Thursday, 30 April 2009


Lots going on at the training ground today, not least a hardcore sparring session and a sighting of the Phantom of The Opera. With 'Bevs' being out of action at the moment with a pulled calf ( he is blaming it on me because I shouted at him at Barrow to kick it harder, he did and he tore his calf !!!!, sorry mate! ) he is now full on in the gym. Not only is he hammering the weights and sit ups ( much needed ), he is also forcing Mark Ellis to wrestle him on a daily basis. To top that today he put Wendy through hell in a sparring session, she said she tired in the fifth round, that's when he started picking her off with jabs !!!!. His behaviour is becoming worrying, judging by his daily lists including things like 11a.m Snacks - peanuts and protein drink!!, it is high time he found himself a girlfriend!.

On the injury front 'Sillsy' returned today complete with a Phantom type mask, cape and magic underpants, a great sight. I am half expecting him to fly through the air on a set piece tomorrow night!.
Obviously tomorrow night's game is huge but we are going into it confident that we can get the right result.

Tomorrow will be an emotional day for the family as James will be buried. At 17 years of age and with the world at his feet it is such an enormous waste of a life, he was a fantastic lad who had just taken up an apprenticeship at British Aerospace. You couldn't wish to meet a kinder more fun loving family and I'm just so, so sorry he lost his life. Although I can't be there in body all my thoughts and love will be with you Becky, Paul and Hannah x.


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Delicate areas

Cam is 'riffing' away on Guitar Hero ( I have just had a go and bombed big time!) , Wife and beast have taken Issy to dance, and on their return I will take the older two to athletics - back to normal in the Hargreaves house.
Today at the training ground Pete Morgan and his team of Sports therapists at South Devon College were kind enough to visit us, a bit of TLC never hurt anyone!.

Yesterday we met up with Kev ( Nicholson ) and Jenny, who is expecting at anytime, to discuss babies, money, football and jobs !!, oh and food !. Jenny is going for a home 'water birth', so, in true Nicholson fashion, the baby will have no choice but to wash at least five times a day!. The birthing pool has been set up already so Kev has been doing a few lengths each morning, complete with armbands and rubber duck !. Again, sorry mate I can't help it!.

Other than that we will start to prepare for Friday's game against Histon tomorrow. Hopefully the atmosphere will be the same as last Sunday.

I have basically been recovering and trying not to walk like Steptoe, whilst taking the odd happy pill and icing continuously. On Sunday night, when the dust had settled and the Hagreaves clan were tucked up in bed, I turned on the TV. Lazily, instead of making the hourly pilgrimage to the freezer, I decided instead to use one of the chemical ice bags ( you know the ones where you squeeze a pouch and the bag turns ice cold ), settling in with the ice bag in place on my back.
I had forgotten all about the pack, until, after about forty minutes, I started to get one heck of a burning sensation in some really delicate areas!. I had been sat on it that long that the bag had burst and it's chemical contents had leaked down my back and into areas that, let's say, don't normally burn!!!!.
I hadn't moved so fast all day ( Some may say including the game !), I shot ( fast hobble ) into the kitchen and literally sat in the sink. I wouldn't say that there was steam coming off body parts, but what I would say is that I did then go to the freezer and have to ice parts that don't ever normally see ice!!!!.


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Play-off place

What a day. One team gets beat and gains promotion, the other team wins and seals a play-off place. Well done to all the lads and staff, their efforts can now be rewarded with something this season. For me to score was special, a goal in the week at Barrow with lots of emotion swirling inside was important for me, and then today, to have my family and friends at that end of the ground when I notched was amazing.

I can honestly say though that I have never been in as much pain on a football pitch as I was today. A torn muscle in my back in the first half meant that the last 70 minutes of that game hurt like never before. I actually remember tracking back for a cross in the second half and blacking out, it's madness this game!!. Four injections today got me through ( I had two before the game for a different injury!!), thanks to Damo, Pete and Andy for all your help. Well done to Tim as well today who battled on after a very nasty knock.
Great to see you Avy and Mart, love you lots, see you at Histon.
Massive rest and recuperation needed now. Thanks to all who cheered us on today, the only focus for us all now is May 17.


