Sunday, 31 May 2009

Garden Party

Much later..........Well I didn't manage to get back on the lap top as yesterday was manic, lots of family, lots of phone calls, a mammoth stint as head chef on the BBQ and the ritual of Britain's Got Talent put pay to any blog time. Today hasn't been much better, the combination of packing cases and entertaining children doesn't mix!. The trip back from Devon was a real killer on Friday, yes it was a bad time to travel and yes I was tired but a seven hour trawl back up North was not deserved.
I took a forty five minute, twenty five mile, short cut only to end up being behind a truck that had carried on the same way!. I endured three sections of motorway, totalling around fifty miles, that had been rigged up with speed camera's at 50 mph. I chose two different routes both of which had signs saying ' LONG DELAYS'. I bought a coffee at a services for about £4 pounds, it was luke warm. I would say around seven of the discs in my back fused on route. The fuel dial was going down that quickly I thought the tank had a hole in it. And finally.....on entering Cleethorpes I was offered a 'Dual' at some lights with a 'souped up' Nissan Micra and then got stuck behind three lads on 'twist and go' scooters all determined to do themselves in !!. It had been emotional !.
In the end though it was well worth it, a lovely Saturday was had, celebrating my father in law Iain's 65th Birthday and impending retirement. He is a real gent and deserves a rest ! although Joan is very nervous about him soon being at home every day!!!.
Today we nipped over to see my parents, a big roast dinner was devoured in between Hatty going on a donkey ride and Fiona destroying a bottle of red, a bizarre combo I know.
It has been fantastic to see both sets of parents, the children have loved it, as have Fiona and myself. Tomorrow we are off again, a sort of 'holiday swap' as it were. I will do my best to find 'blogging' facilities, if not a mystery guest may be introduced. As ever thank-you for reading, I really hope that soon I can confirm that I am staying at this brilliant club, until then I'm still smiling !!!!!!!!.


Saturday, 30 May 2009

Tarzan is back

Thanks to my wife for her excellent blogging, in fact I think she now wants her own blog 'The Captain's wife's blog' !!!!!.
Anyway I'm in the middle of a family 'Do' at the moment but have sneaked off for ten minutes to say hello......Hello !. Since we parted company I have obviously been away, travelled back and am soon off again, but later on this evening I will give you a few snippets from my trip away and other recent events including an horrendous 7 hour car journey. For now though I am going to destroy a chocolate torte ( Bev's will be delighted! ).

Until later.....


Thursday, 28 May 2009

More randomness!!!

Well folks you will be glad to know that this will be my last blog as the wanderer returns tomorrow evening from his trip to Spain with the boys. Although it has only been a few days the children have missed him and we are looking forward to having Dad back with us tomorrow.

Today has been busy getting things ready for our family holiday which we go on on Monday, and preparations are in full swing for my dads 65Th birthday party on Saturday. Mum has been to that well known supermarket for the 15Th time this week and we have gone over the menu about as many times as well. Mum is always super organised and never leaves anything until the last minute, unlike me!! Cameron and dad erected the gazebo this evening(gazebo is slightly under exaggerating-it's huge). It took slightly longer than they had anticipated as the instructions seem to have gone astray. They worked well as a team, there were no arguments and it is still standing at the moment.

Oh hang on minute mum has just interrupted me:-

Mum "do you want to know a fact about cows?"
Me "pardon".
Mum "cows bred for milk go lame very easily. Their udders get so big it pushes their legs out a funny angels making it very difficult for them to walk properly"
Me "gosh that's very interesting".

Sorry about that mum had just seen something on the news about cows, and as she was brought up on a farm is full of interesting animal related facts which the children love.

I think I will sign off for now as all the children are in bed and I'm going to have a small glass of red wine and relax with the parents.

Normal service will resume tomorrow evening.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Good times with the family

It has been a fun packed few days for us on the East Coast. With both sets of grandparents living within a few miles of each other the children have had the best of both worlds. The first few days of our holiday were spent staying a Christian's parents, (if you were wondering Chris is short for Christian. I never really refer to him as Chris). They live only a couple of hundred meters from the sea front so on Sunday we went for the obligatory walk along the beach to the boating lake, followed by a family BBQ with Aunty Maureen, Mark (Christian's brother) and Harvey. Mark was in charge of all thing BBQ related, while Grandad Martin ensured the girls had a constant supply of Gin and Tonic. I think Christian had previously mentioned a large amount of Birkets best meat was consumed including my favourite a spicy lamb kebab (an acquired taste!!). Grandad Martin always makes sure he gets a few in for me. I love all things spicy and a bit obscure!.

With Christains' departure to Spain I moved out of town to my mum and dads yesterday. Another lovely day - a trip to town with the my sis, (who really knows how to shop!),and the girls while the boys stayed with Uncle Andy for a game of cricket and a trip to the barbers.

I'm not sure what tomorrow has in store - not much I hope. I'm happy to be away and be looked after with no cooking,cleaning or ironing for a whole week it doesn't get much better than this.

PS I believe the boys are enjoying themselves on their jolly holiday. I'm sure there will be plenty of stories and hopefully some good pics upon his return!!!

So it's goodnight for now.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Good evening from Cleethopres

Greetings from Cleehtorpes!! With Tarzan safely landed at a secret location somewhere in Spain the reins of the Captains Blog have been temporarily handed over to me Mrs H, 'The Wife', Fi, Fo (to close Friends), Fiona or just plan old mum.

What a whirlwind the last few days have been we have hardly had time to catch our breath. I can't believe that it is just over a week since myself, all the family and our close friends made the trip to Wembley. It is a rare occasion that my family, including Christain's mum and dad and brother get the chance to see each other, so we were determined to enjoy our time together in London. Mum and Dad travelled down with my sister and her two children, and Christain's mum and dad and brother came in convoy from Cleethorpes.

Upon meeting at the hotel we embarked on Phase one of the Wembley trip. We all separated into our chosen groups and headed out for the afternoon. My sister lead the Natural History Museum party, which consisted of Christain's mum and dad, my nephew Harvey, Cameron and Issy, and Becky's two children Josh and Milly. After some careful consideration I decided that a trip across London with five children was something to be avoided !!! Instead I opted for the trip to Oxford St with my mum and dad and Hattie. Needless to say that both activities were fraught with stress and we were all glad to reconvene at the hotel later that evening.
More friends had now arrived including Jody, Jon and Ellis Shelley and our good friends Jason, Sarah and Zoe. On to Phase two of the Wembley trip - where to eat!! We had discovered an excellent Lebanese restaurant during last years not so successful trip to Wembley and both sets of parents had decided that it was best to 'stick to what you know' so headed off with Hattie, whilst the 'youngsters' went off to a Chinese restaurant near the stadium. An excellent night was had by all - now all that was left was to deal with Phase three of the Wembley trip THE GAME.

Morning came and as you can imagine emotions were running high. I was unable to speak for most of the day and opted for sunglasses fairly early on in an attempt to hide the tears!! I've been to many important games and witnessed some heart breaking results over the years and it never gets any easier. Football has completely consumed our lives and the lives of our families for 20 years. With it comes many amazing highs and inevitably some crushing lows. It is an emotional roller coaster, but the 'Hargreaves' love every minute of it and we were not quite ready to end the ride just yet!! So off we went, the children with suitably painted faces, waving their flags and singing all the way.

As everyone knows the result could not have gone any better and for the children to see their dad score at Wembley was the icing on the cake. Yes there were more tears, and I have to say that the 4 minutes of added time seemed more like 40 minutes. When the final whistle went it felt like a huge weighted had been lifted - what a relief and an amazing end to the season. We have made some very good friends at Torquay and to be with all the families including The Mansells and The Todds, who are such amazing people, was very special. It's been a tough year for many of them and to see everyone smiling and cheering made me cry again!!!

Since then we have all been on cloud 9 and now the boys can relax for a while an enjoy their success. As for the girls (wives, girlfriends and mums) we can relax for a short while as well safe in the knowledge that for at least a couple of weeks the boys will all be in a good mood!!

I will sign off for this evening as it's 9 o'clock and time to start rounding up the troops for bed. They are currently somewhere at the bottom of the garden with Grandma. On second thoughts perhaps I will leave them to it for a bit longer and enjoy a bit of peace and quite.


PS I feel a little nervous I hope my blogging comes up to CH's extremely high standards. Oh well he's out of the country with no internet access so hey ho!!!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Whistle stop tour

A whistle stop tour of the East coast riviera is nearly at an end, for me anyway, as I go on another sort of tour tomorrow with my team mates. My family will stay up North to fly the flag for Devon for a few more days.
It has been great to relax with my my parents, safe in the knowledge that the Play-off curse is over!. We have walked round the corner to the beach ( Cleethorpes ), which by the way has just been given the Blue flag - be prepared for a 45 minute walk to the sea for a paddle though!, we have eaten copious amounts of food ( 'Birkits best meat' as my Mum points out ) and we have also, and most importantly, replayed the Cup final !!!!.
It was great to see my Auntie Maureen, who although has been devastated by the news of James death, has been a rock for her daughter Becky, Paul and Hannah. A walk to the beach with the family is always a breath of fresh air ( literally in this case ).
I will sign off now and later will run through the winners and losers of the football world, starting with the many clubs I have played for!!!!!.

Later..............Ok just got back Cleethorpes, the bag is packed and tomorrow the team fly off to Spain for an end of season jolly, I mean tour!.
On to Football and, incredibly, Burnley have made it to the Premiership. The lowest budget in the league and the least players used throughout the season just highlights what a massive achievement it is for the lancashire club. I listened to the commentary on the journey home and it brought back memories of a week last Sunday, I'm still smiling!!!!!!!!.

The fortunes of some of my old teams have varied, Hull have survived at the death, West Brom are down, Hereford are down, Brentford go up as champions, Grimsby survive just, Oxford missed out on the play-offs, Plymouth survive and Northampton go down. And my current team.................back in the league!!!!.
Finally I have to mention Newcastle, I think it's a sad day that a club that big, where 50,000 fans turn up every week to cheer their team on, has been relegated from the premiership. No one has any divine right to be in there but talk about miss-management, there are 17 ( average ) players earning at least 50,000 pounds a week on the pay roll, none have a clause in their contracts for relegation so I reckon, with the rest of the squad and management included, that's a cool million and a half a week going out!!.
Anyway put the ball away I hear you shouting, and as I am up at 4.30 a.m I think I should. If I can find an Internet Cafe on hols I shall blog on, if not be prepared for Mrs H !!

P.S Apologies about any grammatical errors, bit of a rush job!. Also for those of you who are concerned that, recently, I have neglected to talk about important political issues, news and current affairs I will make it up to you in the close season. For now though I will just mention the shocking 'expenses for M.P's' debacle and of course the break up of Katie and Peter !!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, 22 May 2009


There is so much going on at the moment anyone would think that we have won a cup final or something!!. Last night we had the pleasure of an open top bus tour through the streets of Torquay, ending with a civic reception at the town hall. It was an incredible feeling to be parading the cup around the town last night, I want to thank everyone so much who came out to cheer us round making it a night to remember for everybody.
Moments like that happen very rarely in football - this may explain why we milked it for all it's worth!.
What a sight it was turning into the last stretch of road leading to the town hall, so many people all enjoying the fact that the town's football club is back in the league, and why not after the dark day's of last season's finish!. We then headed off for a few celebratory 'sherbets', it goes without saying thanks to all those who kept us replenished last night.
I met some great people last night, Lots from the town, some from back home and some with a few bizarre requests !( you know who you are ). A top laugh though, everyone, like us, delighted with winning at Wembley. On the entertainment front let's just say Simon Cowell would have been disappointed with the dance moves on show, no names mentioned... Robertson, Stevens, Poke, and Rice! , lad's George Sampson can rest easy. I didn't 'bust' any moves on the floor in fear of showing the lads ( myself ) up, plus we all know I have two left feet ( apart from at Wembley !!!!!!, sorry couldn't resist that one )

Apologies to anyone who didn't manage to get a picture with the cup last night, at least we have it for a full year so there's still time ( I'm free Mon, Wed and Fri afternoons for photo sessions !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Joking of course.
After an obscene lack of sleep today involved a meeting with a mate about a dog, a mercy mission to find a 'little red dress' ( come on, not for me ), a battle in the loft to find suitcases, a financial review ( well looking at the bank balance, painful ), two bacon and egg Mac Muffins, a trip to Jodes ( there's a theme building here, it's now my wife's 'me' time ), and, later on tonight, a summer ball at the club.
Tomorrow we travel back up North to stay with our parents, this will involve Lot's of food, drink and banter.
See you soon, I'm bringing the medal home!.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Out of the Wilderness

I forgot to mention that I had met up with the 'Beavonator' and 'Robbo' yesterday to destroy the weights. We had a good laugh - whilst resting during super sets!- looking back at the weekend and discussing holiday plans. 'Bevs' barren spell is fast approaching a year now, so with the holiday season upon us...... maybe?. In saying that I have seen him in action recently and it was a painfull watch. A young girl approached him and asked him if he wanted a drink, a nice offer you might think. 'Bevs' said "No thanks, I'm not drinking" the girl asked why, surprised that the big man had refused the offer.

I don't know whether the big fella panicked or just thought that it would be a good talking point but his reply was dead pan " I only have one kidney "!!!!! in total David Brent style. The girl shuffled around a bit before walking away, later saying to one of the lads " Your mate is a bit weird "!. I was in stitches when 'Bevs' told me the full story. He thought that it would be a good topic of conversation as everything else in his mind had gone blank -it was either that or "How much protein do you consume in a day" !. That man is a star.
The fact that 'Robbo' is now styling him as well is of very grave concern!!.

I popped into the club today and the place is buzzing. Daryl said that the club has been transformed - just shows you what 90 minutes of football can do !. I then met Bucks ( The gaffer !) for a coffee, it was great to talk about the season, and the build up to the final, knowing that we had actually achieved what we had set out to do all those months ago. So many people have said well done and how amazing their day had been - I can only agree with that!.

To be honest when I had surfaced from the wilderness of north Devon 2 years ago, after a mammoth and hurricane induced camping trip, and received the call from Bucks, I could never have imagined the roller coaster that lay ahead.
In the first season missing out on promotion by a whisker, reaching a cup final and winning Player of the year was crazy enough but the second was the real deal. Captaining the side to Wembley, scoring and then lifting the cup, well it doesn't get any better than that, especially considering what was at stake.
Tomorrow we are going to parade the cup around the town and have a civic reception, on Friday it's the summer ball and next week we go away for a few days to celebrate promotion.
Whatever happens over the next few weeks I can honestly say that I have absolutely loved being at Torquay Utd and that I have finally achieved a boy hood dream - to stand up on a surfboard !!!!!!.

P.S The children took the papers and medal into their school today, a day they have been waiting for for a long time. It's a long story how and why we ended up living in Exeter but I can tell you that on occassions it has not been easy, especially after last seasons events. I am just so happy that my children - Cam being a footy mad, Torquay supporting ten year old boy - can be proud walking in to school !.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Time to relax

I woke up today and for only the second time ( the first was yesterday! ) in about six years I could relax. I bet your laughing now reading this Mum because I know you and Dad will be feeling the same x. Winning the game at the weekend has meant that this summer can actually be enjoyed, and why ? well I'll run you through the last five or six seasons ( in equation form ) to try to explain.

Last season's last two games - Play-Off loss + Cup final loss = Summer of discontent.

Season before, last game - Play-Off loss + on penalties = End of Oxford.

Season before, last game - Relegation to the BSP( Leyton Orient sent us down and were promoted, I had declined their very good offer to join them at the start of the season!!!!)= Depression!!!.

Season before, last game - Play-off loss + chance of a return to the Championship = Major groin repair, a sad farewell to Mad Dog ( Martin Allen understood that the five hour daily commute was killing me )and lots of pain.

Season before, last game - Play-Off loss on penalties + shocking Ref ( we had overturned a 2-0 deficit to be leading 3-2 but in the last minute of normal time the referee got confused and gave a free-kick the other way resulting in a goal ) = Tears and my last game and last goal for Northampton Town after four great years.

This season, last game - Play-off final.............WIN + No penalties = Total and utter joy!

As you can see the ups and downs in football can be huge, so to be able to pick the paper up and see the team on the steps of Wembley picking up the trophy is bliss, plus my wife can now go on holiday!!!.
Before I forget if I could list all the people who have helped me this season it would take a long, long time! thanks so much to you all ( you know who you are ! ), as well as the 11,000 fans who came up from Devon to the final and the countless others who willed us on at home !!!.

Finally, someone said to me after the final that they had seen a huge change in me in the final games of the season. No real stress, no pre-match Red Bull, no wearing studs ( boots! ), and even no pre-match meals . My attitude had changed dramatically from one of doubt and uncertainty to one of hope and belief. It's not melodramatic and it's not a crusade but I couldn't get the loss of James out of my thoughts. He was so young, with so much ahead of him and here was I worrying about my football. I hope you were up there looking down on that game mate because I have certainly looked up a few times in the last few weeks.


Monday, 18 May 2009

Promoted 17/05/09

I have waited a long time to write this blog and I almost cannot find the right words to express how happy I am. Happy for every person who supports Torquay and happy for my family and friends who have been there through so many ups and downs.

We did it !!!..........those three words are the words that I have waited to say. I have said before that there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about last years play-off loss, but it is so true. Seeing all those faces in the crowd yesterday cheering and then seeing my family and friends in tears at the final whistle was incredible.
It was always going to be a tense day but the lead up to the game had been pretty low key so the nerves were kept to a minimum.
To lead the team out, score and then lift the trophy as captain was the ultimate for me, I will never forget the moment the ball nestled in that net - neither will a few of my mates who had quite a few quid on me to score the first goal at 25-1! - we have all heard the saying 'It's the stuff of dreams' but it was for me. I am so proud of the lads, who were absolutely magnificent, it was a big day for them but they rose to the occasion and fought to the end. It has been a long hard slog, since the heartache of last year, so for the players, staff, and fans of this club yesterday was truly well deserved.
My heart goes out to the Cambridge fans who have suffered at Wembley twice in succession and to their players who will be devastated. But there has to be a winner and yesterday it had to be us. I couldn't have returned home to Devon without that cup for so many different reasons, the biggest being that of seeing my children's faces had we have lost.
I could talk about it all night long, I am so, so delighted but after having only two hours sleep - what a great coach journey home, that cup got used to great effect!- I will sign off. Thank-you to everybody who has supported the team and to all the people at the club who work so hard for us, especially Kerry, your a real diamond x .

P.S I cannot stop smiling !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, 15 May 2009


Tomorrow we set off to Wembley, the match boots are packed and the training is nearly complete. The lads have looked sharp and ready this week for the task ahead -to beat Cambridge and bring the cup, and with it league status, back to Torquay. It will be a tough game but if we play as we have done recently then we will have a great chance of winning. I desperately want to win this game, for my family, the fans, and everyone concerned with the club, as do all of the players. I hope more than anything that the next time I type away on this blog it is to talk about leading the team to victory. Until then...........


P.S To all my family and friends, chill out, no stress, see you after the game.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Apologies about the lack of blog posting yesterday. I thought I would have time last night but it was quite a late return home after attending the question and answer evening, put on by the Supporters Trust, at the club. The player of the year awards were given out and then it was time to face the music in the form of a Q and A. Only joking it was a great night, lots of interesting stuff from the select panel - some good questions and some even longer answers!!! (apologies again about my mention of Mansell's dodgy DVD's, they are not X- rated).
The one thing that stood out for me, apart from Hilly's answers and Frank O'Farrell's stories, was the goodwill for Sundays final. I was also asked about the blog and my philosophy on life.
My answer on that subject is short - Don't ask the Lord for anything, just thank him if you receive it !.

A strange thing happened yesterday, could it be a sign ?. I was walking into Starbucks with my Wife and the beast. A lady was exiting the premises and so I held the door for her - she actually held it for me at first but you know ladies first etc. Had I have shot in first the outcome would have been very different, my wife or the lady in question would have received the bomb.
The bomb I am talking about was in the form of **** and from a great height. A mutant seagull that I think had been on the pop for the last week, and eaten at every fast food takeaway, covered me in you know what. I am talking about my whole leather ( mock ) jacket entirely covered. I was lucky it didn't land on my head!!. I had to fold the jacket up and then drop it in the sink to clean it when I got into the shop.
No, that wasn't enough, Harriet then decided to throw her Babycinno over me, I know it is a good sign to be **** on, and in my career I have been many times!! but it has definitely put me off Starbucks.
It was already in my file under Megalomaniac's ( those who want to rule the world ) along with MacDonald's and Tesco. Don't get me wrong I love a frothy coffee and the odd big mac, and we do some serious hours in that big store. But, in order, the £9.50 it costs for two coffee's in Starbucks and the shouts I hear in there of ....... " I'll have a skinny, frothy, De- caff, no cream, latte with a shot of vanilla to go please " really wind me up.
As does the question " Any pastries with that, or perhaps a cake ". No let me breathe!!!!.
Then there's the home of the biggest weasel of all 'Ronald Mac'. I will smile when I want to thanks, and no, it's too late to throw the old salad chestnut in now, the damage is done!.
Finally Tesco's, again don't get me wrong we frequent that place a lot and it is cheap, but it's the War time type panic that sets in when one house gets flooded, the 0.001 pence you get back after every tenner spent and the constant stream of people determined to spend there lives reversing in the car park that gets me. Bring back the corner shop, the bakers, butchers and candle stick makers.
OK I'm done now!!!!.

P.S Jessica-May Nicholson is awesome, well done Jenny, oh and you Kev !!.

P.S Massive belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tyronne Thompson for last week. The 'Bunionater' has yet to bring the cakes in, but I for one will not hold it against him - as long as he brings them in tomorrow!. 'Ty' is a top lad and a top pro, he has been a real example to all this season, no moaning or sulking, he just does his job with a smile on his face and he does it well.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Belated congrats to Kev Nicholson and his future ( although she may still change her mind!) wife Jenny. Baby Jessica-May was born on Sunday morning at 6.34 a.m. Kev was more traumatised than anyone as he had gone 24 hours without a shower, but Jenny was a star, not only giving birth but also supporting Kev in his time of need. It is a really exciting time for them, they are going to make a top Mum and Dad.

Now a few clues - a toblerone, a bottle of red, a bottle of aftershave, and a homemade cake, eight cards, some money, four phone calls and five texts. Any idea's ?.
No problem, Thirty Seven years of age and twenty of that as a pro-footballer, yes it is my Birthday!. A lovely day was had, some nice pressies, a hat-trick, two skill schools( one with Danny S and Pokey for Setanta and one with my boy ), and a family tea complete with homemade chocolate cake ( beast blew all the candles out in one go !).

I also popped into Jodes salon, Jody gave me a short back and sides ( one inch of all over !) as usual. I love it in there, obviously I am not a massive fan of haircuts, or in fact being touched, but, if you want to chill out, have a coffee, and indulge yourself for a while ( i.e Mrs H ) then that is the place to do it.

I will have to sign off early again as we have a slight emergency, Harriet has learnt a naughty word and is shouting it all around the house. The older two are laughing and making her say it again and Mum is losing it. Dad is on the warpath !.


Monday, 11 May 2009


We trained on the pitch today which was good, a decent surface makes a big difference to the session. I'm not saying the racecourse is that bad but lets just say that Tiger Woods would have a heart attack trying to read the greens there. Great to see people at the ground today buying tickets. I know they are expensive but if it makes you feel any better most of the players will be a few quid down after Wembley!. What with the hotel and tickets last year I reckon I was around £300 down, and did I enjoy the experience ? no you gotta win it!!!!.
I will blog again later as the Hargreaves residence is currently a total madhouse, too many kids and not enough staff !!!!.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

Girls day out

A non football day today, I don't even know who won and lost in the Premiership this afternoon ( I'll watch it when Fiona goes to bed in approx 45 minutes ! ). No, today consisted of entertaining the girls, Cam stayed over at a mate's so I took the girls to the ice rink and then swimming - surfing will have to wait until tomorrow.
I watched ( too risky to join in! ) while Issy flew around the rink and Fiona dragged Harriet around, both on the verge of hitting the deck at all times !. We then all jumped in and splashed around in a freezing cold pool before heading home. Thanks Bunny for looking after the boy and Jason for picking him up, by the way the fish and chips were awesome!.
That's it tonight, other than to say to all, have a great Saturday night!.

P.S Huge congrats to Stevie and Natalie Adams who have just had their second child named Jack. Lovely lad, great family.

P.P.S Random but I have just watched a top programme, Claire Richards - My big fat wedding. Claire( of 'Steps' fame ) tries and succeeds in losing six and a half stone for her forthcoming wedding. A really down to earth girl who tells it how it is and is genuinely lovely, as is her bloke who is a top fella.
This is the sort of stuff I am subjected to regularly but on this occasion I have to say I actually enjoyed it!.


Friday, 8 May 2009

Weekend off

We trained on the pitch today, a good high tempo session with the lads all buzzing and ready for action. A few press-ups later and the morning was done.
Tonight is going to consist of a homemade curry and a bit of Johnny Ross. It is a strange feeling on a Friday night with no game the following day. I have said before that playing football is a bit like being inside or being in the Army, with the regimented training every day, the discipline, and the institutionalised feeling ( big word I know!) that you have it is scary to imagine life without that routine of training and of playing games.
I'm not saying that when I stop playing( in years to come!) I will head for the nearest prison or army barracks but I'm sure it will be difficult to adjust. This is probably why so many players go into either coaching or management or on the flip side struggle to cope with finishing and turn to drink - having no trade to fall back on is a common problem for many.
In the short term though having a Saturday off does have it's benefits, tomorrow will involve a stress free morning, lots of coffee and cake and then a few hundred falls off a surfboard. I have toned down my extra-curricular activities to surfing as back in my motocross days I pushed it too far on a few occasions and actually ended up missing a few games!!! - no club mentioned and the season was effectively over but none the less trying to explain a battered ankle after a weekend off was tricky !!.


Thursday, 7 May 2009

Full day

I'm not sure which is tougher, a nine hour day, ninety minutes of football or eleven hours of Harriet Hargreaves. I have just clocked off after taking on the last of these options. Obviously I am only joking I have loved having Hatty beast today but I can definitely sympathise with all those mothers, and some fathers , who look after their brood on a daily basis. I have been a bit pre-occupied lately, so another one of my nicknames, of 'Super dad', has been neglected.
Today, and in the next few days, that is to change.
Hatty and I started this morning at Bears Feet play centre. We drank, ate and played for an hour or so, but, before long, we both had itchy feet( no pun intended ) and needed a change of scenery. So I drove to Teignmouth, where we took on the play park on the sea front at full pace. After another forty five minutes we were again in need of refreshments so we walked up to the Beachcomber Cafe.
I thought it would be a case of a coffee for me and a drink and snack for 'H' but you don't get a nickname like the 'Beast' without some reason. Before long Hatty was tucking into her preferred choice of sausage and chips ! ( lets not mention my all day breakfast - I sent a picture of it to Bev's and he sent one back of himself, top off, doing weights !!!! ). We then headed back to base to plan the afternoon session!.
I decided that the mornings activities had been a bit steep at twenty quid (especially considering that Fiona was on the loose with the credit card) and so attempted to entertain all three children for free. We picked up Cam and Issy from school and travelled to Budleigh Salterton.
Once there we started with a flask of hot chocolate and doughnuts ( 51 pence for three at Tesco ! ) all cuddled up with a blanket watching the waves crash in. Then the clan chased the waves in and out for about an hour. After that we committed to a hike up the coastal path. We eventually returned home about five - job done.
Fiona then returned, we all had some food and then they all took off to the gym, athletics and footy run. Lastly I rigged up a mountain of furniture for 'H' to jump off and onto the bed ( It used to be a step ladder for the other two but Fiona banned it ! ), gave her a bath, read her a few stories and put her to bed. It may have been a long day but I love those crazy kid's. Saying that I am pleased to be back in to training tomorrow !.


Dog lead- lovers lead !!!!!!

Cruel game

John Terry must be hurting this morning after seeing his Chelsea team lose out to a great last minute strike and an incompetent referee last night. I took my son Cam ( a Chelsea fan ) to watch the footy and for 92 minutes we sat there comfortable in the knowledge that we would be watching the final with Chelsea in it. Well almost comfortable, because after twenty years in this crazy game I know how games can turn, and to be fair, in his short football life so far, my boy does to.
As soon as Essien swiped at the ball my instincts set in and I shouted "trouble hear", two seconds later and the ball was nestling in the Chelsea net, with it ripping the hearts out of the Chelsea players and every non-prawn sandwich eating true Chelsea supporter. After seeing his team be one penalty kick away from the European cup last year, his and his dad's team be nine minutes from a play-off final and then lose a cup final, Cam was surprisingly, but understandably philosophical about the nights events.
He just smiled and said " That's unbelievable, but what do you expect from a Norwegian ref, what good ever came out of Norway, fishing and sledging"!!. Very harsh I know, because for anyone who has been to Norway they will know that it is a fantastic place with great people but from a ten year old's perspective that was his take on the ref's performance. I'm sure much worse will be said over the next few days though!.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009


I have just been thinking about Monday's game against Histon and I have come to the conclusion that they did everything in their power to beat us - let's not forget the fact that we also had the 'pleasure' of watching another team come back from a two goal deficit just hours before we faced a team with a two goal lead ( I'm thinking playing the games at the same time would be just ever so slightly fairer!).
I'm not just talking about the long throws, corners and free-kicks, that comes with the territory. No what I'm talking about is the flooded pitch ( rumour has it they had a hose on it at one point, not just a sprinkler !) which Kenny and Shaun said at one point was nearly unplayable, the gritted pitch which was like falling on to a gravel pit, and the 'