Thursday, 31 December 2009


To review 2009 would take a long time, bore you to death, and cause severe friction at Hargreaves towers with Mrs H (guests arriving in ten minutes!). I will however give you a quick snapshot of mine, ours and their year. My 2009 has given me incredible highs, incredible sadness, an irksome amount of stress, and a few portions of frustration. On the whole though, what a year! I am so thankful to have achieved what I had hoped to do when signing for T.U.F.C and to have been given the BBC award was the icing on the cake (thanks again panel- Mum, Dad, Wife and children!!!).
Our year at the club has obviously been amazing and I hope it has for our very loyal fans also.
A snapshot of their year now, and it has been 'emotional'. By 'their' I mean the football world, in fact the Premiership which pretty much is the 'world' at the moment. Reading in the paper today - on the same page and in the same league - I see that on the one hand Roman Abramovich has spent £710m to keep Chelsea 'ticking along', albeit they are still running at a loss, and on the other hand Portsmouth having to offload players just to pay the months wages. Both teams have spent to big to succeed, Portsmouth to win the F.A cup and Chelsea to dominate world football. The difference being that one club can just keep spending whereas the other can not, and will possibly be relegated. Is winning the F.A cup a justification to spend at will (Harry)?. Yes it is, they are now in the history books. But to have no idea how much had been spent and whether or not they could afford it is just bad business. Chelsea will spend if they have to, and unless Roman walks away the players wages will be paid for some time to come.
Finally, and ominously, sackings remain constant with Megson the latest to go.

In other sport, to name but a few, we have a great cricket team, a world champion F1 driver, a world champion diver, darts player, cyclist, rower, yachtsman and woman, athlete, and gymnast of our own. We are not a bad nation really, although we do have a cross dressing cage fighter and glamour model duo to bring the standard back down a bit!

I would like to wish everyone an early and happy New Year. Thank you so much to those who have helped me on and off the field this year, and James, I never stop thinking about you. LOVE TO ALL MY FAMILY AND HERE'S TO 2010.


P.S That's the doorbell, let the games begin!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Cinema it was! I joined the other few thousand parents who had lost their marbles and decided to take the children to the pictures. After a morning blast on the beach 'crabbing' it was a team decision to go the 'flix' in the p.m. The old days of Flash Gordon on a Saturday matinee for less than 50p have disappeared. - to be fair it was 30 years ago, but where has the lady at the front with the ice cream gone?
Now it is a bag of sweets for £4 pounds and a ram packed and red hot room with a screen only just bigger than the T.V we have at home.
After dehydrating to extreme proportions and then wading through a popcorn mountain it was time for off. I returned home to find my wife knee deep in cookery books in preparation for tomorrow nights N.Y's eve bash. It will be nice to bring the New Year in with friends but again with one eye on the next game. My brother Mark and his son Harvey are leaving us tomorrow after a few day's break. It has been brilliant to see them and catch up, although big apologies Bro for not getting us both a night off to visit the pub. Next time!. Mark is currently in the last year of a law degree as well as negotiating his hazardous role at Martin Hargreaves Motorcycles (definitely the harder of the two roles with a boss of Alan Sugar like proportion!). Hopefully he will have two bits of good news in the New Year, one being a law degree and the other being a degree at the school of hard knocks. I'm only joking Pops I know it's all tongue in cheek!.
Tonight I will aim to find time to watch the news, read a paper or even digest a little Sky Sports News so that you can read information other than that of my family.
Tomorrow I am at the hospital for a check up. Unbelievably I have not felt right since the Barrow game towards the end of last season. It is amazing the amount you can actually put your body through if there is a goal to aim for - there have been many and my body has certainly gone through it - but eventually something will give, so to make sure that does not happen it is a quick M.O.T and service for one.


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Night Job

I popped to the training ground today with my son Cam and my Brother's son Harvey. While they played crossbar challenge, and moaned about the amount duck poo about, myself and Kev Nicholson had a bit of a session involving a long track and a few weights. The training ground was so quiet that we had to jump the fence to get in but it was good to blow the cobwebs away - once we had risked injury and arrest to gain entry!
After giving the lad's a blast with Pete Morgan's massage machine and then clearing the mud away to have a shower (Mark Ellis and Scott Bevan stop cleaning your boots and gloves in there!) it was time for the real hard work - meeting the girls in town for yet more retail therapy. My bank balance and credit card statements are both like a wedding cake at the moment - in 'tiers'. In fact my new year's resolution is to get a night job so that I can fulfil the ever demanding needs of a family of five!! (any offers please leave your details at Plainmoor).
Tomorrow will either involve surf (long shot at the moment due to weather, ill health, lack of surf, and lack of a roof rack!) or the cinema (actually another long shot due to a lack of patience, lack of money, and lack of back up). Walk anyone?
In the football world all is quiet, well it never really is, but for the moment it is in the Hargreaves household.


Monday, 28 December 2009


Today's game in a nutshell. The referee gave what was a very harsh decision and we lost with virtually the last kick of the ball, that after being the better team for the majority of the game. Everyone was bitterly disappointed with the result but it has gone and we can't change it so there is no point going on about it. The away support today was one of the best I have seen so a big thanks to everyone who travelled to see the team. Facts done, over and out.


Sunday, 27 December 2009

Left Overs

Christmas Day, done. Boxing day, done. Both day's went without a hitch(very rare after four hours sleep on Christmas Eve!), firstly for my children, Cam, Issy, and Harriett who had a great time opening presents, and secondly for the team who beat Hereford and gained more valuable points - it was great to see the boy's win but I definitely prefer to be on the pitch rather than on the bench, it is much less stressful!.
Tonight we have a family game fest (Bro and nephew visiting) and tomorrow it's back on the road to play Bournemouth. Oh, and also tonight, as in thousands of houses around the country, it's turkey curry for dinner!!!.


Thursday, 24 December 2009


Huge congratulations Hannah on attaining your latest musical certificate, not only have you achieved the highest flute award possible, you have also made my level 0.5 at recorder look decidedly average! Love to you all.

Before I go with the children to leave out Santa's mince pie and wine and Rudolph's carrot and water I must mention a few things. Thank you so much to everyone for reading the blog and I hope that you all have a great Christmas. Hello to all my family, I wish that we could all have been together, but weather, work and distance have beaten us.

Merry Christmas to you all from the Hargreaves clan.


P.S Uber apologies to Avy and Mart and Joan and Iain (our parents). Your presents are unfortunately still in cyber space due to someone having a complete stinker at The National Trust - oh that is your pressie by the way, membership to the NT so enjoy the thought!

P.P.S Be ready, whoever you are, to receive one furious phone call in the New Year( NT again!)



Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Battling the elements

I was one of the unfortunate few stuck on the A38 this morning. I have never seen so many car's abandoned at the side of the road that had either been involved in a crash or whose owners had found the conditions too tough to tackle. Sat in my car for two and a half hours was not a pleasant experience but I would say it was a lot less stressful than it was for the poor people involved in the many crashes that happened. I arrived at the race course to see the lad's already training, so I hot footed off to join them - still in the seated position due to minor displacement of a few discs!.
We managed to find a postage stamp sized plot of land to work on and, in true British spirit, carried on regardless. I was going to attempt another mercy dash to the shops after training today but Newton Abbott resembled a Donkey Derby this afternoon so I limped back home to a soothing cup of tea and a slice of melancholy instead.
I must quickly mention a topic of conversation that certainly raised a few eyebrows in the Rugby world this weekend. Many already knew, but more did not, about Gareth Thomas, the Welsh international and rugby legends private life. All I would say is that in a sport dominated by the macho psyche it takes a very brave man to reveal all. The last time a well known footballer did so the end result was the loss of his life. Times have moved on though and maybe the footballing world has a crueler way of judging it's own.

I will now sign off, my writing brain numbed by the remnants of a fourteen hundred word Christmas cracker I sent off last night. The fact that I am still batting the demons of 'man flu' down with a yule log, and that the Hargreaves house is filled with excitement at Biblical level, is also a factor in drawing me away from the old 'lappie'. I will now aim to beat the World record for the number of 'Chipsticks' consumed in five minutes combined with that, in no particular order, of Satsumas, Christmas cookies, and the obligatory medicinal vat of red . As they say, 'feed a cold and feed a flu'!.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Short Stay

The annual T.U.F.C Christmas party on Sunday was attended, as usual, by the Hargreaves clan. For one reason or another it was very thin on the ground this year so it was left to the usual suspects to enjoy 'Jungle Jim', the buffet, and Father Christmas. We only managed the first of these however, as we had a date with another Santa, a meal, and a bit of luxury - Sorry we missed you Dave, I hear it was pure Gavin and Stacey in your Grotto, and thanks as ever to Nina, K and D, and Rob for sorting the party out.
Having smuggled Harriet out it was a quick dash over to the Cary Arms at Babbacombe, as prior to the club 'do', we had already booked in to see the 'Big man', have a meal, and stay the night. Santa arrived by boat (good rowing Jen!), and whilst he negotiated the steps, everyone else, including horrendous efforts by Sills and Hargreaves, joined in with the Teignmouth choir for a bit of festive warbling - a combination of shivering and singing.
It was then over to the 'Grotto' where Hatty told Santa she wanted a car for Christmas and Ethan (toddler Sills) said "Open" when he was asked what to say when he was given a gift. We were then joined by Kevin 'Scrooge' Nicholson and family (Jen and Jessica are pro-Christmas ) for a bite to eat, well a full on Christmas dinner really. Jessica spent the whole time staring at me (wondering whether I might be daddy!!!!) only to cry as soon as I picked her up (your safe Kev!).
When all was done, and we had said our goodbyes, we retired for the evening - that is after finishing a monumentally long and competitive game of Trivial Pursuit.
Our room was fantastic and after a bit of T.L.C, and a short battle of wills between the children on who should sleep where (Hatty won of course), it was soon off to the land of nod. After some more top grub in the morning, a brisk walk (minus somebody, who was last seen heading for the Spa room!), a bit of crocodile catching (fishing net and a lot of imagination) and a quick hill climb, we returned home.
Thanks again to Ian, Jen, Jenny, and Lisa for your hospitality, a top stay was had by all.

