Saturday, 31 January 2009

Shocked

I have just returned home after the Southport game and am still in shock. All I can say is that it wasn't good enough today. Apologies for all those who travelled to see that performance. We are in at 9 a.m tomorrow morning for training and have now got to forget Cup competitions and return to winning ways in the league on Tuesday. Promotion can still be had and is our only thought.
But tomorrow will not be all about football, it will be about a young man who has shown tremendous character and strength and a great girl who will soon be Mrs Todd.
Chris and Gemma, see you tomorrow.

CH

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Home Alone - ish

All quiet tonight, my Wife has taken Cam and Issy to football and athletics respectively while she in turn puts in a last blast at step aerobics before Toddy's wedding on Sunday - why is it women never eat leading up to big events, get stressed out because their outfits aren't right and then moan that they haven't had enough time to prepare?, or is it just me ?.
I am therefore just left with the task of entertaining, feeding and then putting to bed our little firecracker 'Hatty' - easier said than done. Whilst doing that I am trying to fill out a tax return which is winding me up big time. I phoned our friendly comrades at the inland revenue the other day and found myself on hold for 10 Min's. Unbelievably while on hold I had to listen to a sub-standard version of the song my Wife and I walked down the aisle to.
All the same it did bring back memories of that day, glorious weather, great friends and all our families present made for a fantastic Wedding day. It was incredible, the castle, the string quartet, the sumptuous food, in fact had I of found the right bride it would have been perfect - I'm obviously joking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
The combination of incredible heat on that sunny day in June though and an obscene amount of Champagne meant that some guests struggled to last the course but isn't that what a good wedding is all about? If someone doesn't fall over the back of an antique Chez Lounge ( Catrina ), miss the first course ( Auntie Margaret ) or throw shapes on the dance floor like MC Hammer ( Chatty ) it's a bit of a bad job. Watch this space for a run down on casualties at Toddy's wedding!.

Back on the road tomorrow as we travel up to Southport. I can't wait to reacquaint myself with my concrete seat and to witness Dave our driver crank up his traffic finder. No let up in requirements, we would all like to go to Wembley again hence victory is needed.

CH

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Tools of the Trade

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Boot-cleaning and looking ahead...

Long Way Round

I eventually stumbled into the house this morning at 4 a.m , after one heck of a journey back from Lewes. First and foremost obviously we won and won well. We needed a victory and a great team effort ensured that we got it. What a great sight it was to be playing towards our fans in both half's - incredible to see so many turn up and give the place some atmosphere.
Having to stay overnight for away games means it can be a long drawn out process, so entertainment levels can become desperate. The last time we stayed in Brighton, as blog readers will know, ended up with some of the team having a 'refreshing' dip in the sea - we all agreed that a return fixture was unnecessary, this time deciding that a relaxing stroll on Brighton Pier would be more sensible!.
Saying that we nearly lost Stevie 'Ghoul' Adams who nipped to see his mates in the Ghost train, only surfacing when some people complained that he was too realistic!- a cheap dig mate I know but anyway well played last night on your return and also what a great 'Roomy', although the nakedness straight away was a bit of a shocker, even for my high naturist standards.
The night before the game a few of the lads, encouraged by 'Barry Norman' himself Kevin Nicholson decided to go to the Cinema to watch the Wrestler. The title didn't bode well so myself and Stevie Adams ducked out and gave Brighton's 'livelier areas' a once over instead. Woods, Mansell, Sills and a reluctant Nicholson admitted that the £12 for the entrance fee and the pick and mix was money not well spent. I've told you Kev not to take on board reviews from 'Electric Showers Weekly'
Another interesting incident on the Pier involved Elliot Benyon our 'den' loving 'aardvark fan' striker. About halfway down the Pier we looked down to the sea, about a fifty foot drop, and discussed how long it would take, after jumping in, to swim back to shore. We reckoned about 25 Min's. Elliot suggested he would do it for £100. Knowing that the drop alone could result in major injury as well as the fact that the current was very strong it was amazing to see how many of the lads were offering Elliot the money to jump - I think there is a strong message in there somewhere!!!.
Another first was seeing the Beavonator stand next to a height chart for a ride and be too tall for it !.


