car not a bike but a National Express coach. This still seems a marathon journey even on a coach I'm just wandering if Dave our driver was behind the wheel!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Amazing skills videos

...and if that wasn't enough for you....


Day off today and with my wife out on an interview I was left with the whirlwind, our 2yr old baby daughter Harriet. So Instead of going to the local spit and sawdust gym for a big weights session me and 'H' are face to face and there was only ever going to be one winner. You would think that the morning would consist of her wrecking the house, then maybe us feeding the ducks , but no It's 2008 and the modern baby has changed dramatically.
First it was "Choo choo Daddy". Fair enough but it wasn't playing with a train set, it was actually on a real train. Off to the station we went with 'H' walking the first 100yards then sitting on my shoulders for the next 2 miles.
Why the train and where to? I asked Harriet this question and the answer was a sort of come on Dad get with it... "Go for a Cappuccino".
Yep it's started, unbelievable I know, we are sat down in Costa Coffee house with a Cappuccino for one and a Babyccino for Harriett(frothy milk with chocolate sprinkles). It's going to be a testing few years with now three Shopaholics in the family, it's just a good job I've got the boy for back up!.


Monday, 20 October 2008

On The Buses

Following on from the small mention in the last blog about return journey's being better after victories I thought I would give you a small insight into what goes on on the team coach.
On the coach you will find the back row boys, the driver's mate, the net workers and the old schoolers.
Tim Sills and Kev Nicholson sit at the back fine tuning their pub quiz knowledge or watching a DVD together, it's a cross between Film 2008 and the Weakest Link. In front of this you will find Robbo silent but deadly. I forgot to mention Elliot Benyon who is usually found skulking about right in the corner at the back, he could be making a den or collecting and torturing small insects.
Then further on are the two tables where the old schoolers sit, Mansell, Woods, Hodges, Adams, Todd, Brough and Hargeaves it's a hierarchy thing, it takes years to get in these Mafioso seats. Card schools, games and hardcore banter are found here so sit in at your peril.
Next in line you will find the net workers, DSane, Stevens, Thompson, Cayarol, Green and Poke. They will be talking to each other and to their mates on their phones, laptops, iPhone, blackberries and blueberries in txt spk "m8,g8,innit,winit,phat,fin and other mad abbs(abbreviation's).
The next in line is Nicky Wroe who is ready to step up to the old schoolers but is not yet ready to leave the net workers. He also may not want to leave his position in front of one of the TVs . The TV doesn't work but we all live in hope. Opposite Nicky is Scott Beavon our new keeper and at 6ft 6in he loves the easy jet legroom and the breeze block seats.
Then it's management and directors, The Manager, Northy, Ken, Damo and Brian Palk a club director who without fail is the first to the buy to drinks after games, cheers Bri. Matches are watched here, positions decided etc. It's a good place to be but expect a fierce text from one of the lad's if you sit here as a player, I get alot of texts!!!!!
At the front you will find the Driver's mate Mark Ellis, they share the same interests namely sitting at the front and not talking. To be fair to Mark though he has been playing championship manager for the last 18 months, it must be for charity!.
Also at the front is Wayne Carlisle who likes it there simple as that so it is!.
Roaming down the aisle you may find Martin Rice who can't sit still or one of the young apprentices, often Raiff, thinking about where to sit for the best.
Finally you will find our traffic finding driver Dave. I'm sure he does it on purpose but the on board temperature is constantly turned up to volcanic. By the end of most trips you will find the lad's down to their boxer's and rare tropical plants growing at the back the heat is that intense. Add that to the fact he always finds a better route via a road he has spotted like the B11115555566662 you can imagine the insults that fly down to the front of the bus, we love you really Dave.
So that's it other than to say they are a really great bunch of people who win lose and draw together.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Firstly apologies about the lack of blog yesterday, it was a very late return to Devon last night after the Ebbsfleet game. The game went according to plan, again great individual performances and together the team looked and felt strong.
It was good to beat a team that we have performed badly against in the past. We started similarly to the Trophy final against them, but this time we took our chances and never looked in danger.
We now have a break from the league so it was an important three points gained, enabling us to look forward to the cup knowing that we are in a good position in the table. A position that we must try to build on in every game.
The team always appreciate the support home and away, it's again good to know the journey back for the fan's and ourselves! is much sweeter after a victory.

It was sad to see the news about Wakefield Rugby league prop Adam Watene who collapsed and died during a routine weights session last Monday . At 31 and in his prime it must be a traumatic time for his fellow players, family and friends .
I think it's quite poignant that in the same week there has been the well documented death of Dan James a former England students rugby player. Eighteen months ago during a training session with Nuneaton he suffered a terrible injury resulting in paralysis from the neck down. Since then he had constantly expressed his wish to die saying he didn't feel it was a life worth living. Together with his parents he travelled to the Swiss euthanasia clinic, Dignita, where his wish was granted.
I'm sure if your reading this you may be thinking, wow lighten up mate.
But I just thought about Bill Shankly's famous quote about football being more important than life and death. As much I and many other player's would run through the proverbial brick wall for our sport, no not in football,rugby or any other sport is it more important than life and death.

Ok, so it's 7 30 ,Cam has just told me he has a project to finish for school tomorrow, Issy is creating a beauty spa in her room and the baby is dive bombing of our bed. Add that to the fact I have just treated myself to a massive stub to the toe it's time to go.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Junk Food

Just arrived at the hotel after another mammoth journey North. Tonights evening meal was another Friday night classic, in fact it was probably the 1000th dry, basic pasta dish I have consumed in my career, a sand based sauce with a very fed up chicken.
The whole squad usually eats together, then it's back to our rooms to relax. We are paired off as 'Roomies' at the start of the season and barring injury and illness this usually lasts the duration. This means you have to choose wisely or you could be in for one long season, Benyon Ellis and Rice are just examples of the dangers out there.
With my usual room mate Chris Todd facing an operation I have had the luxury of my own room for a month, which after the usual week of madness at home comes in handy.
Most of the lad's fill their bags with snacks etc some healthy,some not. The younger lads can get away with the 'seefood' diet of anything goes. In fact I have just returned from the Rowe/Thompson room and witnessed a sight that would give Gillian McKeith a heart attack. Still it doesn't do those lads any harm, they could give Usain Bolt a few endurance sessions.
Myself and Steve Woods may read the paper's in the bar and have a moan about something e.g the price of the weekly shop (it's an age thing) and then it's off to hit the sack which I now intend to do.
Looking forward to the game hoping to keep our form and run going.


Thursday, 16 October 2008

Busy Day

Mini blog as busy day today, just returned home from training, the children are back from school so it's a quick feed time/homework session. Cam is at football for 6 and Issy is at athletics for 6.30 so it's a 9p.m return to the house to face a v tense wife ( Harriet is a menace at the moment ). Then there's the problem of getting the kids's to bed before their parents!.
Looking forward to a nice anti-inflammatory sandwich for supper.

Well done England and look on the bright side Guy(Ritchie) you'll be in for around 50 million quid (Pre-nup permitting).

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I was due to be surfing today but have had to cancel due to lack of mobility! Instead I visited Pete Morgan at South Devon College for a bit of manipulation and massage,I'll come back to Pete later. Before I moved down to Devon I hadn't really surfed much so was keen to try it. As luck would have it our pre-season tour was in North Devon so the whole squad piled into the minibus and headed for Westwood-Ho.
The squad was split into three groups. A quick crash course, then it was into the water, and on this day in question the waves were big.
Two hours later we all came out battered, bruised and half drowned but with big smiles on our faces and 'sea tales to tell'. Highlights were the manager not seeing Shaun North and surfing through/over him and Kev Nicholson constantly rolling of the board to the amusement of all the lads(sorry mate). A great day though ending with fish and chips on the sea front and a game of bingo, two fat ladies and a few prizes, now that's living it up!.
So the surfing bug was caught, in fact myself, Chris Todd, Lee Hodges and Damo our crack physio even turned round on the way home to 'catch some more waves'(Point break moment).
Since then I've been surfing a few times and even kayaking with a mate which was great albeit a bit dodgy on the return journey, my mate's judgement on the water clouded by Bass beer(quick stop at Turf Locks pub).
Not forgetting to mention Jet skiing on Exmouth seafront a few weeks ago, my bro and a mate brought a 1500cc supercharged machine to town. I think they were determined to kill me on this channel crossing monster, I took it a bit steadier on my own ,well for the first five minutes anyway. We are now a full on surfing/skiing family, even the beast(baby)dons a wetsuit and eats waves,literally.

Finally back to Pete Morgan, the Guru. Pete lectures at South Devon college and has set up his own physiotherapy business. He also comes to games and visits after training to help out Damien and give his expert opinion. He is one funny man, his stories are legendary, including sledging with his dogs(being dragged for 2 miles-the sledge broke!) and sneezing egg mayonnaise on a date(there was no second date!). Must not forget to mention his devilish good looks,if your reading this Pete I'll e-mail you my address and you can send me the cheque in the post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PETE MORGAN - Up and Running.( Injury Assessments and treatment)Tel:01626 334665
Free assessments/Special Discounts on treatment for all Torquay fans.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Tough Love!

I'm taking my children to athletics tonight, they both went down to the local track last week and loved it so it may become a weekly or twice weekly event. My eldest daughter Issy has for the last five and a half years been training and competing in gymnastics. More recently she has been going five nights a week, for three and a half hours each session. For an eight year old girl this is a gruelling routine, which she reminded me of constantly when I mentioned my training schedule! The dedication she has shown and the love of doing it has been immense.
This constant training has pretty much tired her out though and has caused a lot of tears in the process, especially recently.

So the decision was a break, but she still wanted to be active, hence the visit to the local track. Her footballing mad brother accompanied her last week and they both really enjoyed it. There was a choice of events including long jump, high jump, javelin, and sprinting. Now instead of five nights a week for Issy it's two, and for the boy his football dominated week has a break in it.
I don't want to be a pushy dad, I will quite happily settle for a future Olympian and England international.
Not forgetting the baby, I reckon she has a great chance of becoming the Devon and Cornwall cream tea eating champion.

Monday, 13 October 2008

It's the morning after the Rushden game and the old body is a tad sore.
I didn't feel great before the game so Damien Davey ,our club physiotherapist, gave me another injection in the back prior to kick-off and a 'booster' at half time. Not very enjoyable but it had the desired effect, we obviously won and won well.
I thought that there were some great individual performances and collectively we looked strong yesterday. It was great to see so many fans at the game so hopefully as well as getting a suntan, you also returned to Devon having seen a good game.
My family stayed in Northamptonshire at the weekend catching up with old friends, great hospitality and wine (so my wife tells me). It was nice for my children and wife to see an away game.
They thought it was funny when after the away fans shouted the obligatory "where's your caravan" I pointed to the car park. It's harmless banter, especially when you win!!!!!!
Also at the game were my parents, Avy and Martin, who rode down from the East coast to the game on their bike, yes I said bike ,1200cc!.
I won't tell you how old they are but let's just say they are eligible for cheaper fares. I don't know many miles have been racked up on that bike but I reckon they could give Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman a run for their money.
If you're reading this A and M, see you soon and lots of love.

If you're wondering when I'm going to get political and topical it's soon. Yes the credit crunch will be mentioned just as soon as I have opened and recovered from our latest credit card statement.

Friday, 10 October 2008

In a really bad mood today but I am going to try to be consistent and blog , win, lose or draw.
I did the school run this morning and then returned home to ice my back. It's the last thing you need as a player, getting hit in the ribs after 5 minutes of the second half of a game you want to do well in, and spending the next 40 struggling and playing badly.
A lot of the lads play with knocks etc, the amount of games you play feeling 100% are few and far between. I'm not playing the violin though! I stayed up till about 3 last night thinking about the game, after 20 years it still drives you mad.
It's the same for all the players and staff, taking your work home with you takes on another aspect in football, its not just very hard to turn off , you don't turn off!!
Home life is a whole lot better when your winning and most players, managers and their families I have come across in football are the same.

I thought I would nip into Tesco on the way back and get a few energy drinks, vits etc. After filling the old basket with enough stuff to keep a small army awake for a month I spotted a checkout just about empty so I headed for it.
TEN minutes later I was still at the same checkout, listening to the troubles of a woman whose bloke had piles, talking to the checkout assistant who wasn't happy with her new hair colour. I'm not joking either, I'm serious, I don't know whether they were bothered I was waiting there but they just kept on talking.
I stood there, back on fire, thinking they must be good mates so I kept quiet and dug in. Finally the checkout assistant completed the transaction and said to the woman "Thanks then, nice to meet you".
Need I say more, it finished me off.


Just got back after the Oxford game - very disappointed as i'm sure everyone is.
I'm like all the lads and staff , really gutted we didn't win, but I don't want to get into the game, stats, facts, figures, Setanta etc I just want to get into an ice bath, recover and get ready for the Rushden game because that is what you have to do.
Thanks to all the fans who came tonight I thought the support was great.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Let Loose With A Laptop!

Hi folks and welcome, its the first day of the blog ,the Herald Express have bravely decided it's worth the risk to let me loose with a laptop and give you an insight into the daily life of a footballer and dad of three.
Up until last week the most I had done with a PC was to surf the net and send the odd e-mail so its all new to me. There will be stories from the club , also from the many other clubs i've had!! and lots of random stuff e.g news ,sport and also everyday madness at home.
I posted a few bits on last week to get warmed up so feel free to check the Archives.

Getting ready for the Oxford game this week. It will be good to see some old mates, although in football terms the most I want to be giving any of the lads is a stick of rock after the game. Oxford are another club whose expectations are high but we have to concentrate on ourselves so another good performance is needed. It's another Setanta game and it would be good to continue our recent form in front of the cameras.
Interesting looking at the Premiership at the moment and I reckon the team of the moment has to be Hull - a late run into the play offs and now 17 points already.
An old mate of mine Dean Windass fired them into the prem in that play off final, but at the moment he can't get a look in. I'm sure knowing 'Deano' his presence is still big on and off the training ground. I remember when I was playing for Hull Deano trying to claim a deflected goal after a game he wasn't even playing in !!!!!

Back to us and hopefully we will have great support again on Thursday night and more points in the bag.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Saturday Night Fever!

Just arrived back home with my son after the Stevenage game. Great conditions for football, blowing a gale and raining, but considering the conditions I thought the lads played well. Three good goals and a solid performance. It must have been a bit nippy in the stands today, so thanks to all who came to support, at least there was something to shout about against a team well fancied for promotion this season. No one knows how the season will pan out it seems open for anyone at the moment, so we just need to make sure that we are doing everything in our powers to be one of those teams. This is the only time I will talk about last season and what I will say is we were all devastated with the end result, having to return home with my kids after both games and seeing their faces it hurt like hell, but its gone and its now onwards and upwards. You can either sit in a corner with your thumb in your mouth or dust yourself off and try again and thats whats gonna happen.

Tonight is going to involve major saturday night TV, plenty of food and a few glasses of red. Times have changed, it's now a few friends round and all the kids going mental to You've been Framed, X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. In fact as I speak my kids are on the ceiling in fits of laughter watching a man headbutting a Birthday cake and and a baby being fired canon style over a sofa after over egging the baby bouncer. Clubbing every weekend may be a thing of the past but me and the wife can still party !!. The difference now is you pay for it big time the morning after the night before, especially when you have got the Beast (The Baby) demanding to watch FiFi and wanting a slice of ham at 6 in the morning, you just have to dig in and pretend you have had more than 3 hours sleep.

Tomorrow will involve watching the boy play footy and maybe going to watch the motorcross up the road,me and the boy usually both have bikes but at the moment his is under a pile of stuff in the garage and I have sold mine to avoid doing myself in !!

Cheers Chris

Tommy Northcott

Must not forget to mention the sad news of Tommy Northcott's death, not only were his football abilities great, 150 odd goals for Torquay, but he was also held in the upmost respect as a person .

Also good luck to Jim Rosenthal who is running the Great North Run tomorrow in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Sir Bobby is battling cancer again for the 5th time but is putting all his efforts in to raise money for Cancer charities. I got to know Jim at Oxford and he is a real gent. Blister plasters at the ready mate.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Found this on YouTube! It's amazing the things you can find!
I have seen the light!.
Although I have already received a few bookings this season (one for dissent and a couple for 5 minute late challenges) the new respect to referees campaign is having a big effect on me.
This is coming from someone who has received more yellow cards than most, quite a few reds for good measure and a couple of bans for voicing my opinion to refs who I think have cost me promotions and cup victories etc(no sour grapes here honestly!)
Either its the fact that I have finally chilled out or it's that the refs are more approachable this season but I am even able to call refs by their first name.
In our recent game at Wrexham we had the usual meeting in the refs room. All the Officials both Captains and assistant Managers were present and the ref said "lads I just want us all to get on and enjoy the game, feel free to call me by my first name or 'Sooty' if you like", I'm thinking Sooty SOOTY that's unbelievable in the modern game ,but great all the same and true to form I did.
I 'Sooty', 'Sweeeped' and 'Sued' him all game, he was a top bloke. No doubt I may lose it again with the officials but I do think times have to change to calm things down on the pitch .
I know ,and have had this argument several times with mates who play and support Rugby, that the general opinion is "look at those boys what an example, total respect to the Ref". Well to that I say yes true but its not exactly a great comparison. If one of these boys throws a haymaker in a scrum or stamps on a few legs to get a ball its a case of play on, all in the sport mate or its a quick session in the old sin bin.
Imagine if I threw a quick rabbit punch after a throw in I would be at F.A. hq sharpish and labelled a Football thug.
Im not saying I want to do that but in rugby you can take your frustrations out in a tackle or a quick ruck whereas in football the ref is the punchbag verbally. Add to that the fact that there are no replays in football it is tough, but the more approachable a Referee is the better .
Its a hard job being a ref but they sometimes dont help themselves.
Remember the ref who infamously booked Gazza after he had dropped his book and been booked by Gazza himself ,a big case of humour bypass there.
Anyway lets try to get on with and not surround the ref as long as he gives us every decision!.
Must get off now as my back is beginning to collapse and my left hamstring is burning in a huge way so its Ibuprofen on toast for tea with a side order of crushed ice .

OK so its the first day of me writing a blog and as much as I would love to sit here with a cup of tea and some decent dunkers typing away for an hour, time is tight , my Daughter has been dispatched to Gymnastics but my son is at Football in 20 Min's. I will have to find him first though its the "Can I play out with my mates" phase. It gets worse the 'Beast' our affectionately named 2 yr old is trying to strap her ankle with a bandage I brought home from the club whilst eating an orange, MESSY!.
Amazingly enough the strapping isn't for me its for my wife who has damaged both ankle ligaments at step aerobics!!,showing off to trying to impress the teacher I think!, but this has caused me to have to inflict massive culinary pain on the kids by cooking most meals, although last night's Bangers and Mash was a winner.
Onto football and we have recently had a few days off. I was relieved to get back after having roughly lifted around 200 boxes as well as doing a bit of plumbing, banging, fixing, shouting and even repairing, yes house move and yes the van we hired broke down..... LOVE IT!.

This week the lads have had a spring in their step and after a few decent results can look forward to the next month. If training is anything to go by the quality and work rate from the boys should hold us in good stead, not forgetting the constant banter, topped off this week by Kenny Veyseys home hair dye kit for a fancy dress party. It was SEMI PERMANENT Jet Black so major "just for men "shouts for Ken who to be fair turned up to train this morning with a great false 'tash' to match, good work Ken.

Their has also been a run of Birthdays at the Football club so cakes everywhere, even a homemade special from Mark Ellis although he would only let the other centre halves have a piece, don't eat it lads its going to give you delly belly!. Could it be Marks master plan to get back in for Saturdays game!.
I travelled to see Britsol city versus Plymouth on Tuesday night and I bumped in to Neil 'Razor' Ruddock, he was Bristol City's 'Official club photographer' for the night. The highlight for the City fans in the first half was 'Razor' bending down to snap a 'low shot'. In doing so he ripped his tracksuit bottoms right open, to be honest the Pre match pies were spot on though. I will have to go now, It's a madhouse in here, Harriet is naked outside with a hoover Spk soon.