Last night I gave in trying to fight 'man flu' and trying to find a decent programme on TV, so it was early to bed for me. Anyway I did have to summon up as much energy as I could for today's Christmas shopping. I usually leave it until the day before but full of vigour I rounded up the children (wife at work) and headed straight for the throat. We started well, our first purchase bought in ten minutes, but then the old blood sugar dipped and we gave in, crawling to the nearest coffee shop for cover. After a team meeting we decided to cut our losses and head home. Christmas Eve it is!!.


Monday, 21 December 2009


It has been a long time since I last blogged, but, due to levels of high stress, and an unwanted strain of 'man flu' trying to beat me, I shall be swift tonight. This weekend was another wash out or 'snow out' as it became. Another couple of day's wasted away from home and another couple of grand wasted on hotel and travel expenses for the club. The only slight high point was seeing Scott Bevan panic when he saw his morning poached eggs on their way towards him, he shot up, grabbed the plate, and then watched in vain as his protein fix slid off the plate and on to his track suit. Poor 'Bevs' was broken and the sight of his team mates in tears of laughter did nothing to cheer him up.
The night before was also pretty funny, seeing Nicky Wroe in the cinema with his one, odd looking, recently lathered in mud, converse trainer (bad landing on the way!), and then witnessing almost the entire team don 3-d glasses to enter screen 4, the 'Abyss'!. It was a rare trip to the cinema for me but with Barry Norman (Kev) and crew in tow I felt it was the right thing to do, although I had to sit away from the lad's in the empty disabled section for most of the film as I cramped up after what felt like an eternity (in truth it was twenty minutes).
I don't really do Sci-Fi bit I have to say it was very good, even if by the end of the film, and on our return to the hotel, breakfast was being served (long film!). It must have been one heck of a sight seeing eight random lad's, all wearing T.U.F.C 'trackies' and 3-D goggles, running back to the hotel in sub zero conditions. We did actually just get back in time to see Hugh Grant dominate old Johnny Ross and give us all an insight in to the world of contemporary art - he bought an Andy Warhol for $2.6 million Dollar's and sold it for $28 million Dollar's !.
After a long night spent on my sheet metal bed with accompanying breeze block pillows it was up, and soon to be off, back home.

Report on Sunday and today, tomorrow, it you catch my drift.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Gift idea?

Just in case any of you fancy a Christmas gift with a difference, here's an idea.
Sadly you'll have to fly to Prague to get one.
In a narrow street in that city there is a gift shop. In that gift shop is something quite amazing. Can you believe these Russian-style dolls representing your Plainmoor favourites?
Starting from the largest, there's Tim Sills, Lee Mansell, Yours Truly, Elliot Benyon and Wayne Carlisle. The details are brilliant, right down to the sponsor logo from last season and even the haircuts.
I wonder if they'll have to do a product recall and repaint them all now I've had the barnet done!
Read the full story of how they were found here.
And by the way, I hear a certain Jack Russell terrier in the Henderson household may have left a few tooth marks in Wayne Carlisle since these pictures were taken...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Player power

A great result last night, I had the pleasure of watching the team perform and they did exactly that. After Stockport's keeper had given us a couple of early Christmas presents we took full advantage and were by far the better team. Bring on the third round. Well done to the travelling masses, out voicing a very subdued Stockport faithful.
On the journey up there was a copy of 'Player's' on board the coach, this is the P.F.A's (Professional Footballers Association's) monthly magazine, sent to all player's in the football league. I have 'really missed' this offering, having had the last two years of conference drama. I will give you a rough idea of the content.
Aston Martin Vantage purchase plans(£93,000), Range Rover Sport(£50,000) purchase plans (RRS being the trademark car for a footballer - 'I have got loads of money and I want you to know it, so here is my really big car'). Along with the many other super cars available, also being advertised we have yacht purchasing and chartering opportunities, we have diamond's on tap, bespoke car 'pimping' (e.g Stephen Ireland's latest Bentley with pink trim and 'I love you' signs to his girlfriend stitched on to the seats). You can also get blacked out windows, for all who those want 'anonymity' on their Ferrari's, and you have the opportunity to get bigger alloy's for your vehicle than B.A Baracus had on his 'A Team' van.
We also have the obligatory player's article inside, "I don't know what to do next, but for now I have bought a Vineyard". As well as all that you can also purchase £20,000 pound watches, £2,000,000 pound houses, £10,000 pound rings, you can bespoke your child's nursery in gold trim, you can get the marriage 'package' for a snip, complete with white doves, white horses and probably white elephants.
So this is supposed to be a representation of the 'footballers magazine? What a complete and utter joke. I know for a fact that the last thing Frank Lampard would want to read about is how, if he so desired, he could get his next Porsche sprayed in turquoise, or that he could buy a 'FL' signet diamond ring for £40,000 pounds. If it is really a footballers magazine how about telling us about a lad at Bristol Rover's who is doing a law degree, or giving someone at Bradford the payment plan on a normal car. Come on, sort it out, there are actually plenty of player's outside of the Premiership, and also plenty actually in the the Premiership, who I'm sure look at 'their' magazine and wince at the cringe worthy stuff on offer. I know for certain what every player at Torquay said after sifting through another copy of said magazine, there were a lot of ************* involved. It's not a case of being bitter (honestly!) or jealous, it's just a bit embarrassing. Thank goodness the general public don't have to see it because the already wafer thin relationship between player and fan would dissolve like one of my morning 'Berocca's'. Rant over, and out. Anyway I have to go now as my wife has seen a lovely island for sale and I think if I raid the children's Greek pot's and hold up the village post office I may be able to put down a holding deposit on it!.



Monday, 14 December 2009

Making up

I know I have some making up to do, so here goes. Saturday's result could not have been any better, a 5 - 0 demolition of Darlington was just the tonic we needed to go into the winter fixtures. Tomorrow night's cup match is to be played, at last, at Macclesfield and I imagine that the old saying of 'One man and his dog' being in attendance will be pretty apt.
To all who attended on Saturday a massive thanks and to all those who attend tomorrow night, wrap up well.
Again on Saturday I ended up in the wars, I honestly think that at the moment I couldn't come out of a 'Wacky Warehouse' without a black eye and a torn calf. Saturday night was, as usual, spent in pain. The only rest bite was that of watching X-factor and having the pain numbed by a few medicinal glasses of Hendricks, poured expertly in turn by our hosts for the evening (and cook -off legends) Jason and Sarah. Top food, top company.
After a sleepless night, far too many happy pills, and an attempt at making a sling, I found myself having laid in for the first time in a long time. My parents were down and so the children were quiet, but with that came disaster. I totally laid through a non- set alarm, Cam was too late for his game (he was fuming), sorry again Chris, and I was too late and too 'winged' for my 'footy'. Some games of football really do knock the wind out of your sails, Saturday was one of those for me. I woke up and couldn't actually move my arm, I was also limping in true John Wayne fashion.
On Sunday my parents headed back up North after having spoiled us all rotten as usual (see you on Xmas day!!! Hopefully) and I was left with three expectant children and a 'poorly' wife - must have been 'food poisoning'!.
Undeterred, but with the use of only one arm, I rounded up the children and we headed, in fact walked a full ten yards, to Paul and Amanda's house (neighbours!) for a bit of an early Christmas get together. The food was lovely as was the company and the tree! See you on the table tennis court soon Paul, and sorry Amanda for your shadow for the day, and Wills future girlfriend, Harriet!.
Sunday night was spent glued to the box. X-factor gave us all a bit of a shock as did The Sports Personality of the Year Award. Both winners deserved it though and what an inspirational winner in Ryan Giggs. The SP was a great programme actually and it surely must have given any youngsters watching the hunger to succeed in sport. It did me and I am nearly 30!.
That leaves us with today and after a thorough training session, a spot of 'punditry', and some home made burgers, I am now about to repose in an ice bath and do some much needed thinking.

P.S Tennis to return soon and Dan is after blood, or a set anyway!.


Sunday, 13 December 2009


A lot to discuss this evening, but for now it's time for a bit of channel hopping, pizza, and Christmas chocolates. Report later.


Friday, 11 December 2009


It's simple stuff tonight, we have an important game tomorrow and we want to win it. Training this morning was geared towards doing that.
As well as the serious stuff though, we also chose the worst player of the day - the prize being a rascal of a top, chosen and purchased by myself this morning, to be worn for training the following Friday.
To be honest though the t-shirt in question was actually better than some of the lad's offering's (no names mentioned, 'Ty'). Anyway the begrudging recipient of 'Donkey' Friday was our flying winger Jake Thomson (he swore it was a fix and then swore for a good ten minutes!). A few of the player's wisely avoided eye contact in the voting, one in particular knew he had escaped lightly (no names mentioned, 'Ty').
I tried to avoid any contact with anyone in the game, it was just a bonus to be able to squeeze my boot on, but it wasn't to be. After what must have been only about 30 seconds a flying 'lamb' jumped on my raw toe, cheers for that 'Manse'. I know you want to play in midfield but that's ridiculous!.
Tomorrow night I want to be posting a victory blog and Sunday's post will either be entirely full of bizarre factoids (I feel a 'stato' moment coming soon), or I may have persuaded Mrs A.C Hargreaves to make her debut blog.


Thursday, 10 December 2009


I am suffering from 'wife and children constantly on the laptop' disorder at the moment (and yes I do accept that the disease has a long title!). What with the children's homework and games, and my wife's work, jewellery making paperwork, and new business venture (The lash Boutique), by the time I get to the black box I am shattered and the key's are white hot! Anyway I must first discuss the last few days in the football world. They say it's a small World, well the football world certainly is small. Lee Harper an old mate of mine is now in charge at Kettering. His assistant John Deehan, also an old 'Cobbler's' acquaintance, was dismissed after their recent game against Leeds - incidentally they were all level with ten minutes of extra time remaining in that game but went on to lose 5-1. The dismissal is a long story, but surrounds one player, a chairman, and a phone in!.
Down at Truro, Sean McCarthy, an old friend of mine from my Plymouth day's, also finds himself relieved of his duties. Lee Hodges (on loan from T.U.F.C) deputises for now. Good luck 'Hodgy'. And finally Paul Sturrock has been sacked (I don't mean finally, as in relief, by the way. He has done nothing short of a miracle since arriving at that club.
So the football 'merrygoround' continues.

On the subject of football, due to the fact that I couldn't get my boot on, I did not train this morning. I did try but It looked like I was stepping on hot coals, so to avoid any further embarrassment I headed for the weights room, leaving the lad's to it. Even with Vivek's help (club doc and demon cricketer, tennis player, basketball player, and barbel squatter), and the scalpel of Mr Percivel (podiatrist), my big 'pinkie' (now, now, you know what I mean!) is still throbbing at 50 tpm (throbs per minute). I actually look forward to my next injection with a passion.
At home now, and the Christmas tree is finally up, and it's a beauty. The girls threw on the glitter last night - but only after I had opened up and then broken all four sets of lights! What with the 'deluxe' tree, new lights, extra trees for the children's rooms (come on, it's Christmas!), and Fiona's obsessive Bauble collection I could have paid for a flight to Lapland and took Santa out for a pint on top. (I love it really and unless your name is Kevin 'Bar Humbug and Hater of X-Factor' Nicholson so does everyone else).

P.S Sorry to my fellow lunch club members, I will return. Just don't go inviting random, and strange, members of the public along (i.e Mark Ellis!).

P.P.S Avy and Mart, the red carpet awaits!.

P.P.P.S Well done Scotty (groundsman) for managing to keep us afloat at the racecourse, and for managing to turn on your laptop.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Xmas Party

Game off, nail off, hair off, play off.
Yes, the saga about the F.A cup replay continues, although it did give me chance to have more 'jabs' and 'clips' in the foot area this afternoon. The cancellation also gave me the chance to see Harriet perform in the school play. It certainly was a sight to behold seeing a beautiful fluffy white Angel throw a wobbler and run across the stage to Mum and Dad ( it's funny how a parents presence can have the immediate affect of bottom lip syndrome for a child, as yesterday, and without us, she was fine!!).
When is the Christmas Party? This question rings through workplaces all over the country at this time of the year. Well, if your James Beattie or Tony Pulis this may be a sore subject at the moment, after their 'handbags' session at the weekend. I can reassure all T.U.F.C fans that you will not be seeing Danny Stevens dressed as 'Buzz Lightyear', Tyronne Thompson kitted out as a Nun, or in fact yours truly donning a Tarzan outfit and swinging off the lampposts in Torquay's town centre.
Not only would we look like complete gonks but if I had just finished a hard day's work, had also watched last Saturday's game, and then saw one of the Torquay player's stumbling down the street dressed as Fred Flintstone, I would not be impressed!( sorry 'Robbo' if you have already hired your kilt!).

P.S Thanks again Jody, the project is ongoing!.


Monday, 7 December 2009


Without getting a definitive answer about the state of the pitch from Stockport, the decision was made to delay the trip until tomorrow - a further pitch inspection will be held at 10.a.m tomorrow morning.
Although the coach had been packed, the team was on board, and the contents of a small co-op was ready to be consumed, not going was the right move. Instead, we trained on the only remaining piece of land available at the racecourse (60x60) and will now wait for tomorrow.
A new head tennis partnership may have been formed today after training. It is only in it's infancy, but if today's destruction of messers Smith (on loan from Tottenham) and Ellis (on loan from Emmerdale) is anything to go by, 'Cartoon toe' Hargreaves and 'So it is' Carlilse have a very promising future together. After the hammering we told Adam to throw the gauntlet down to Robbie Keane and his mate Defoe! I'm sure they would jump at the chance to come down, park up the old Bentley, and take us on at head tennis. The wind and rain, waterlogged pitch, and uneven roll may be a leveller at our place but a return fixture could be gladly arranged.
It was great to surprise the children at the school gates today - they thought I would be away for a few day's. I think I also surprised a few parents, as I was late and so wearing my T.U.F.C kit, minus socks, but plus 'Skins', flip flops, gnarled ankles, and a gammy toe!.
We have just returned from getting this year's Christmas tree. It has been a few years since we have had a real one (to save little ones feet from injury, and the fact we were given a lovely artificial one about ten feet tall, deciding factors!), but this year we wanted the 'Christmas smell', we wanted the needles sticking in our feet (a warning not to poke around at the 'pressie's') and lastly, in true Christmas spirit, we wanted to out do the neighbours!!!!!!!!.


Sunday, 6 December 2009


Great to see Mark and Harvey ( my bro and nephew respectively) today for a few hours. What was left of the weekend was spent having a bite to eat and an express walk to the park with Mark, Harv, and my little clan - my wife took advantage of the three hours of Christmas shopping time left in the day.
Hope you had a great weekend guys, see you soon.

Tomorrow we board the Northern express once more. It could be on, it could be off, who knows, but we will obviously do our best to win. If we do, then great, if we don't it is back to the league and the hunt for more important points.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Building site

Just got back from Accrington. Basically a terrible performance, a horrendous pitch, a shocking ground, and an awful result. I can only speak for myself and today I was well below par. The fact that the pitch was a disgrace to football did not excuse us for playing so poorly, but why on earth they filled in the drainage trenches with sharp gravel is beyond me. It could only loosely be called a football pitch. It was a complete and utter joke. In saying that, they played the conditions far better than we did and they out fought us, which is something I don't think I have ever said on this blog.
To go from one of the best performances of the season to one of the worst is unacceptable. Saturday's game against Darlington is now the only thing in my mind. I am also annoyed that I played without getting my toe injected because by the time I did (by their doctor at half-time) it was too late, the damage was done.
To sum it up; we lost, I have missed my boy's birthday, I can't fit my shoe on, and we are in training tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. (Some would say deservedly so). Weekend ruined.
Thanks to all who travelled to watch us, all I can do is apologise for that display.

P.S Sorry Paul, Hannah, Avy and Martin to have put you through that today. The fact that you paid makes it even worse. I did buy you some tickets but the muppets on reception didn't know their **** from their elbow and neglected to remember the fact that I had.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Toe trouble

This morning I popped into the Cary Arms at Babbacombe for a light breakfast (full English!). My wife went one further by heading off in the direction of the spa room for a treatment (I know my place!). Whilst Fiona was being sanded, buffed, and rubbed, I had a chat with Ian and then afterwards took a refreshing stroll to the beach. It was a much needed breath of fresh air after another post-match sleepless night. Whether it be your mind racing over the game, or your body aching after the game, sleeping can be very difficult. Last night my toe was throbbing(yes honestly it was my toe!). Like a lot of players I like my 'footy' boots to fit tightly but inevitably your feet suffer a bit.
My toe nail is now black and probably needs drilling but I resisted the temptation to go for a spot of D.I.Y podiatry in the early hours. The last time I had this problem was a few seasons ago at Brentford. I had been grinning and bearing it for a while but late on one night, after a match, I couldn't bear it any longer and so headed for the needle box. I heated the needle over the hob and then proceeded to push it thought the nail into the toe. The relief was immense and after applying a bit of pressure the blood flowed out and I thought it was job done. Unfortunately I paid the penalty a few weeks later. I was in London with my wife to attend the club's Christmas party.
After the club 'do' we retired to the room with an ice bucket, the bucket however was not for a nice bottle of bubbly, it was for my foot!( well OK we had the champagne first). The following morning I was due to visit a surgeon about groin surgery that I needed. On arrival I showed him the 'area' but he immediately said to me that I would have to be admitted to hospital. I laughed and told him that we had planned to do some last minute Christmas shopping.
He then laughed (nervously) and said that I had some serious clotting and septicemia and that I needed to put on a drip A.S.A.P! - needless to say I didn't go Christmas shopping, my wife did get the train home , I did stay in hospital for three day's, and I haven't felt the need to mess with toe nails again ! Add to that my double hernia and groin repair a few months later, two separate injections to stop the irritation (administered by first puncturing through the pelvic bone) and a play-off semi-final (to get promoted to the Championship)loss, it was an interesting season. Oh how we laughed!!!!. It could be worse as my wife always tells me though, I could have given birth three times!!!!!!!!!.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009


At Last. A great win tonight and some top individual performances to boot. The attitude was spot on from the start, in what were horrendous conditions, and I am delighted for all of the lad's that we got the three points. We could have won so many more games than we actually have this season so it is about time we got what we deserved. We must all drive on now and climb the table.
Thank you to all those hardy souls who paid at the turnstiles and cheered us on - at least you could thaw out at home tonight in good spirits after the game! It has been a brilliant week for me and I really feel privileged to still be playing this game that we all love.
Tonight will involve late night TV, a smidgen of Red, and a sigh of relief. Tomorrow it's breakfast at the Cary Arms and some much needed TLC wife!.


Monday, 30 November 2009


Tonight's blog may take some time, so, for now, I will give you a list of topics to ponder over whilst I type away.

Coach Trip
Game Off
TV Awards
Weather(It's a Brit thing!)
Bike Theft
Track and Field

....and breath!

First of all may I take the opportunity to say whichever 'Chav' stole my little girls bike from her School last Friday had better start peddling very, very fast, because if catch as much as a glimpse of a 'hoodie' on a pink BMX over the next couple of day's there will be explaining to do of near biblical proportion. Receiving the news of the theft, and of Issy's tears, sent me into a rage that has yet to die down, so let's hope for every one's sake that I don't come across the culprit responsible.
OK I have now counted to ten. Last Thursday's weekly lunch not only broke new records, it also saw new faces. Incredibly, 'Bevs' decided to bring along the brother's grim, Chris Robertson and Mark Ellis, for lunch. This, after already keeping us waiting for 40 minutes, went down like the proverbial lead balloon.
After the initial shock the waitresses let 'Dingle' and 'Robbo' in, which was all the more surprising considering 'Robbo' looked like he was going to rob the place with his beanie hat and hoodie on, and that 'Dingle' didn't utter a word, he just stared at the girls with menace.
Anyway we eventually ate (shocking banter from the girls, you just can't get the staff nowadays!!!!!), 'Manse' was emaciated by the time his food came, I was freezing and ill (little did I know it was the start of the Delhi Belly) and had to resort to wearing one of Kev's knitwear specials, and Kev himself was just annoyed that I wasn't paying!.
As far as 'Robbo' and 'Dingle' were concerned the big 'ginger' one brought his own drink (we spiked it with fifteen lumps of sugar when he nipped to the loo, he drank it all!) and answered the shop's phone, and the big 'white' one said nothing, ate, and left! (to be fair to Mark though he has since bought a round of drinks and spoken).
That leaves the bill payer, Scott Bevan. It was actually my turn to pay but the big man thought it was his, and who am I to argue! After adding Maureen's coffee and cake to the total (Maureen is a lovely lady, future author, and widow to a former WW2 bomb disposal expert) the final bill came to.....well let's just say he dropped his wallet. See you on Thursday lad's, my turn.

The trip to Stockport was obviously a disaster, two day's wasted, two day's spent with Benyon, and two day's on and off a coach - The fact that the rugby had been postponed the night before should have seen us boarding the coach and driving back a day earlier but it wasn't to be.
Back in the engine room, and having the added bonus of returning earlier than expected on Saturday night, it was straight to the 'Chippie' for a fish and chip supper with the Miller's and then a slice of X-factor.
I then had to suffer an episode of the 'Celebrity Jungle' with Sam Fox exclaiming to her Mother "Yeah babe that's right" and Joe 'Pie and Mash' Swash telling someone that he "ditent believe it" (It's 'did not' Joe, my old 'mucka').

Last but not least, the TV awards. I was invited along by the BBC, and I dragged Lee Mansell and Kevin Nicholson with me. They were both horrified to hear that my name was in the hat for an award when we arrived, so you can imagine what it was like when my name was called out. 'Lamb' turned a funny colour and Kev refused to let me out to receive the award. Nevertheless we all had a good laugh, I mingled at an international level whilst 'Ant and Dec' destroyed the buffet and any respect that I had built up in the media world. Thank's lad's!.
Tonight it was father and daughter on the athletics track and tomorrow night it's Dad on the football field. A win is needed, that is what we have been training for and that is what can get it we all do it right.


Saturday, 28 November 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Howard Peplow. A massive big up to you and the boy's from myself and the team. Doing a really tough job in a really tough place.


Thursday, 26 November 2009


I am officially in remission. I am typing away in the knowledge that I may be called away at any point, and I'll give you a clue, it's not to go on international duty! I trained this morning and then, in hindsight, riskily met the lad's for lunch (report to follow at some point including cameo roles by a balaclava clad Chris Robertson and a sponsored silenced Mark Ellis). This was rapidly followed by a trip to the doctor, two prescriptions, and then bed. I am currently (for safety reasons) in very close proximity to the bathroom. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will board the old yellow peril and travel northwards with my team mates. Destination Stockport. Mission - to get to the third round.

P.S Get well Danny Stevens, pick you chin up 'Bev's'(broken his own lunch bill record), and good luck to 'Toddy'- a top lad, a top pro, and an already missed 'Roomy'.
Gotta go as the contractions are starting, it could be a long night.


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

'A Hard Day's Night' !
In 'Beatle' form that lyric sums up yesterday's events. The day began in pain (stomach cramps) and ended in pain (stomach cramps). In between that we all faced, in no particular order, wind and rain, a five hour journey there, and a five hour journey back. Oh yes and we squeezed in a game of football as well.
It would not have flattered us to have been leading that game by 4-1 at half-time but it wasn't to be. Again, after leading a game we should have won, we were pegged back and had to settle for a point. We have to win those sorts of games and that was the 'strong' message that came form my mouth in the changing room afterwords - the combination being so disappointed for the lad's massive efforts and also having major stomach turmoil did nothing to lighten the mood!.
This morning I popped to see Ian at the Cary Arms in Babbacombe. I haven't been for a while and wow, what a place. Great coffee, great beer (too early for me though, just!) and the rooms are amazing. Ian didn't believe me when I said that our team 'warmdown's' were sometimes taken in the sea below. I think it's a log fire and an overnight stay for my next 'warmdown' though. Calling all babysitters!.

WELL DONE HANNAH on achieving your Duke of Edinburgh award. I am delighted that you made it through, and all this whilst wearing your T.U.F.C jacket. I know it must have been a bit nippy so next time I will have to try and source you some official club merchandise of the 'winter warmer' variety! (Club hat and gloves to follow shortly as well, so keep an eye on the post).

Thank your Mum so much for her beautiful letter (very difficult to write I'm sure) and give Mum and Dad a big hug from me. Well maybe just a handshake then Paul!!!.
Love to all.


Monday, 23 November 2009


Conditions at the racecourse were fierce this morning but we muddled (or should I say puddled) through, and although the lads lost at the weekend, the attitude was spot on. I am going to have to love you and leave you again tonight as I think I may have the onset of some sort of Swine flu/Man flu/Delhi belly type virus. My stomach is in knots(unusual), I am freezing(unusual) and I have a massive headache (unusual for me, very usual for my wife!). Humour is obviously getting me through! I did the 'punditry' for the BBC this afternoon and I really winced my way through it - god knows what facials I was pulling!
I am going to toddle off to bed now to try to sleep off, or sweat off, whatever is taking hold. Firstly though, as my wife is away, it's bath time, story time, and give me the control to the T.V time, for the rest of the Hargreaves clan.

P.S Love you Mum, don't worry I am still working on the BMW convert able!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Too much, not enough

Too much driving, too much choring, too much noise. Not enough rest, not enough peace, not enough quiet. Back to work tomorrow, back on the sofa tomorrow, and back being cracked tomorrow. Gotta go, the children are in hyper mode(X-factor time).


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Same old story?

Same old story I suppose, played well but lost. I watched the game and we played really well and never really looked in danger, but after missing some decent chances there is always the threat of conceding a goal, and we did. I am really disappointed for the lads because a game we should have seen out, and at least drawn, ended up being lost. In the papers tomorrow morning it will look like a routine victory for Rotherham. It was far from the case, but if we don't kill teams off when we are on top, we must, at a minimum, not lose. We must learn from it though and bounce back, starting on Tuesday.


P.S Well done Cam for completing your week of tests, we are all very proud of you.

P.P.S Sorry I missed you Andy and Joe, thanks for today Jill and Paul, and see you soon Mike.

P.P.P.S (if that abbreviation exists!) Thanks for keeping me warm in the first half 'Mrs Manse'!.

Friday, 20 November 2009


I am not playing tomorrow due to injury so my mood is very dark this evening. Being injured at this moment in time is not an option for me, but after an intensive week of Physio with Pete Morgan he has decided that there is still the chance of tearing the muscle further, and therefore being out for another six to eight weeks. I will of course be there though, cheering the boys on, hopefully to victory.

Tonight however there are far more important topics of conversation, namely Children In Need. Dig deep and enjoy!.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Make it snappy

First and foremost, a huge congratulations to the T.U.F.C youth team who came through a tough test last night, they beat Norwich in the F.A youth cup last night playing really well and fully deserving their victory. Five hundred people cheered the team on, and they responded by fighting and scrapping for every ball. I nipped in to the changing room after the game to say well done and the atmosphere in there was brilliant. Next round Millwall and more of the same please lads.

Correct me if I am wrong, but is the role of the new GMTV fitness presenter not to fitness?. I know how harsh the conditions in the 'celebrity jungle' are but surely little old Camilla has cast doubt over her own health by leaving the show through exhaustion after only five day's. Anyway I really can't watch it this year due to my own health reasons, especially the after show section where Joe (can I be any more 'Cockney' if I tried) Swash locks horns with Michelle( I cannot pronounce 'Camaraderie' Heaton) and Janice (I hate everybody) Dickinson. Sorry Ant and Dec, even though you two are carrying the show, I can't do it.

I popped into Tesco this morning and the cat section alone had more stock in it than some third world countries, and the whole store had almost as many staff in there than it had customers - I actually (sadly I know) counted 80 until I got bored and left, fabric conditioner in hand!
If I had accidentally tripped over and slumped onto the floor down one of the bread or frozen food aisles I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid. Such was the frenzy in there that I would probably have been gently walked over by staff on a deadline to fill the ciabatta section or by pre-Christmas shoppers buying frozen voluvants for the imminent arrival of Auntie Betty and Uncle Derek.

Apologies if tonight's blog has already offended anybody, I am like an old dog today, in pain and snappy!.

Today it was Lee 'Lamb' Mansell's turn to dig out his wallet and feed the five thousand (well Nicholson, Hargreaves and Bevan). 'Lamb' (kitted out in wool as it happened) showed great patience waiting for yours truly (who had a pre-lunch panic up of near epic proportion due to keys In 'Toddy's' pocket scenario). All the same we made it through another meeting of gastronomic delights and acidic banter. How strange that the table next to us was soon being filled by Anne Widdencombe plus one. The former Shadow Home Secretary, once tipped as a possible P.M, must have been riveted by the conversation on the table opposite! Still it could have been worse. Whilst she was tucking into her meal (Shepard's pie, peas and gravy I believe) I was considering shuffling over and mentioning to her that I too was now a published author!(her being a veteran of five books already). We could have swapped stories and compared notes, her on government scandal and world leaders, me on the condition of the racecourse and the best route to Stockport by coach. But no, I left her in peace. After all I had a much more important job on, the children needed picking up in twenty minutes!!


Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Strange but true. On Saturday it was Jody, our friends, birthday. It was the fourteenth of the month, I scored my fourteenth goal for Torquay and I had fourteen on my back. Add to that the fact that our house number is fourteen and the car registration has fourteen in it, it may well be worth buying fourteen lucky dips on Saturday!!.
Today I lifted a few weights with Bevan and Robertson, tried to get fit with the help of Pete Morgan, and then returned home to relax - well if you can call decorating relaxing (it's not!).


Monday, 16 November 2009


I was in the expert hands of Pete Morgan (T.U.F.C physio) this morning, a bit of sanding, buffing, zapping and rubbing followed before I headed off to join Nat on the BBC sofa in Plymouth. I witnessed some fancy footwork first (Natalie's charity 'Strictly' dance off!) and then it was "In 3-2-1..go" for some 'Lawrenceson style' punditry. It can sometimes be difficult to comment on my fellow professionals as I still know how hard it is out there, so doling out criticism in the bucket loads is not really an option!
It was then back home to pick Cam up and take him to see Miss Banner(Cam's tutor). He is in the middle of sitting the 11+, and has been, like many, having a bit of extra tuition. The test itself would challenge many an adult and Cam has only had a few extra lessons but I am proud of him for going for it whether he passes, and 'gets in', or not.
I noticed the front page of the Herald today followed with a story about the closures of many a country pub due to the extortionate rates being charged for the premises. As it happens I was in one of these fine establishments last week (and this week!), as luck would have it it was only for a coffee, but anyway I was chatting to the landlord and he informed me that before he could turn on a light, or pull an obligatory pint, the tidy sum of £125,000 a year would have to be found for the lease, rent, and dreaded rates. My limited maths tells me that he would have to make about two and a half thousand pounds a week just to break even. Even with the takings of a balmy summer, the combination of the bills and the rates and the supermarkets '20 bottles for a fiver' offers, it means that any profit is going to be very hard to earn. That lease in question is up for sale!.
What a shame though that the 'local' may become a thing of the past. Still if the government, together with the breweries, could sort out the £3.40 it costs for a glass (large) of red, it may help bring punters back in. Rant over, and drink only in moderation.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Good morning

Another long trip and another draw. One point for nearly forty eight hours of preparation, travelling, and of course playing, doesn't seem like much but losing the game would have been disastrous, especially having played for so long with ten men (well almost nine really as I was basically hopping on one leg for the last fifteen minutes with a ripped thigh) . The sending off seemed harsh and although we did get a bit of luck with our goal the goal that they scored was a joke.
Up until then the referee had had a decent game, but when one of their players tried to play a through ball, which was quite obviously going harmlessly out for a goal kick, the 'ref', who had turned his back, got in the way, it hit him, landed to one of their players and from that they scored. I was absolutely livid and told the referee what I thought (several times). To be fair to him though he was really apologetic and he was actually a nice fella, but unfortunately when you are down at the bottom of the league that sort of thing seems to happen. We are all still fighting though and that includes the fans who were magnificent yesterday, thanks to all those who travelled to support us.
Today I will be mostly limping around Devon on a 'Hargreaves' family expedition. Report to follow.


Report; With the use of only one good leg the decision was made, no outward bound mission, just shopping! Yes, not only was I still limping, I also had to inflict some severe damage to the card.
Before this though we had all decided on a trip to the cinema (still called the 'pictures' in my book). We plumped for Fantastic Mr Fox and it was a great choice, although I think our presence in there was frowned upon a bit due to the six bags of crisps and sweets opened and demolished during the film.
I can only remember two books that I really enjoyed when I was younger, (obviously other than volumes of 'The Guinness Book of World Records' and the 'Roy of the Rovers' annuals), one was 'The Magic Faraway Tree' (no laughing please) and the other was 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. The film wasn't quite up to the standard of Roald Dahl's original but it was pretty good.
Tonight I will be joining the other 11 million people watching X-factor, the other couple of thousand enjoying a glass of red, and the other couple of hundred with a glass back, swollen ankle and pulled thigh. Enjoy.


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Lunch Break

It was Pharmacy time again today, not to collect the plethora of tablets that keep my body going on a daily basis (yes plethora is a big word!), no, it was our regular coffee shop/therapy session. The update so far; Hargreaves paid, Nicholson paid, Bevan paid, and now today, Mansell.......has not paid! Yes 'Lamb' accidentally forgot to bring his card (currently in the repair shop for constant misuse I think), so it was left to the lads to settle the bill. Well it was actually left to Kev to settle the bill. Before the buttons on the till could be pressed Bevan, Hargreaves, and Mansell were already out of sight leaving Kev to clear up the damage.
Well done to both 'Manse', for 'forgetting the bill, and to Kev, for paying, and once again for winning first place in the 'sweatathon' stakes.
By the way 'Bevs' did you manage to get to the stray hair?, because the lady opposite was traumatised whislt eating her soup and sandwiches!
A big thanks to Kayleigh for looking after us, and pretending to laugh at the shocking banter on offer, and a massive shout out to the boys at Newton Abbott Spurs, thanks for flying the flag on Soccer A.M and for giving 'Hells Bells' some decent night time reading!!!.
We are back on the road again tomorrow as we travel to Shrewsbury. These trips are always very long so it is vital that we return home with something, and I don't mean the hotel towels. We look a bit thin on the ground squad wise at the moment but the commitment is there as ever, as is our desire to do well.
Lastly, news that our local fire chiefs car is out of action has rocked the car school. Yes 'Toddy's' motor is poorly so for now the mercy missions to Halfords are on hold.


P.S Get well soon 'Wroey', don't think you can score a hat-trick and then pull out the Havana's!, you are needed on the fun bus.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


A battle of wills is now commencing. Harriet is currently, already, 2-0 ahead. We are watching 'Peppa Pig' instead of breakfast news, and we are then going swimming instead of relaxing with a paper and cup of coffee. Three year old girls can be very persuasive! I will report later on the day's events, for now though I have to go.."Yes Hula Hoops on a silver platter coming up".


I think we all know who got the better of who today. I will give you a bit of a clue, I lost and Harriet didn't!


Already a day of reflection, it was really sad to hear the news that the Hanover goalkeeper and German international, Robert Enke, had committed suicide. He had, it seemed, fought depression over his fear of failure - after a few turbulent loan moves had ended badly. His doctor believed that the player had shown signs of recovery but after his teams draw at the weekend Enke left his car beside a railway line and walked in front of a train. His wife had said that football was his life.
The news has shocked his home nation and it's players.
For me the whole thing brings back the shock of James death. James was so young, he had the world at his feet and his life was cruelly taken. In the case of Enke perhaps he didn't realise what he actually had.
The pressure in sport can be huge but I have said before, and today of all days should confirm it, that, although it can seem all consuming at times, football is not more important than life or death.

P.S Does the figure of £45,570,835.50 ring any bells? Well if I told you that Lee Scadding changed his original selection of numbers in favour of two 'lucky dips' and that he then subsequently hit the jackpot, it may give it away!
With a half share of Saturday's £91m lottery jackpot, Mr and Mrs Scadding are now very rich. They are planning to buy a Range Rover Sport with 'Ivory trim' and a holiday home in Barbados - I wonder what they will do with the change.
By the way I recommend a trip to Gwent from now on to buy your lottery tickets, as apparently Mr and Mrs 'Jammy' (Yes I am bitter) are the seventh set of lottery millionaires to come from the area. I'm not bitter really, I would gladly take the 570,835.50. In fact with Santa 'coming' I would gladly take the 835.50!!!!!


P.S A days interest on £45m is about five and a half grand, chin up!

Monday, 9 November 2009


As a parent you often end up promising things to you children that you either just don't get time to do, or that you simply forget to do. My aim this week and next is to tidy up some of those little promises, so in no particular order, take Issy to the track for some one on one sprinting (Done-tonight!), let the children each paint a wall in their bedrooms(Hatty excluded of course!), take Cam to crazy golf, let the children sleep downstairs for a night, make hot chocolate for breakfast (again!), and take them to London to see a show (I will need a few more win bonuses for that one though!). Getting an Aston Martin and buying a country mansion may also require a few more (years) win bonuses.

One thing I have promised the children that will be happening, albeit in the summer (as promised), is a road trip in a motorhome. We are bulk buying pasta, cereals, biscuits and chocolate (plus medicinal red, medicinal G and T, and medicinal travel guide to decent European hotels!) and heading off in to the sunset. We aim to conquer Europe, but in reality my wife and I will probably fall out before we have conquered Devon!.
In the football world (T.U.F.C) all is quiet. A bad draw, but a good chance to progress in the cup is how I view the next round. Fines start again in earnest at the club this week in readiness for the Christmas 'Do', so, no more wearing the wrong kit, no more lateness, no more cleaning boots in the shower, no more weeing in the shower(no names mentioned), and no more forgetting you have had a birthday, therefore forgetting to bring the cakes in.

P.S Looking forward to my long lunch 'lamb', bring your chequebook!.
P.P.S Wayne, you must be ashamed of John and Edward!


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Cup Run?

The cup run is on! A good team performance, a great hat-trick and a great following. Our aim now is to get to the third round draw and then we cross our fingers.

Yesterday, before the game, we had a minutes silence in memory of the 'Fallen'. The wind was howling and the rain was coming in as we huddled together waiting for the referee to blow his whistle. That minutes silence always seems like a very long minute and yesterday was no different. I looked down at the grass and I couldn't help but think of those poor souls who have died on desolate battlefields, open to the elements, cold and afraid. I know it's a bit solemn but for a few seconds my thoughts were definitely not with football. That is what the minutes silence is about though, remembering. As I write this piece, a list of those who have died in action in the last twelve months is being shown on TV. The amount and the age of those men who have died is very sad.

Today is a day for wrapping up and blowing the cobwebs away with a long walk, with that in mind I am now on the hunt for coats, scarfs and gloves for five.


Friday, 6 November 2009

Big Bang

I was very close to being banned from using fireworks again after last nights events. Again it was bad luck, Jase and I thought that a rocket we had planted in the ground was held firm. Unfortunately the rocket decided on another direction, next doors garden! The bush that it eventually landed in seemed to be smoking forever but in the end the clouds subsided and the panic was over. After another box or two of fireworks, a couple of burnt finger's, and another close shave, we were back in safety. Jase and Sarah had made a chilli to end all chillis, the children had a 'Wii off', and we all toasted a successful Nov 5. Next stop Xmas.
Today we finalised our preparations for tomorrows cup game. It would be fantastic for the club to have a bit of a run in the cup so lets go for the same result as last week, a win.
The 'Bevanator' felt the pinch this afternoon. He somehow summoned the strength to spend some money on the lads - lunch courtesy of the big man. We obviously went 'big' and ordered as much as we could but the added bonus was that we had also invited Pete 'guru' Morgan. 'Bevs' now has the new lunch bill record.


P.S I love you Hatty Hargreaves.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

'Lamby', aka- Lee Mansell

Contrary to what has been written by the "Vain One", I was unable yesterday to produce my debut blog as I was taking in the annihilation that Australia gave Gloucester at Kingsholm Stadium last night, accompanied by my extended family and Wroey ( A fellow egg chasing fan ). I will not be going in to the details of the score but my mother in law Trish is a very happy woman (major grief to be taken in the future, not only by her, but my wife and sister in law as well).

Thinking of things to write about is tough. I can go down the Hargreaves bashing route, as done by my fellow underrated full back Kevin Nicholson, but I think enough has been said about the man who walks around looking for mirrors to look at himself in. He must have been in his element when life size posters of him were made for his book launch and I am still speculating as to whether his bedroom holds one! So, as being longest serving player at the club, I have decided to go down the "My time at Torquay route" (easy option I know).

Three season's; relegation, play-off pain, play-off jubilation, cup runs, sendings off, Wembley heartache, Wembley ecstasy, promotion, that in itself would be a normal players career but not here not at Torquay! The thing I have learnt about playing for this club is that we are all down here together, through thick and thin, good times and bad, and I think that this is what gives the club a uniqueness. I don't think you would find a closer knit squad. It is the best I have been involved with by a long stretch and within our squad there are some real characters.
To name but a few, Benyon-the wrong un, 'Toddy'-the fake clothes seller, 'Sillsy'-the king of the quiz, 'Robbo'-Scottish , Ellis-the shower man (no wonder he can never get a tan). The list could go on and on but behind every good team is a good family base, the ladies and children who pick us up when we're down (which has happened a few times this season). The fact that the girls socialize more than the lads could be the reason for this! The way the club has transformed itself, from the debacle of when I first signed, in to the club it is now, in nearly 3 years, is a testament to the consortium and staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes.

Now that my rant, or whatever you want to call it, is nearing an end, I think a word or two about our own 'Captain Selfishness' who once again had to ruin something, this time lunch at the Pharmacy today. This was much to the disgust of my fellow Pharmacists, Bevan and 'Nico', and it is not the first time in the five years I have known the "King of his own way or the highway" to have let us down, although it is normally when he is paying (although when he does join us he conveniently "forgets" his wallet, many a time!)

But I will save the insults for another time as I am in a happy place at the moment. We have just returned from seeing the next addition to the family at our 20 week scan. I got to see him/her for all of five seconds as Alyssa had seen enough of 'Crispy Cakehead Cookies' (her name for the baby) and found exploring Torbay maternity ward far more interesting.

Peace Out !!!!!!!


So there you have it, the second bitter and twisted fullback to have poured his heart out this week. Well done though mate, the editing was much less painful than with Kev's blog. I will drop a poster off for you mate, although I did sign one for 'Shell' in the summer!
P.S Good brownie points for mentioning the staff, a new three year deal anyone!!!.


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Lift off

What a cruel game football is. My mate Jase will, I have no doubt, be crying into his San Miguel after witnessing Liverpool concede a last minute equaliser, costing them three valuable points, possible Champions League qualification, and heaping more pressure on their already under fire manager Rafa Benitez.
Never mind Jase I will be round tomorrow night with some heavy duty fireworks to liven the proceedings up (we are having a late night supper and explosion fest) - My wife has finally lifted my ban on all things dangerous and loud, therefore I have purchased a variety of pyrotechnics.
I admit that over the years my track record on firework night has not been great. It all started when I was about ten. I put a firework in my new 'Parker' coat pocket, but I was lighting that many at the time I hadn't realised that the one in my coat was alight . The next thing I know my leg is quite hot and my pocket is glowing. You can guess the rest. I had to wear that coat with it's burnt out pocket until my parents were satisfied that I had learnt my lesson - about a month in all!.

The runaway firework in Northampton was actually just bad luck, I couldn't help it if there was a sudden gust of wind could I?. Admittedly it was a large display firework on the loose but all the same the children thought it was all part of the show - horizontal fireworks are a novelty after all!.
Let me assure you though that tomorrow night there will be an exclusion zone in place, no one will be allowed anywhere near me! What with the excitement of Halloween, Bonfire night tomorrow and then Christmas, I (I mean the children of course) can hardly contain themselves.
Be safe one and all.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

School trip

Due to unforeseen circumstances, namely that he needs more time, Lee 'lamb' Mansell's guest blog is delayed - indefinitely!.
An Uber quick blog tonight as I have just returned home. I visited Churston Grammar School this afternoon to talk to the GCSE/A-level students about sport, nutrition, and the world of publishing. I was made to feel really welcome by the staff and the young guns in the library also gave me some really good 'footy' tips. The older students were a top group of people and had some really interesting questions to ask, the problem arose when I gave them the answers! In all seriousness though I hope that the students obvious desire to play, and enjoy, a variety of different sports continues. I only had one complaint, and that was that I didn't have time to ask them my question.. "What is it like to feel good when you wake up in the morning"!


Monday, 2 November 2009

Kevin Nicholson - Uncensored..ish!

I am sat in my living room desperate to think of something interesting to write for my second guest blog appearance.
Again its an honour to be asked to do this but the first time I did it was a lot easier as I enjoyed exposing Mr Hargreaves for the self loving, circumstance twisting, manipulator of all things that he is.
A lot has changed since my last venture into the world of blogging. Last time I tapped away on this laptop we were starting a decent run of form after a poor start in the Blue Square Prem', our focus back then was promotion at all costs.
What a season it turned out to be although I'm still not sure if it was worth it now that Tarzan can throw his "Hands up if you've scored at Wembley" shout in to end any football debate he may get into.
I am now a dad, father to a beautiful little 'accident' called Jessica, whose first public outing was on the open top bus tour after our promotion. It was an amazing experience for us all and the following day both Jess and my (very lucky to have me) fiance Jenny were on the front of one local paper, they also had there picture in the Herald. That pretty much means they have both had more pictures of themselves in the paper than I have!
This is mainly because most nights it seems its either the 'Herald Evening Sills' or even more common and sleep inducing the 'Herald and Hargreaves'
Both the players mentioned take great delight in this fact and I for one want to see a bit more of the real peoples players, i.e the Nicholsons and the Mansells of this world!
My two years at Torquay had almost drained me of any memory of what it was like to have bad times in football, three games into this season and it was looking like we were going to just carry on where we had left off last year. Unfortunately football isn't like that and September and October brought everyone crashing back down to earth.
Being a footballer is the greatest job in the world, getting paid to keep fit, running out onto a field and getting cheered on, and having your name sung whilst trying to beat your opponents, but when results don't go your way, and things seem to go against you, I doubt there are many jobs that stay with you as much as football does when you get home.
When you have lost on a Saturday there is nothing that can be said by a loving wife/fiance/girlfriend that can lift you out of some very dark places. You lay in bed going over the game, what you could have done differently or any mistakes that you may have made, (unless your 'Greavsie' who goes over everyone else's mistakes instead!) you just can't sleep.
You get up the next morning and find yourself drawn to the papers to see how many stars Ross Reid has given you and then hold your breath the next day in case big Dave Thomas has destroyed you in his four page pull out. (if you are me or manse you ring each other to ask why Dave only seems to have pictures of our feminine looking number 14 or our big time number 8)
You slide under the changing room doors on Monday morning before kicking each other all over Newton Abbot race course.
Then the rebuilding begins and the focus starts again ready for the weekend, you look at the league table and realise that a couple of wins will have you back in the mix and that all will be forgotten by 3 o'clock on Saturday when you are ready and raring to go again. The problems begin if you don't get the result you want as the whole cycle starts again.
I know some fans just think that you go home and put your feet up and forget what just happened but I assure you, it doesn't work like that.
However we WON on Saturday, it was a great game of football, end to end stuff, two good teams smashing head on into each other, two inspired goal keepers and a great team performance from us, with what sounded like a lot more than 2700 people screaming us on.
And so I sit and watch MOTD without hating football looking forward to the Football League Review show and all three and a half seconds of highlights that they dedicated to our great game.
I got up on Sunday buzzing and checked the papers only to see that Ross Reid had accidentally put a star meant for me in front of Hargreaves' name. On Monday I skipped, stiffly, into training, before getting the Herald, opening it up, and. . . . . seeing a big picture of Tim Sills and Chris Hargreaves!!!!!
I'm on my way down to Mansells shortly!!!
Onwards and upwards we go now, starting with a cup run and then we climb this league like we did last year, I want a month of nothing but positives.
Im watching Spotlight tonight to see our game, as apparently its Steve Claridge on the couch, listening to him talk is painful at the best of times but he is a lot better than that older guy who I've seen on there lately x x


So there you have it, proof that Kev is a bitter and twisted young man. Only joking mate, great stuff. However, it would have been posted much sooner had I not had to correct your grammatical errors and spelling mistakes for the last 20 minutes. I gave up in the end. Miaow!


P.S Lamb's debut blog unveiled tomorrow.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sunday Bliss

I have actually enjoyed a Sunday for once today. My parents have just left after spoiling us all rotten, I cooked a roast(extreme sweat on!), we did some removals, and now it's time for X-factor. Why can't it be like this every weekend!!!.
Thank you Avy and Martin and the big man up top.



Victory at last. I suppose it was inevitable that it would come against my former club Northampton but to score was probably rubbing salt into the wound for 'Cobblers' fans!
As we all know though sentiment can only go so far in football and with our league position as it is any win against any team is vital. To get a good reception from the away fans was great, I saw some old friends ('Sammo' included) and will always have a great affinity with the club.
But, and there is always a but, my club is Torquay Utd and we have had a really special time over the last two years, fans, players and staff alike. That two years effort cannot go to waste and so this season is very important. If we play like we have in the last two games from now on we will do well and the way the fans got behind us was fantastic, it was a cup tie type of atmosphere.
Well done to all of the lads for their efforts and thanks again for your support.


Friday, 30 October 2009


Phil Brown, the Hull manager, has one game left to avoid getting the sack. Paul Hart, the Portsmouth manager doesn't know whether his players will get paid or in fact who owns the club he manages. At the same club, Portsmouth, Avram Grant waits in the wings for a work permit to help 'aid' manager Hart. Marlon King, the Wigan striker, has been sent to prison for 18 months for actual bodily harm on a woman. He has also been given the sack by the clubs chairman Dave Whelan. Welcome to the beautiful game - still, at least most of the 'Pompey' players are millionaires so lets not feel too sorry for them!.
Yesterday I treat 'Lamb', Kev and 'Bevs' to a spot of lunch. I can't deny that it hurt me to spend the children's pocket money on the lads, but they needed a bit of a boost so 'Tarzan' had to step in. With 'Lamb' considering becoming a carpet or conservatory fitter (recently let down by both), Kev considering becoming a painter (a superb cameo role in the paint pot lifting challenge has spurred him on) and 'Bevs' considering becoming a goalkeeper again (harsh on the big fella, I know) I felt that treating them to some food, drink, and banter was the least I could do to raise their spirits - the banter was free.
It was good to catch up though, after all I hadn't seen them for a while-fifteen minutes earlier on the training ground to be precise!. I don't know who was sweating more in there, Bevs about whether to have a cake or not, or 'Kev' who drips in the bucket load at the mere thought of public and food!.
Next round on 'Bevs'.
Tomorrow I face my old club Northampton, ten managers, three chairman, four years, and an emotional last game, and last goal, for the club in a play-off defeat is a quick summary of life at the Cobblers for me.
Another quick summary is that we are going all out to win the game. It has been a long time since I wrote about a victory, I hope that this time tomorrow that is the case.



Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Hair raising

A blog of epic shortness tonight. A combination of Halloween preparations, a working wife, half term and a late writing challenge (Herald tomorrow - subject, Swine flu) have put pay to any long winded Hargreaves isms this evening. After 1500 words, four pumpkins and a skeleton in a pear tree I am done for, for today.
I do though have to report that I think the nine month prison sentence of a biker caught speeding in the Highlands of Scotland is harsh. Yes he was going 166mph, the judge agreed there was nothing else anywhere near him to endanger (apart from a speed gun) but said that he should be punished for being a danger to himself! A long ban and a heavy fine maybe but to bang up a hard working bloke (a hairdresser as it goes), with a clean record, amongst other, lets say, more salubrious characters than himself, seems a bit extreme.
You would get less time inside for mugging someone or robbing the corner shop, now that is surely wrong. Rant over and out.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Paint Pot

I'll set the scene, it's dark, Harriet is desperate for the toilet, Cameron is coughing at 100cpm (coughs per minute), Isabella is asking me for the fourth time in ten minutes how long there is to go and I am being slowly garroted by my 501's. Add to that the fact that I have gone from 70mph, to 60, to 50, incredibly to 40 and then back to 50 - yes the speed camera's again I'm afraid - where do you think I am?
You've guessed it I am in the car having picked the children up at Tamworth services.
With the first leg over and after kissing Auntie Becky goodbye (thanks again and have you seen a picture yet?) we all jumped in the car, again, and began the final trek home. I hate the M42, despise the M5 and am now two inches shorter than when I set off. That sums up the seven hour round trip that I have just endured.
Oh and I also got a call from Wayne and Toddy, with two hours still to go, asking if they should wait for me before they order a pint of the black stuff (thanks lads, just rub it in).
Ok I can now move on.
It was great to see the children again - two days is long enough apart.
On the way back Hatty told me a story "Once a once a time a girl called Tommy went for a walk with she's friend, Susi, a pomegranate falled off a tree, and she was three and then she was six"! Those haribos need checking out I think!
Today at the club we set a few records, the first was how many players we could fit on a pitch in one session, about 50 was the answer. The second was a fitness record, not bench pressing, dips or even rowing though. No, how long could you hold up two large cans of emulsion in each hand!! the answer, so far, 1min 3 sec. More on that subject on Thursday.
For now though it's traction and bed.


Monday, 26 October 2009

50 MPH

Am I the only one who has noticed ? Is the whole of Britain's road network now under the control of 50 mph speed cameras. Whether it be Holden Hill in Devon, the M5, the M1, or the M whatever, every road that I have driven on in the last 24 hours has been littered with the old 'I AM DETERMINED THAT YOU WILL NOT GET HOME TONIGHT' devices.
Not only that but the journey back home, to the 'Northern Riviera' always takes you five hours. You can stop three times for toilet breaks and sweet top ups, drive at 60 mph (if that's possible), have horrendous traffic en route and it will take you five hours. You can also drive not stop, have no traffic en route, drive like Jenson Button and yet it will still take you five hours. It is freakish.
For fear of turning into Jeremy Clarkson I will stop talking cars and motorways.
Instead I will talk football, but in boxing terms. If Saturday's game could have been settled on points it would have been a unanimous decision, we hammered them. Unfortunately though we couldn't finish them off and although a point isn't enough, that next victory is going to come soon and with it hopefully a run of results.
Again our support was fantastic, a long trek, an expensive day, and no points to take home must be hard to bear but we really need that sort of following to pull us through.
My wife and I returned home to Devon 'childrenless', the children wanted to stay for a few extra days to spend more time with their Auntie Becky and cousins Josh and Millie - not forgetting a little package of fur called Bruno. Yes Bruno the puppy was melting hearts this weekend, although the 5.30 yelping on Sunday morning was a killer!
Finally 'Hanson Hargreaves' continued on the sofa today, I just cannot wait to comment on a T.U.F.C victory. Apologies to all if it put you off your tea. (I will keep you a copy though Kev, and you too 'Lamb').
Talking of those two lads I will be treating them, and Scott 'UFC' Beaven to lunch on Thursday. They all need a bit of TLC from the big man, I won't let you down boys. Just text me on Wednesday night to remind me though!

P.S Just watched the final of Masterchef, top stuff, and yes I realise I am getting old ! I have talked about speed limits, driving conditions and cooking.
Tomorrow I will respond with a 'phat' and 'dark' piece of 'bling' scripting, peace.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Short Trip

Just got back to Devon after a short trip 'Up North' (short trip, mammoth drive). I am without children, without a back and without words. Back to business tomorrow.


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Football Fest

It's a football fest tonight so whilst my wife is out of the room I am taking the opportunity to enjoy the channel hopping - three games to choose from is a dream, as is the cake I have just quickly wolfed down!(one of Scott Rendell's Birthday offerings).
Wife now back in the room, football off, but cake destroyed.
Driving back from Maidencombe tonight I saw a sight which put a smile on my face, a young lad in a Torquay shirt on a football pitch on his own. He was smashing the ball into the net time after time, no doubt as well doing a few kick-ups here and there - I remember the day's! To see a Torquay shirt being worn, rather than a premiership one, was an added bonus.
I am not trying to become a football spin doctor here but after a conversation with a wise old man (my Dad), I have decided to stop moaning about the league position that we are in. In his words "Son you would rather be 3rd from bottom of the football league with 30 games to go than be attempting to get into the conference play-offs with 30 games to go". I agreed.
I know there have been a few rumblings about the money situation we are in at T.U.F.C but there are some top people at this club, juggling more than one role, so let's hope that we start winning, more people turn up to watch - and we reach the Quarter finals of the F.A cup - so that the pressure can be eased a bit for all concerned.

Now for ease of writing, and ease of reading, I will now give you a few classic Hagreaves statements;

To Gary in Australia, I am willing, for research duties, to come over in the summer and check out any budding talent that we can recruit for Torquay Utd F.C. I will obviously need to get acclimatised first and also sample the local food, drink and surf!

To Paul in China, I am willing, for research duties, to come over in the summer and check out any budding talent that we can recruit for for Torquay Utd F.C. I will obviously need to get acclimatised first and also sample the local food, drink and surf !!

To Dave and Clare in Holyhead, keep in touch !!!

To the man in the red Hyundai, you can put it in second gear, you can drive above 20mph, you can fit through a crater sized gap, you can go on green, you did make me late, and no one is looking at your shiny new car.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Get Well Card

Get well soon Dan! My next door neighbour and tennis chum has fractured his wrist've guessed it, football. That means no tennis for us and no surfing for Dan, oh and no work. Don't worry mate I will drop you a copy of Captain's Blog in for those boring rainy day's!
Excitement is growing in the Hargreaves household as half term draws closer - Halloween, Cam's Birthday, Bonfire night and Christmas are also massive topics of conversation! When the school bell goes, signalling the half term break, the car will be filled to the brim with DVD player's, crayons, sweets, chocolate and children. Fiona is taking the clan to see her sister, not only will all the children be able to play with their cousins they will also be able to meet a new addition, Bruno the dog (breed unknown yet but it's cute). Harriet will be frightened to death at first but I've not doubt that before long she will be refusing to go to bed unless she is actually allowed to sleep in the dog basket.
I will attempt to get home at some point, result permitting, as the last time I visited the Northern contingent was after a certain visit to London in the summer!.
Must go now as the conclusion to 'Harpers Island' is fast approaching.


First of Two

Sorry about the lack of blog last night, once more I fell foul of terror Tuesday!. Tonight is just as bad though, the combination of Chelsea on TV (support for the boy of course) and a lack of dinner mean that this will be the first of two blogs tonight. The first will end in about fifteen more words, the second will be late on and it will contain more than seventy four words!


Monday, 19 October 2009

Drought over

I must firstly give Alyssa a belated Happy Birthday, Cam, Issy and Harriet say hello and that they really enjoyed your party. By the way, anyone who happened to be in Bear Feet on Sunday must have seen who truly wears the trousers in all T.U.F.C players marriages......'and runaround nowwwwwwww' (it's a knockout if you were wondering).
Ok so after my comment in the last blog, about me needing to find my dummy and then being able to function properly again, how weird is it that I walk into the changing room this morning and, as I bend down to put my kit on, notice an old dummy on the table!, strange but true.
It is always good to return to training after a bad result, slamming one into the top corner or winning a tackle can have real therapeutic benefits!. The only other breaking news at the club at the moment is that the 'Beavonator' has finally ended his drought. He celebrated with a '35g of protein' drink and a 'less than 3% fat' cereal bar, crazy eh !!!.


Sunday, 18 October 2009

Humour Bypass

I am finding it really hard to blog at the moment. I am annoyed at the way things are going at the club and I am taking it home with me in a big way, hence tension at home. I know it will turn on the football side but we are certainly taking our time about it. Not many of us are doing ourselves justice at the moment, not consistently anyway, and that leaves you feeling like you are letting everyone down. I want us to be winning games and the fans to be proud of their team, I want my son to be able to walk out of the stadium happy and I want to be playing well. As we have all been told over the years 'I want' doesn't get so it comes down to hard work and a bit more know how. It also comes down to us players working together more than ever. On and off the pitch from now on is about us all giving a bit of respect to the job that we are able to do.
I can't find any humour inside my body tonight, I will try to put my dummy back in and get back to you tomorrow.

P.S Just read a great letter from a 'pop sider', thanks for your kind words, but I am still going to try to work out why my boots seem to be on the wrong way round at the moment.
P.P.S Well done to Jenson Button, delighted he won the World championship and delighted he has silenced everyone who said he would blow it !


Saturday, 17 October 2009

No excuses

Still want a win, still need a win. No excuses, a very poor display today. Back to the drawing board for us all on Monday. Thanks again for your support.


Friday, 16 October 2009


Want a win, need a win.


Thursday, 15 October 2009


I forgot to mention in the last blog how nice it was to see Avy and Mart (Mr and Mrs H) at the Notts County game. We all miss you so much and look forward to a Riviera visit soon.
P.S Leave the bike in the garage!

Sandwich boards? Are you thinking the West End, maybe Leicester Square. Yes so would I have until today when I saw a guy on a street corner at an industrial estate nearby fully decked out in wood. The funny thing is that I can't even remember what he was advertising, all I remember about it was that he was actually reading a book !!! So he was bored, I don't blame him either, his back must have been killing him stood on that corner with 20 kg on his back, and I bet that every single person who drove past must have said the same thing "Poor bloke, what is he doing there". Don't get me wrong if I needed the money and had to provide for my family I would stand there naked, hopping on one leg, shouting "Roll up, roll up".
Surely though in this day and age the sign could be left on the street corner to advertise by itself. Rant over.
By the way, no abuse please if you happen to see me next year, naked, on a street corner, and with a sandwich board on!.

I realise now how lucky I have been whilst doing my (few) book signings. After hearing about Leonna Lewis' incident I will now be more vigilant, especially with the run of results we have just had. Still I don't think there will be any crowd trouble involved at such small gatherings!!!!!!

P.S Hello to Martin, fellow children's entertainer, T.U.F.C fan and blog reader. Keep up the good work.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Par 9 !

Tuesday is rapidly becoming a non blog day, too many after school clubs and not enough time, so apologies about that. I am finding it quite hard to concentrate whilst I am typing away as Hatty is 'jammin'. Her piano and mic ensemble has been taking a real battering lately. Favourite lyrics include "I don't care, I don't care" and "She had fun and she played with she's toys"! All carried out with the most mental of facial expressions.
If anyone reading this happens to have a laser levelling business (unlikely I know) then please have pity on us and pop down to our training ground. Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, 'Monty' or 'Seve', I defy any of you to be able to read the greens on offer at the racecourse. Not only is it like playing on a car park (No rain at the moment, hence rock hard), it also has more bumps in it than Mr Bumps back garden ( I know that is a bizarre analogy but I couldn't think of anything really bumpy and I bet Mr Bumps garden is bumpy!). This results in the ball bobbling around like it's got a weight in it. Not only that, your body thinks that it is actually running on flat ground, when really there is a four or five inch gradient every couple of yards. This results in groin, hamstring, and back trauma of the highest order. Roll on the rain and roll on a roller!!!!.
To be honest though it is good to have any permanent training ground at all. At a lot of clubs that I have played for, big and small, there has been many a day spent driving around trying to find a suitable pitch to train on. At Grimsby we all used to pile into the minibus, the manager and assistant, the players and the balls and our huge portable goals all crammed in together. We would then head off to a destination unknown, sometimes a favour from a local club would see us through. Failing that we would roll up at one of the local parks and set up. It was great for the team spirit, but not all things back then would be recommended now. Tea at half time, your own warm up (optional), and a nip of whisky (optional) before the game all seem a bit 'old school' now, unless your a supporter, in which case all of the above are recommended!.
The game has certainly moved on since then though, players are very fit, they take various supplements, lift weights, exercise their 'core' and stay in more! and most managers now demand as much technology as is possible, from urine analysis to heart rate monitors, from pro-zone 'stats' to BMI tests, it is really a case of getting as much out of your team and players as is possible.
In reality though if a player is in the 'zone' and confident he could have ten pints and a curry the night before a game, he could drink tea and whisky beforehand and he could walk out onto the pitch at 2.59 p.m and still play well ( It has been done )- his career however would last as long as the 'Postman Pat' ride outside our local Tesco's!.


P.S Big up to Howard, a Torquay fan currently serving out in Afghanistan, thanks for the letter and keep an eye out for the post. A yellow shirt will soon be arriving with lots of squiggles on it!!!.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Well what a couple of day's! Firstly last night. Away at Notts County, they are flying high and we are at the wrong and of the league, they are 2-0 up and we are being written off. That's what makes this 'game' so interesting, as we sorted ourselves out and gave a proper performance in the second half to gain a draw. Both teams could have won it at the end, and a point doesn't seem a lot to us, but psychologically it is another comeback and a sign that we are about to turn the season. We have got to go into games now believing that we are going to win them and we have to regain the spirit that has kept us driving forward over the last few seasons. I'll be honest, it hasn't been the same at the club since we returned in the summer, for a number of different reasons, and this may or may not have had an impact on the pitch, but one thing is for sure, whoever plays it doesn't really matter what matters is Torquay United not being at the bottom of the league. That is the only objective for everybody.

Mr and Mrs Miller.

What a day! Congratulations to Jason and Sarah. It was a great day, an awesome location, unbelievable weather (mid October), top food and drink, and not a bad bride and bridegroom!! Sarah looked stunning (Jas looked OK!), as did daughter's (and bridesmaids) Ruby and Zoe. The ceremony was lovely, but as I had volunteered to do a bit of cam cording I didn't really take it in. I was far to busy getting a good view of Sarah (sorry about the close ups!) as she made her way down the aisle. Incredibly Sarah's dad gave me a camcorder with only 59 minutes of space on it! The ceremony alone lasted 32 minutes and the first speech lasted 35!!!!(Lindsey it was good but long!)so you don't have to be a genius to work out that the wedding video was now done.
I thought I had a back up though as another guest (Damien) told me to relax as he had 2 hours of battery left. But no, two minutes into the 'Best Girls' speech he turned to me and said the dreaded words "Battery is dead". I was now down to the little 'Busbi' camera I use for the blog videos. I did as much as I could but then another disaster, as I was trying to press the record button, which was playing up, I noticed that there seemed to be one less video on it. I pressed it again to try to record again and the full horror hit me. The nasty little machine was now possessed, the record button was now the delete button as well! Add that to the fact that four of the children at the wedding were playing with it in the marquee, I almost dare not look at what is left on it.
Still it doesn't matter, that wedding will stay in the memory of everyone for a long, long time. It was, as they say, perfect.


Friday, 9 October 2009


Apologies all round for not mentioning the ups and downs, the tears and tantrums and the ins and outs of my teammates lives over the last few weeks. Self absorbed with my own family tribulations, and training schedule, I know that I have neglected the 'lads'. so let us begin. Martin 'Gallagher' Rice has left the car school to join an Oasis tribute band, and to play for Truro. Scott Beaven is still on the longest barren spell known to man, he is still lifting weights 24/7 and has upped his protein intake to around 400g a day. Michael Poke is now a dad, no sleep and no money the theme there. 'Lamb' Mansell has been trying a Tommy Walsh with his new conservatory, he has trimmed the wool ever so slightly and is also trying to create a breakaway card school - Love to all the extended lamb clan.
Kev has been spending time at Jodes trying to get the 'Jude' look, eating at various tea rooms around the Riviera, hating my lack of contact, hammering the lads for not getting on the end of his corners and playing with cats and mice (it's still me and you mate!). 'Robbo' has as usual been spending as little as possible. Danny is still totally dominating 'Robbo'. Elliott keeps pretending to go in to the 'crusty loaf'. 'Hodgy' has gone to Truro on loan, a big loss to the card school. Stevie has been ill and is almost translucent.
Tyronne has been driving his new merc around Torquay with windows down and music booming, so has Scotty Rendell but with better music! Scott now has the longest hair at the club.."Gypo...Gypo....Gypo".
Nicky Wroe has stopped cycling 200 miles a week and has now put his bike in the garage for the winter
Mark Ellis has been winning MOM's and driving to Bolton to see his girlfriend and to check on JJ. 'Sillsy' is now a weights room demon and is also aiming to become a pianist. 'Toddy' has been enjoying the new baby (not his car), and trips to his beloved Swansea. 'Joycie' still hasn't spoken. Kieran Charnock has been doing core for the last three months, and is constantly sweating! Wayne has been painting the new nursery and buying every conceivable item needed for a baby.
Danny Mills and Marvin have bought a chemistry set.
And finally, I have got a cold neck!.
Apologies if I have left anyone out.
Those goof balls are a top bunch though and I know that they are a full 5% behind me too. Love you lads.

P.S MASSIVE shout out to Jase and Sarah who are getting married tomorrow. Since moving our little family down to Devon you guys have been brilliant mates. We have dined in and dined out, we have been clubbing and been caravaning, we have laughed and cried (Wembley, and you three at X-factor). There has been surf, tattoos, bombs and magnums, but most of all there has been friendship. Hope you have a great day tomorrow and if either of you change your mind at the last minute we can put up a spare bed in no time!!!!! That's what friends are for!.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Another strange night of football, a competition we don't need to be in now out of the way, and no injuries. That is my summary of last nights game. Don't get me wrong it would have been great to win it, and it was very nearly a reality, but we didn't and so now it's back to the league and the hunt for points starts again on Sunday.
Tonight I have had a home visit. No, it's not care for the elderly or rent a meal, it was in fact my 'personal stylist' Jody! Part of the care involved, with a cut of the mammoth proportions that I have just had, is aftercare. This comes in the form of therapy and tweaking. The therapy part is the part where I am told 'it's for the best' and the tweaking is the part where I have more hair cut off!!.
To be honest I needed a change and Jody is a great hairdresser so something had to give.
On the home front I am now leaning towards cookery as my new 'toad of toad hall' type hobby. It is still a surfing, motocross and tennis love affair but having watched Masterchef over the last few weeks, as well as Jamie's Road Trip, I am now entering the kitchen with new vigour.... come on Greavsie who are you kidding, your wife has gone back to work and you have had to pull your finger out and step up your game on the old culinary front - children need feeding.
Today though my biggest concern was the little man in the household, CH junior has the 'lurgy' and so the last 24 hours has involved dettol spraying every single surface and item in the house with 'ghostbuster' type efficiency. Tomorrow I aim to batter Dan at tennis, produce a banoffee pie, do 500 press ups, and go for a run.
Got to go now as I have a slow cooking Chilli that needs attention!!!