Saturday, 25 April 2009

Up and down

Some teams have survived today and some teams have been promoted, others fate still hang in the balance. This is the time of season where all that hard work during a season can be rewarded with success. We hope that tomorrow is our day, and that the following three games see us promoted. Tonight though it's a case of relaxation ( easier said than done !). With my parents coming down for the game, and my children there tomorrow as well, a victory against Burton is my only thought.


Thursday, 23 April 2009


A bit of light entertainment tonight, me and the missus are watching Katie and Peter - The Next Chapter!. They have moved into a Malibu mansion, Pete has just bought a Porsche and the children have just received the entire contents of a toy shop. Is it shallow, is it tacky?, who cares, come on, if you or I had the money we would be there like a shot!!!!.
I took Harriet and Cam to see some Motor homes today, Fiona and I had been an hour earlier as well!. It was great, these things are awesome, 2 berth, 4 berth, or like the one we spent the most time in, an 8 berth beast. Cam and Harriet were jumping in and out of the bunks and I was checking out the toys on board ( Kev you will be pleased to know that they have full shower facilities ) We were looking for three reasons.
1, The In-laws are looking into buying one. 2, Our friends Jason and Sarah are borrowing an all singing, all dancing, plasma's on board, RV for a road trip next month. With me being co-pilot ( Meet The Fockers ) I need to be ready! and 3, well no reason really.
One thing is for sure, cheap they are not, but what a great laugh it would be rolling up in one, complete with surfboards, bikes, the lot. When of the best holidays I had as a child was in a 'home made motor home'- our family and another in a Ford special. It was a double wheel base Transit van, complete with two double mattresses in the back for the children, a swivel chair in the front, welded in by my dad, and about twenty cases on board. What a holiday, an eighteen hour trek to the South of France and we loved every minute of it. I spent the next two weeks snorkeling ridiculous distances ( nearly giving my parents a heart attack ) and eating French bread and jam - bliss.
It's either the sea air down here, or my age, but I have even thought about getting a beach hut!!.

St George's Day 23rd April. A drink will be raised today for St George, our patron saint. Hopefully with a bit of a resurgence this will again become a day of celebration and rest!- as it is we celebrate Ireland's patron saint more than we do our own !!!!!!.
Tomorrow we train and it will be geared around one thing, beating Burton.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Final game decider

Shock horror, it's a final game decider!. An eight hour journey, followed straight after by a training session on a car park pitch, was just what the doctor ordered. The game itself was tight, a point for two days of hell seems harsh. A few words were said in the changing room after the game, I really hope they hit home for Sunday. If you are sat on the beach in the summer and you can say to yourself I gave it everything, on and of the pitch all season, then fair enough - I hope for everyone that that is the case. The return journey was like a scene from a horror movie with bodies everywhere. Rolling back into Devon doubled up at 5.15 a.m was nice. The only thing that kept me going on the trip back was our card school, good honest lads who will all be digging in again on Sunday.
Thanks to all the fans who travelled to the game, if I could pay for all your travel expenses I would, because that was a trek, but Mrs Hargreaves budget doesn't have enough in it.
I'm sure the Burton players and staff were gutted to see our result come in, to be honest it's the last thing both clubs wanted ( a final game decider ). We will obviously go to win the game and for the Setanta camera's it could not be better. With my family coming down, my boy wanting to go to Wembley and myself in need of a job at the end of the season it should be a real stress free weekend.

OK now onto another tense subject, The Player of The Year Award. Last year I was honoured to receive both awards, voted for by the most important people, the fan's and the player's. To captain the side for the Win's against York, which enabled us to play at Wembley, was great and to play fifty games was also a real plus. Missing out on promotion hurt, probably too much, but that's life. My thoughts on this year's winner will remain private but I really hope that the recipient gets it for the right reasons.


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Road Trip

Huge game tonight for both teams for very different reasons. We will be travelling back through the night tonight so 3 points will make for a smoother and more comfortable journey!

We will of course do everything in our power to win tonight so full match and journey report tomorrow.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Family always comes first....

I have recieved some very sad news today so no blog tonight.


Witching hour

It's 3.30 a.m, I can't sleep. I've got three layers on, plus a blanket and I'm shivering and sweating. No I haven't been out on the pop, I am in the grip of some sort of flu. Last night, or two nights ago now, we stayed in Stevenage. The Welsh dragon ( Chris Todd ) slept continuously, up until around kick-off!, while I beat up my pillow up and slid off my wonky bed. Eventually I got up about 7.a.m, leaving Toddy fast off - this is the man who, after being told he had leukemia, slept like a baby for 10 hours leaving his family up all night!!.
The flu had set in, my body was in shock.
I forced some breakfast down, had about five vitamins ( nothing compared to Bev's daily cocktail of 17 bad boys ), went for a walk, had an ice bath ( bizarre choice ),and then returned to bed until we had to leave for the game. Great prep for a big game, but it didn't matter, we were all up for the fight, as were the fan's who I have to say were brilliant, non stop all the way through.
It really lifted the team, especially in the second half when we were down to ten men.
We still had chances but it wasn't to be, a hard earned point it was. Another five hour trip home, Match of the Day and a cheese sandwich completed the day ( Tough at the top eh!). Now a trip to Barrow awaits, victory there should ensure our play-off place. The top of the table is tight but we have the games in hand so it's up to us.
I don't really know if any of this is in order but I will sort it out in the morning, which by the Beast's clock is about 3 hours away!.
I'm now going to consume my own body weight in flu tablets.


P.S Happy belated Birthday to lovely my Mum, Averil. Love you lot's and see you soon. Tell Dad not to come to the Burton game on the bike if it's raining!.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


What a game, with my boy Cam supporting Chelsea and my mate, Jase, supporting Liverpool, it was a tense night!!. I used my expertise before the game, saying, "It will be tight here, Chelsea will be solid". Spot on eh, eight goals on the night and 7-5 on aggregate in the end!!!!!!.
I had to put ear muffs on Cam in the end as Jase was getting hot under the collar. To be fair though, this is a man who was in Istanbul on that famous night to see Liverpool's epic comeback, so he was expecting big things again. It wasn't to be though and Cam was delighted, now they just have to beat Barcelona!.
I managed to get him to the last Chelsea - Barcelona game. Was it because I had a connection, or was it perk of the job. No, a friend on mine worked for Barclaycard and he got some free tickets!!. A professional footballer could not get a ticket from the F.A !!. As Roy Keane said " The Prawn Sandwich brigade were still in their box wining and dining when the second half kicked off".


Monday, 13 April 2009


Not much chat on the return journey tonight, just a lot of ifs and buts. Again we had a chance, but the title now cannot be ours. We are back on the training ground tomorrow to sort out yesterday's and last Saturday's problems, and also to start to prepare for the next game. Watching from the stands today was very difficult, as was hearing the other results coming in. A day in the life of a fan was not an enjoyable one. But what is done is done now, play-offs it has to be, the thought of lifting a trophy must drive us on. I don't intend to rip my hamstrings apart, play over fifty games, or put my family through hell for nothing. I was left with a difficult decision today, play and risk tearing my hamstring, which would mean end of season, or not play and hope we win. Damian our physio, pretty much said that it would be madness to play, but sat here now, feeling like c*** is not much better!. Another win will seal our play off place, then we will worry about the play-offs.


Saturday, 11 April 2009


The run is over, but, after having won eight and drawn three of the last eleven games, to lose to Crawley at home is big blow. Maybe it has ended our chances of the title, obviously until it is mathematically impossible we live in hope. With other teams winning around us it is now vital that we cement the play-off place.
To be honest I'm on overdrive typing this, I'm absolutely gutted that we haven't won because winning every remaining game was the aim. The lads have been giving it everything, even in today's game although we were not quite at it we should have had at least a draw, with us having six or seven great chances. The problem is that we have had no room for error, constantly playing catch up after our bad start.
Like everyone I'm a bit low, the trick is though not to be too gutted. We have to be ready for the play-offs, ready to win them and then win at Wembley.


Friday, 10 April 2009

Tom Dick

Only a few words tonight, I'm not feeling great so it's early (ish) to bed for me. Simply two huge games to win and seventeen Easter eggs to get through this Easter break.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Wind Machine

Unfortunately I ran out of time to post a blog yesterday. The Hargreaves and Carrington clans had an appointment at the beach, then later on I had an appointment with the clunk and click master ( chiropractor ), and, to finish off, the brothers-in-law watched the second half of the football in 'The Slaughtered Lamb'- you know the one, open the door, everything stops and the locals stare at you as if you have two heads and a tail.
Our two families set off for Woolacoombe, the lads car arrived at 12, the women's at around 1o'clock. Fiona thought she knew a short cut, but unfortunately the road was blocked and then they got stuck behind a hearse for 40 minutes!. Eventually all the children piled in to the sea and had an hour on the body boards, then, as is the way, we destroyed the sand sandwiches. The migration to the shops(not for some!) followed this, then the time was right!.
I had persuaded Andy to get a board and suit, and, while no one was looking, we sneaked off to hit the waves. Andy had never surfed and I hadn't been for ten months so the signs were ominous. We spent the next hour drinking sea water. It was like a washing machine in there, the wind machine was on and the waves were harder to read than tea leaves. But we still loved it.
Then it was back to the ranch for twenty minutes before shooting off to see the 'back quack' for me, and finally, for us both to see the football.

I know everyone wants to talk about Burton, promotion and or the play-offs etc but we are just trying to concentrate on winning the next game. In between games if you can try to turn off form everything it does help, but that is easier said than done!. Great to see the young children from the supporters trust at training today, I'm sure they all enjoyed firing shots past 'Ricey'. It was good for us to finally see some of Danny's class mates. The only trauma for the children was seeing 'Bevs' shoulder press one of the little fella's.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Outside Chance

Another fantastic night in front of the Setanta cameras, what an atmosphere created by our supporters. Winning last night, against Burton, has at least given us an outside chance of automatic promotion. If that does not happen then we are on a great run of form going into the play-offs. The run in will be full of twists and turns, tonight being no exception with some of our promotion rivals playing against each other.
Gotta nip out now but later on I will give you a lowdown on yet another horrific coach journey, more about the game and other random information.

Later on...........We arrived at Burton Albion's ground after one hell of a battering on board the yellow peril. Not only did we have to contend with seats made out of concrete and covered in scouring pads but yesterday was special, even for the yellow submarine. With two drivers in tow we felt that it would be a pain free trip, but how wrong can you be. The toilet was out of bounds, with the remains of last weeks rotary club trip to Bognor Regis swilling about in there it was like the loo area at Glastonbury. That smell, combined with Elliot's continued stomach problems, is still with me now. But surely we would be quick with two crack drivers.
No, we left Pete Morgan at Micheal Wood services by accident - he was queuing for a creme egg at the time. This was only discovered after ten minutes so Pete was panicking - he jumped in with a couple who had seen us leave, firing up the motorway at top speed. In the end, after a great chase and an hour round trip we picked him back up at the same services - he passed us twice in the car! . Pete was also crocked for the game after hurdling the central reservation!.
So now we were really rushing to get to our pre-match meal. After seeing both Burton and The Belfry signs go by alarms bells started to ring, maybe they knew a different route. But after a discussion between Hargreaves, Sills and Nicholson it was decided that I would give them a gentle nudge at the front. I pointed out that we had passed both destinations to the driver's. After a quick shuffle of a map ( no sat nav on the banana ) and a reddening of cheeks we soon were pulling off. They had gone 30 minutes past the junction, to be fair an easy mistake to make, especially considering there were massive signs saying Belfry and there were two of them looking !!.
Another hour later we ate a late pre-match, had a few Rennie's, and then soon after, arrived at the ground broken. It worked again though, a great away performance by the lads. Five hours on a mobile toilet can't even break us!!.

P.S Nice to have Becky, Andy, Josh and Millie down to see us. With nine people in the house it's going to be fun !!.



Sunday, 5 April 2009


A good win, a Moroccan banquet and a day at the beach with my family. This, in a nutshell, was the weekend. I will elaborate in around half an hour.........Back to the game and a great day all round it was. We played well, other results went our way and there was a great following to cheer us on. Another big game tomorrow, regardless of what happens the belief in the squad of getting promotion, through any route, is very real.

An awesome display last night, this time from our friends, Jason and Sarah, who have taken the cook-off to a new level. Not only did we enjoy an unbelievable lamb and date tagine but the house was decorated in true Moroccan style complete with low table, cushions, hookah pipe and throws, all accompanied by music straight from the set of Turkish Delight!.
Jas (Topper Harris) must have sweated his way through most of Saturday to create the feast but it was well worth it. We have now decided though that it is time to calm down on the cooking front, to keep topping each other is tough. I was actually thinking hog roast for the next 'do', complete with medieval costume, fire eaters and silver goblets of wine!, this will have to wait as the next cook-off is suspended in favour of an easier option, a table for four please!!.
The only downside to the night, as far as Jas was concerned, was that I topped him with the old outfit, sorry about that pal I had to do it.

My parents, Avy and Mart, have been down all weekend and we have absolutely loved it. They have spoilt the children rotten,as usual, and were also at the game which was great. It all went too quickly though so roll on the summer!.


Friday, 3 April 2009


I cannot actually believe what I have just seen on the news. Scotland Captain Barry Ferguson and Goalkeeper Alan McGregor have been banned for life by the Scottish F.A. for inexcusable behaviour. First came the news that they had gone out the night before this weeks World Cup qualifier, the manager discovering on waking that they were still in the hotel bar. They were subsequently dropped. But this is not the worst of it.
Incredibly, whilst on the bench for the Iceland game, both players, were visibly giving the 'V' sign and the bird to the camera's. It was like watching Kevin and Perry Go Large. Unbelievable, a gargantuan lack of respect shown by these players. The Scottish fans were in uproar as was the F.A and now both players have been banned for life for playing for Scotland, Ferguson just five games short of getting into the hall of fame. His Rangers manager, Walter smith looked lost for words. All the best in the S.P.L games next week lads!, I think we may see both players in the Premiership soon.

Other news in bullet point form tonight, and in no particular order. Obama asks for back up from European nations in Afghanistan, Shearer returns to rescue Newcastle, Hamilton disqualified from the Australian grand Prix, Todd wins 'Face of Slater's' award in Swansea, my mate JD is playing for Kettering tomorrow and looks like Paul Nichols and finally Mark Ellis and Scott Beavan wrestled today and as usual 'Bevs' won.


Thursday, 2 April 2009


No blog as such tonight. Just a dedication to Lee Hodges and his family. Lee was informed on the journey back from Mansfield that his Dad had died on Saturday after the game. A very difficult remaining hour or so on the coach for 'Hodgy', as we still had not reached home. Hodgy is a really nice lad, who still, even at this difficult time, came in yesterday with a smile on his face as he always does.

To Lee and family from all the boys, ours thoughts our with you.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Arts and Crafts

Two heavyweights in the football world met today. Baby Sills and toddler Hargreaves spent the morning together. While Hatty helped her Mum 'look after' the bambino we took to the training field for a session. With competition for places fierce the standard of training was good, crossing and shooting, followed by a fiery five-a-side. It is the way training should be, competitive but not wreckless.
Those who step over the mark will only get away with it once.
It is incredible how quickly this season has gone, three weeks or so and the season is done, well almost!!.
Another big weekend is nearly upon us. Yes Saturday night we are heading to our friends for a Morrocan banquet, complete with belly dancers, velvet cushions and hookah pipes. Oh, and we also have two massive games in the space of three days to look forward to.

Tomorrow sees the start of the Easter break for the children. This break is marked at school with an Easter Bonnet parade. As always all the 'parents' will be up all night sticking and gluing, no doubt desperate to achieve the 'Best Bonnet' award. We will be no exception having relentlessly paper mache'd' our way through the week. Has that paint dried yet?.