So with the game done and dusted it was time for the journey home. A heavy blow to both knees just before the final whistle ensured that I was in pain all the way back. Ice packs to both knees and a dickey tummy doesn't mix well. A lot of the lads get bad stomach ache after games, a combination of nervous energy, caffeine, pain-killers and pain! can be a pretty volatile mix. Last night's winner on that front was Chris Robertson our 'never been Scottish' centre half. The toilet area had to be roped off for Health and Safety reasons.
The rest of the lads were as follows:
Mark Ellis was keeping( or not) his mate and our driver Dave ( who's banter is late 70's, minimum! ) awake. Dave chose a quick route back, mountainous and bumpy!!. Wayne Carlilse also had stomach turmoil. Rosco and Matt Green were asleep. Tyronne was talking to himself. Steve Woods and Lee Mansell were watching a war DVD, officially out of the circle!. 'Muzzi' was 'face booking' whilst laughing on his mobile for 4 hours. Scott Beavan was doing press-ups and pull ups at 12 0'clock. Danny and Elliot were giggling away at the back of the coach, playing Pro- evo and mixing potions !!. Kev Nicholson was staring into his phone hoping for a call ( he didn't get one ) and desperately missing his quiz mate Tim Sills who had gone home with Mrs Sills. And Chris Hargreaves was semi-naked with knee and stomach trauma whilst watching the combined deaths of around 2000 people ( 300, Braveheart and Band of Brothers on view).
Must not forget the Ghoul who travelled back with Damien. 'Damo' was struggling to stay awake until the 'Ghoul' screamed at him to avoid a speed camera. This resulted in Damo spilling and then sitting in ice cold coke for most of the journey. Although he did say this morning that Stevie's presence alone was keeping him awake!!!.
So I crawled into bed at 4.a.m feeling sick and not able to roll over. Harriet came into bed at 6.30 and so here we are. Was it all worth it? Of course it was, we got 3 points!!!.

CH

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

It's the wife again!

Hi apologies for not taking to the laptop last night, I just simply ran out of time and energy. I had agreed to do the blog in the absence of CH, as the lads travelled to Brighton ahead of their game this evening.

The boys will be away alot this week and to be honest it give me a welcome break from football. I did not make the game at the weekend as Isabella had a throat infection. I didn't mind, I have been to many of these 'big' games before and although we were not there in body to support Dad he's knows how much we think of him and that he will give it everything.
So the girls stayed at home at relaxed. Mama mia and Camp Rock were on the menu, and what a lovely afternoon we had..

It's a strange time at the moment and I've gone into 'survival mode'. We are having a good season, although sometimes it may not feel like it, and I think that some people forget that. The lads are under a lot of pressure to perform and it does tend to come home with them. Unfortunately there is no escape. Everyone wants to talk to you about it from the school gate, supermarket, to the queue for loo in M&S!!! I don't mind as people are always complimentary and of course it's his job and with that comes certain responsibilities.
However at the moment with the end of the season in sight and our future a little uncertain I will enjoy taking a step away from football banter this week and concentrate on the children. Who knows what the future may hold so I will do my thing get head around it and prepare for every eventuality.

I won't be listening to the game, or watching the scores coming in on Setanta that's just to painful. Plus I have to make a Roman Gladiator costume for Cameron by tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!! I will wait for the phone call!!

Bye for now and good luck for tonight boys.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Blues Over

Back to work tomorrow as millions are, just in different circumstances. We will train in the morning then travel to Brighton where we are staying before the Lewes game. Then it's back to business, a case of picking up valuable points in the league.
I will have to stop typing now as my wife is watching 'Box-Aerobics' in the background - not working out just watching whilst quaffing white wine!!. Surely there is more on TV than that!.
Back in Devon Wednesday 03.00 Hours. Speak again then.

CH

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Gutted

Lost. Set piece 87th Min. Game over. Oh and a broken nose after 20 mins.
Thanks for your fantastic support, what an atmosphere today. I should be writing this whilst looking forward to the 5th round draw but as we all know this game has a nasty habit of kicking you in the .............


CH

Skill Spot

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Thursday, 22 January 2009

At home with the Hargreaves

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Join us as we return from a typical afternoon out.....

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

On the beach



View all our Torquay United videos

Steve Woods takes over camera duties to capture the lads' early morning visit to Brighton beach...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Kevin Nicholson - 'My Story' (uncensored)

I’m going to enjoy this and I want the un-edited version to be shown!!!

Can I just say that it is an honour and a pleasure to be invited to write on such a stage as the "Captains Blog"

First things first, Chris Hargreaves is a great man! If he is editing this he may just leave it there but I hope he allows me my say.

He is a talented footballer with exceptional levels of fitness and determination, he has a will to win which is rivalled only by a select few greats of the game and a physique which makes you forget that he is nearing fifty and has been in the game of football for at least three decades.

He is a moderately attractive man who has worked hard with the hand god has dealt him. He dresses well, although it must be tiring to find adult looking t-shirts in Baby Gap, and his shiny gypsy like hair stands him apart from most men.

He snagged the gorgeous Fiona at school so she can’t be blamed for "settling" for him as she was young and was not given a fighting chance of spreading her wings and ending up with some one more in her league.
This said between them they have brought into the world 3 great kids who could probably get by on their looks alone but have all been gifted with talents of their own and personalities to go with it, I am expecting big things from them all.

‘Greavsie’ dotes on his family and his love for them is over shadowed only by his love for himself and on this note I will begin "My Side of the Story"

He has taken great delight trying to tarnish my good name on this blog, painting a picture of me as a paranoid, OCD suffering hater of all things, but this is his true talent.
They say you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. . . well Greavsie could!! If he was a defence lawyer he would have a back log of criminals holding smoking guns safe in the knowledge that Torquay Utd's number 14 will talk any judge round and get them off Scott free.
He is the master of manipulation, the worlds greatest blag artist.

My first dealings with "Tarzan" were many years ago at Northampton Town where he was a legend, however in my time there he didn't say a word to me preferring to ignore the young lad and focus on his love for Vivienne Westwood jackets.

We met up again at the start of last season and ended up living in Toddys’ old house, this is where I first learned of his ability to change his mind and opinion at record speed, and how he could hypnotise me into taking him house hunting in the middle of pre-season while my legs were ready to drop off.

He talks about my love of showers but fails to mention his love at taking all his clothes off at random times of the day and doing press ups in the kitchen through fear of father time catching up with him.

The first time he met my fiance, Jenny, he was sat topless doing his beloved "peck dance" and he immediately turned her on me which resulted in me not being able to shower for a week without 3rd degree burns while they sat down stairs turning the cold water on and off laughing at my high pitched screams of frustration!

In the early days of this blog he talked about the pub quiz we had on the way to an away game and how he led his team to a glorious victory. He was actually on my team and I sat with a pen and paper next to him while he confidently looked me the eye and gave me the "correct" answers of which about 75% were wrong, at no point listening to me or Wayne Carlisle’ desperate attempt to contribute and stave of an embarrassing defeat.

In training we do possession circles where the aim of the game is to keep the ball away from the 2 chasing players in the middle of the circle with 1 and 2 touch passes. The person who gives the ball away then takes over in the middle, unless you are Hargreaves in which case you pass the ball to the players in the middle then look at the person next to you, whose eyes then glaze over and he awakens in the middle of the circle alongside another hapless victim chasing the ball and wondering what has just happened!

Finally. . . HEAD TENNIS!!!!
Hargreaves, Woods, Hodges versus Brough, Nicholson, Mansell
Every week the same happens.
C.H stands in a corner next to the net, his partners run around and feed him the ball, he chests the ball over the net, shouts "TRADE MARK" at the top of his voice then runs around screaming and laughing like a 5 yr old whether he scores a point or not.
The rally continues until he decides he has had enough at which point he generally catches the ball and, with his two ageing groupies stood behind him, cheats us out of another hard earned point with more talk and mind games!
The next I see of it is when he has rushed home told the kids how "daddy pulled his team back from the brink" and posts more lies on this blog.

One day we will out and out destroy the 3 old amigo's and he will be forced to admit defeat on this blog but until then I can only hope that you have read this and had an insight into the real Chris Hargreaves and that he may apologise to me for the slander that has been thrown my way on this blog.

Probably not though!!!

Love you Tarzan x x x

Monday, 19 January 2009

Quote of the Day

I was reading the observer the other day ( as you do !!!) and in the sport section David Hills, the sports writer, gave a great insight into today's ruthless game in the form of some wild quotes by players, managers and Chairman alike. Here are a few of my favourites.

James Beattie, November 2008, furious at reports that he may leave Sheffield Utd in January: " My long-term future is here - I'd be happy to finish my career at United. I came here to do a job, to get us back in the top flight. Why would I want to leave for another club? I've never been happier anywhere."
On joining Stoke this January " I'm delighted ". I'm sure you are.. Ker-ching !!!.

Craig Bellamy December 2008: " It's that time of year again- there's always a lot of specultion about people going in the transfer window. But I'm very happy at West Ham-I'm never going to go in and ask for a move."
16 Jan: Goes in and asks for a move.

Real Madrid chief Ramon Calderon, January 14: " We were all unpleasantly surprised to read the allegations made by the newspaper( Marca). The media must stop publishing lies. I've put a lot of effort into this job. Why should I resign ? It's not in my character to resign, and it would not help my team. It would be irresponsible."
Two days later Jan 16 he resigns. 48 hours is a long time in Football.

Closer to home and staying with managers I played against an old mate the other month, Darren Stamp the former Northampton and Chester player. We had a laugh after the game about an incident that had happened to him while at Northampton.
Not being in the team usually means unrest for a player, maybe transfer talk and maybe heart-to-hearts with the gaffer. On this occasion 'Stampy' was called into the office by the then manager Martin Wilkinson as talk of a move was imminent. On arrival at the club Darren bumped into the Manager outside the club shop who said "Stampy how has it come to this?". His reply " Because your selling me to Chester for ten grand, that's how"
The Manager then told Stampy to wait in the club shop and that he would have a proper chat about it 'man to man. ' Stampy waited and then watched as the gaffer walked through the club shop, out of the back entrance and into his car!. That was the last time they spoke, and yes he signed for Chester for Ten grand.

It's a funny old game, yes it's hilarious in fact Brazilian club Gremio have sanctioned a new policy of giving their players Viagra before high-altitude Copa Libertadores games. Known to give improved oxygenation to the blood they reckon it will give the boys a real edge to their performances. They could be right and apparently all players wives and girlfriends have fully endorsed the product !!!!!.

CH

NB: I am currently waiting for an E-mail from Kevin Nicholson. Titled 'My Side of the Story' it is a chance for him to get his own back on me for the months of abuse I have subjected him to- fairly of course !. Watch this space for said blog, once it has been given the once over and fully edited by yours truly.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Moody Blues

Well what can I say, only that I've been in an extremely bad mood today and it's not lifting. After 19 years I still can't get my head around defeats, or draws that seem like defeats. The performance wasn't great but we still should have won.
What can we do?, nothing just get back on the training ground on Monday and look forward to a great game on Saturday.
With that in mind I should have shaken my mood by about Wednesday, till then the wife and kids will be in hiding. (only joking!!!)

CH

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Supper Time

Tomorrow we face Wrexham, it will be a tough game but they all are so there's nothing new in that. As usual we are looking to gain three points and hopefully start to hunt down Burton.

I have been hammering it a bit in training this week and with that in mind I bid you farewell as I have a date with some good friends of mine. Voltarol, Crushed Ice and High Strength Multi-Vit are joining me for a spot of supper.

Bon Appetit !!!

CH

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Return of the Todd

The Setanta cameras were in today to film Chris Todds comeback. Also present were the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and CNN as well as representatives from Mens Health, Vogue, Horse and Hounds, Homes and Gardens and The Beano.
Well ok, maybe I have over egged the pudding a bit but you get the message. A rapid fire return for Toddy, it seems remarkable that in such a short time he has made such massive progress. This could be down to several reasons.
Our crack Physio Damien Davey, not his treatment but his high quality banter- they say laughter is the best medicine . The air quality on the coast- years ago if you were ill it was off to the seaside for a stick of rock and some deep breathing. Or could it be a one-a-day tablet and a big portion of will power. Lets call it a combination of all four.
Training was also filmed with a few of the lads finding some 'bobbles' and 'shin' touches.
One man was certainly up for it today, Martin ' Get on Mart' Rice was throwing himself everywhere, pulling off some Banks like saves. Well done Mart but I think trying to get a copy for all the family is milking it a bit !!!!. He was that pleased he nipped over to Tesco and bought a couple of steaks for tea to celebrate....beware Becky, beware!.
After training, head tennis and weights ( yes weights, yes core, yes European beach ban may be imposed !) I headed for the showers where again I enjoyed/ suffered an ice cold shower. This is not for fitness reason. Tyrone, Muzzi, Nicky Wroe, Robbo and Danny Stevens are under suspicion of using up all the hot water by cleaning their boots in the showers!.
Added to that Mark Ellis literally washes his skin away he spends that long in there. The same can't be said for Elliot who only showers for 12 seconds. He is like a cat, dislikes water but likes licking himself !.
Referring back to head tennis and after another heavy defeat and some serious in-fighting Lee Mansell and Michael Brough are looking for a new member, and their requirements? Must have a positive mentality. Must like fun. Must like chocolate. Must not wear woolly jumpers and Timberlands at 8.am.
I think they are being extremely harsh Kev, you will soon be back in the circle of trust !!!!!.


CH

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Bullet

Quick posting tonight due to extreme lack of time. Therefore I will give you today's events in bullet point form.

1. Harriet jumped on us both at 5.20 a.m.

2. I eventually broke about 6.30 and accepted defeat ( with that came 5 lots of Fi-Fi and the Flower tots, a bottle of milk and peanut butter on toast- not for me !)

3. Kids dispatched to school

4. Training started at 10.30. At around 11.15 I was on the receiving end of a magnificent sliding tackle, and the player responsible? Danny Stevens !!. Don't mess with Dan when he is angry otherwise the Cockney warrior will destroy!!!.

3.b Big moment for the head tennis wannabees. The score was tied, was it finally going to be glory for the pretender's ?......No Woodsy had to be in Paington for 1 !!!! unlucky lads.

4.b Beavanator, Toody and myself did a core/weights session after training ( Summer is coming after all !!!)

5. Eventually got home about 5.20 after meeting up with Guy at the Herald Express.

6. Cooked bangers and mash as Fiona was under a biblical pile of ironing.

7. Going out soon to meet a friend so it's more Fi-Fi then Hatty's bed time. Cam and Issy back shortly from Athletics.


8.b May blog again later as I still have to erase the picture of me at school with my Christmas jumper on.


9. See Ya !

9.b Sorry for any grammatical errors, will sort later.


CH

Monday, 12 January 2009

TV Heartache

I watched a repeat of Channel 4's 'Surviving Gazza' last night, and I'm sure as all those who managed to catch it would agree, it made for pretty traumatic viewing.
The nations favourite, a legend, showman and entertainer, Gazza was clearly very ill. The family's plight to help him was always going to be tough one.
We all remember the heroics and tears of Italia 90 and have watched with interest as his career took him to Italy and Scotland - the move from Tottenham to Lazio and from there Glasgow Rangers.
As usual it's the private life of Gazza that has dominated the papers with his drinking, drug taking and brawls hitting the headlines.
But last nights documentary showed the other side of the story, his long suffering family pouring their hearts out especially ex-wife Sheryl who I reckon has seen some sights over the past few decades.
The children all seemed pretty well grounded although it did look like Regan his youngest son had had enough of the drama. I don't blame him really considering the up bringing he's had. You can't be totally one sided about it but the footage of Sheryl in tears made me think she was being honest about the whole thing, heavy drinking and violence and the follow on lack of a dad around resulted in a bad few years for the kids as well.
In the programme Gazza was allowed to spend some time back at the family home yet within a couple of weeks - of erratic behaviour - he was off, a small argument had escalated into a falling out and he left.
Firstly to go on tour with Iron Maiden ( bad move considering their rider has as much drink on it as Threshers has on it's shelves and probably enough gear to keep Shaun Ryder happy ). Secondly holed up in a hotel room somewhere in Europe.
So the decision was made to track him down, and when they had the whole family travelled to Portugal to confront him - either he tries to sort himself out or that's that.
Having found him in a hotel room looking a total wreck and after his hurls of abuse the family decided to go home, upset but relieved.
The show ended with Sheryl saying there had been no contact with Gazza in the last three months.
He is now in the Second Chance clinic and is under the supervision of Peter Kay ( come on not that Peter Kay, he's not in Phoenix Nights !). This Peter Kay is the man who has tried, with some success, to sort out a number of high profile footballers. He was the man who recently chaperoned Joey Barton on his release from jail. I came across him while on my UEFA B course a few seasons back. He gave a speech about drink and drugs in football and the help that is now on offer to players ( I still say on offer to all top, well known, well off players but the truth is Joe Blogs on peanuts in the lower leagues may not be so lucky and if he's not it's game over ).

On that same UEFA B course and during that same speech Paul Davis, ex- Arsenal and England player and now an assessor on the coures , mentioned to Peter Kay that he had a friend who needed help quite badly. Peter Kay's answer was, as he tells all
"Tell him to ring me if he really wants to help himself ".
I recently saw a comment in a newspaper from Mr Kay referring to Gazza's situation saying " I have been waiting for that call for six years ".
I didn't realise at the time that Paul Davis was talking about 'Gazza'
Lets hope this rehab, maybe his last chance, does the trick.

I asked my wife her opinion and she said of Gazza " Complete loser, had everything, not strong enough". Wow, don't mess eh !!!.
I think, great player and national institution but the drink has made him in to a bad Dad which is, as I have seen with friends of mine, the final straw!.

I also used to see a physio friend of mine while I was at Northampton called John Sheridan, he was the Tottenham physio when Gazza was there and aided his recovery from injury and subsequent move to Lazio. He always said " He is one in a million a real diamond".
Only time will tell if he becomes one again.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Weekender

The changing room was filled with laughter as usual yesterday, only this time it was at my expense!. Having let my wife loose on the blog, and her subsequent posting of a few old school ( literally ) pictures it was only a matter of time before they filtered into the changing room - and yes, it was time yesterday to face the music. A picture of a young CH at school with a rascal jumper on and another with a Rick Astley hairdo and a Simon Cowell waistline definitely kept the boys amused pre match.
Feel free to laugh out loud as they will stay posted for another 24 hours.

A good result yesterday in the Trophy means that we are in the last 16 of the
competition with our eyes now firmly set on Wembley. As it stands at the moment the club are competing in three competitions which is great. Financially the more games and gate receipts the better. Obviously for the supporters it becomes expensive so to all those who cheer us on a big thank you.

We went to our friends last night for dinner and what a night it was. Currently at 1-1 in the 'celebrity chef recipe cook offs' we were treated to a feast. The pressure was starting to build for us (Fiona) to top the meal put before us, the starter and main course were of epic standard.
Only when I noticed my wife's clenched fists under the table and her sympathetic words (hidden delight) did I realise that the Gordon Ramsey dessert had under performed/whisked. Why does everything have to be a competition ? I don't know but after we next invite our friends over for dinner/victory the next meal we have together will be either be cooked by the men or brought to the table in bags- I think Indian would be nice !!!!!.

Back to last nights late night entertainment, the work out session laid on by the birthday boy in the garden was second to none!. Happy Birthday Jason and great Birthday suit !!!!.

Breaking news! my boy Cam was playing at Liverpool' academy today and he scored against the mighty reds. A belter in the bottom corner will make the return to school tomorrow all the more bearable, especially when he demonstrates the finish to his mates!

Finally, thanks to my bro Mark who came down this weekend to watch the game with his son Harvey. Good banter, good chats and unexpected baby sitting duties meant for a top time.

CH

Friday, 9 January 2009

Work Time Home Time

Ok, lots to talk about, notably my Wife's recent blog posting and her kind! addition of old pictures from the late eighties- now I know why I have kept the laptop away from her for this long.
To be honest it could have been a lot worse though. For the countless years of house moves, the location changes, the long phone calls to agents whilst on holiday every year, the uncertainty and the amount of stressful games I have subjected her to she could have really gone to town on me. I don't think my football career has affected her in a negative way, in fact the counselling is down to two sessions a week now and the handbag fetish is tapering off to one a month !!!.

Onto Football, we are all set for the Trophy game against Rushden tomorrow hoping for the same type of run that saw us reach Wembley last year. Training as usual has been competitive over the last few days, a head high Michael Brough tackle was a real highlight- we were winning a small sided game quite comfortably and, as is the norm, someone usually loses it on the opposing side.
That person was 'Broughy' and the recipient? yes moi !. It was only a tickle and although 'Broughy', as is the norm, was very apologetic it was already forgotten. These things happen!.
Saying that vengeance did come in the form of an epic head tennis game after training that same day.
The usual suspects of Hargreaves, Woods and Hodges took on the wannabees of Mansell, Nicholson and Brough. The first game, to 21, was dispatched in typical style by the old boys. Onto the next game, this one was much closer- a combination of our need for a hot bath or some decent opponents and their desire to chase the ball into the next field, suffering spinal damage (Broughy), to salvage a point.
The banter is usually white hot in these games but the sight of Kev Nicholson smashing the ball in to his own face whilst trying to retrieve a 'set' by 'Manse' will go down in head tennis folklore. Everyone on that court was on the floor in fits of laughter after that shot. It was that funny we had to take a short break to compose ourselves and wipe away the tears.
Add to that the effort involved in the salmon like leap made by 'Lamby' Mansell to head a ball into our court, only to see it delicately bounce off the wool on his head and provide us with a point. We were really finding it hard to play on.
Whether it was down to these incidents, the improvement of the opposition or the fact that our bodies were creaking the old boys found themselves game point down. Was it their time to celebrate and gloat and for us to face a walk of shame?
Of course not, come on I wouldn't be writing this if that had happened. The danger was averted and a couple of minutes later victory was ours- a devastating psychological blow for our opponents who were visibly shaken, there's always next time lads !.
It is great to be one of last ones at training, on the pitch or in the gym. Family and body permitting I would be out there all day, I just wish I had done it in the first few years of my career. This I tell to the younger lads all the time. Rushing home to go to the pub or to mess about was the norm for me back then but it was a big mistake- career wise I strongly recommend anyone who wants to succeed to get the most out of each day rather than rush home to complete the next level on Grand Theft Auto !.


CH

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Captain's Wife's Blog


After weeks of being subjected to the ramblings of my husband he thought that it would be a good idea if I was to take hold of the reigns for a special edition guest blog. So here we go- this is how it really is in the world of football and in The Hargreaves household. The truth - hot off the press from a Blue Square Premier WAG.

The gloves are off now honey bun – as they say in Yorkshire “The truth will out”

Well it has been a long journey down to Devon and Torquay, about 20 years at the last count. You will be surprised ,or not, to know that I have been beside the long haired dynamo (gypo as sometimes referred to on the terraces) since that first game at Grimsby Town aged 17 with short hair and even shorter shorts!! Yes I was there freezing to death trying to look glam aged 17 and wearing very unsuitable clothing.
Blundell Park has got be one of the coldest grounds in the country, but I could take it back then. On a Saturday evening I could be found queuing - Christian walked straight to the front! - at the Pier 39, as mentioned in a previous blog, a lovely nightclub!!. Braving storm force gales and tidal waves and sporting my latest velvet hot pants and bra top. It was the 80’s so please forgive me. So Saturday afternoons on the terraces were not too bad in comparison.

20 years on I have realised that thermals and sensible shoes are essential if you are to enjoy watching the game. I have to say though Saturdays game against Blackpool was extremely cold, but the Hargreaves family kept warm by jumping up and down frequently and shouting a lot. I am not one for sitting calmly and saying nothing at games. I’m afraid when it comes to watching number 14 Chris Hargreaves we are all quite family are quite vocal. (Mrs Hargreaves my mother-in-law in particular!!!)

Torquay United is truly a family friendly club and we are all very well looked after. Many of the players and wives have children and even those who don’t all get on well. We have been at many clubs (10 I think maybe more, I’ve lost count!!) and wives, girlfriends and children are often forgotten. Not that we expected to be treated differently, but it is nice to see friendly faces on a matchday. I remember one club we were at for 2 seasons, the same people gave me my tickets every week and asked me my name every time for 2 whole years. I must have one of those faces easily forgotten!!!! That was the same club that I walked past a certain Mrs Mansell for a whole season without either of us saying a hello. We do laugh about it now, but it just goes to show how different things can be.

On to the main man Mr Hargreaves, well what can I say about him. Well there’s a lot I can tell you the highs, the lows and the in-between times, but I think most importantly it is that as a Player he has always given 110% to every club he has been at. He is dedicated to his profession and always tries to do the right things to stay fit and healthy. That is one of the reasons he is still playing today. The main reason is of course me. My support, my sympathetic ear after a defeat, the fact I always make sure there is ice in the freezer for all of those sore groins and that I am always so interested to hear how the games have gone. Behind every great man there is ALWAYS an even greater woman. It’s so true!!
I think that I will leave the embarrassing stories and moans about his bad habits (shocking but he’s not perfect he does have some) until my next guest spot. I have however managed to find a couple of pictures that I’m sure you will all appreciate.

I’ll sign off for now as currently multi tasking, cooking the dinner, bathing Harriet, putting her to bed, writing this blog, checking facebook and getting the uniforms ready for school in the morning. All tasked need to be completed by 8.45pm when the remaining Hargreaves family members return from football training and athletics. Then the second serving of dinner will then commence, followed by more bathing children and we may get to sit down about 10 ish for 5 minutes before bed.

So you can see that it is a very glamorous life that we live.

Fiona wife of CH

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Game- Off

Sorry it's a slightly later blog tonight. Obviously we have no game this evening, which I think is a good thing. A time to rest and enjoy last Saturday will do the team ( And our supporters! ) the world of good.
I was able to take the children to athletics tonight, sub zero conditions for those taking part and those watching ( Myself ). Now I know what it feels like to lose all sensation in your toes like a footie fan in mid winter.
Whilst typing away I have been glancing over at the T.V. My wife is watching 'Claire Sweeney- My Big Fat Diet'. Claire has just visited Ross King ( T.V journo ) at his L.A home. Set in the hills overlooking the L of A this sprawling pad is the result of writing and talking, bring it on baby, bring it on !.
Diary ( My Wife's) permitting I would like to take my boy Cam to The NEC in Birmingham this weekend as the Auto sport International is in town. Stunts, racing, demos by F1 stars and an attempt to break the 1,000 mph barrier await. Truth be told I will probably take him for a spin to buy Top gear magazine!.
Lastly, I have just spotted in a magazines 'Gadget' section that Three's INQ1 comes highly recommended. Set to make Britain's social-networking addiction worse than ever this Facebook friendly phone is a 'oner' and is on pay as you go.
Well to that I say, if the signal is as bad as it is on my Three networks excuse for a phone then expect to be making some pretty hair raising trips to your rooftop to make or recieve a call. My Daughter Harriet' phone has a better reception and that is plastic and plays 'Fi-Fi and the Flower Tots'. There are some benefits though, you will never exceed your talk time !.

CH

Monday, 5 January 2009

Busy doing nothing

A quick visit to the hospital this morning for an M.O.T and then it was supposed to be a day at home resting. Unfortunately on my return I walked straight into trouble. A combination of an early spring clean and the dismantling of the Christmas decorations put pay to any chances of watching 'This Morning' or putting a tube of Chocolate Hob Nobs through the 'Dunking' test.
Finally, after several trips to Argos ( for storage devices ) and Tesco, the 'Cattle market' ( miscellaneous !) the clean up operation was over. It took Ten hours!!!
The mood in the house is tense this evening as tomorrow signals the return for the children to school. Fiona, my wife, however is ecstatic !.

Big game tomorrow so need rest hence, TTFN.

CH

Sunday, 4 January 2009

F.A Cup 4th Round Draw

Who will it be ? Time 2.05 p.m


Answer; Coventry City at home. Time 4.45 p.m
Just returned from the club after watching the 4th round Draw. With so many Premiership clubs going in the first few draws our chances of getting a big club were dwindling fast. Seeing us get Coventry was at first a bit of a blow, but although it could have been better it could certainly have been a lot worse.
The club will make money, we are playing a championship club and it is a game that we can win !. See you on the 24th.

I must just mention yesterdays game, the lads put so much effort into that performance and thoroughly deserved to win. There was a great feeling in the changing room before the match never mind after !.
The atmosphere in the stands was also great, it really helps the team to see and hear the fans in force.
I, along with quite a few of my team mates, feel a bit battered and bruised today. After some games it can really feel like you have hardly broken sweat (usually games that have been won) whereas after others it can feel like you have been involved in a prizefight, which brings me nicely onto my late night T.V exploits.
When all was quiet, my parents had retired as had my wife and children, I started to trawl the channels and there it was ' The Thriller in Manilla'.
All I can say is, if you haven't seen it then watch it !. Two of the worlds best Heavyweights, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, fight head to head in Manilla (Africa) for 14 gruelling rounds . In the end the Frazier corner stop their fighter from taking part in the 15th round as they feared for his life. He had fought almost the entire 14th round blind such was the damage to his eyes. This resulted in Ali winning the fight. Unbeknown to the Frazier corner Ali after the 14th round had sat down on his stool completely shattered and said " Cut my gloves off I'm done, it's over !".
This would have handed Frazier victory but as it transpired they had already made the decision and Ali's victory it was.
To this day Frazier still shows a real hate for Ali who in the lead up to the fight had made a few personal comments about him. In 2008 Ali apologised, but over 30 years on and Joe Frazier is unrepentant. His answer phone message says it all.
" My name is Joe Frazier, sharp as a razor. Yeah floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee ( Ali's famous boast ). I'm the man who done the job he knows, look and see. Call me, bye bye."

Which basically means look at Muhammad Ali now, suffering badly from Parkinson's Syndrome, I did that to him !!. Pretty hardcore stuff. An amazing fight, an amazing programme.


CH

Friday, 2 January 2009

NEW VIDEO - TENNIS and NAKEDNESS

video

New video from the studio of Chris Hargreaves

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Bring on 2009 !!!

Whether you were out partying, in partying or not partying at all I hope all readers had a great New Years eve. We watched a bit of Jools Holland last night, as always great talent on show including the Ting Tings, Adele, Lily Allen, Sam Sparrow, Duffy and Annie Lennox to name but a few. The audience looked like they were having a great night, as did a host of celebs watching on with Al Murray, Gav (from Gavin and Stacey), a well lubricated Lennie Henry and lots of actors and singers alike all enjoying the show. I am determined to be in that audience next year so I had better start now because it will take some serious blagging!.
I got quite a few texts last night with some great videos of bad singing, dancing and falling over to keep as reminders!.
My efforts at New Years resolutions are broken already. Not swearing (head tennis today), not spending (bought shoes today) and not drinking (medicinal glass of red with dinner) are all easier said than done.
Looking back at last year, on and off the field, was interesting. Play-offs, a cup final and player of the year awards, a real roller coaster of emotions.
Off the field, four house moves, a few family tragedies and of course Toddy's news meant much of the same. Just a normal year really !. Oh and I forgot to mention the culling of cars and credit cards in honour of the credit crunch.
As well as today being the beginning of a New Year it also brings a change of mood. It has taken me 5 days to shake off last Saturdays loss but now the cloud has lifted, a 3rd round tie in the F.A cup will do nicely.
Here's hoping for a successful, healthy and prosperous New year for all.

CH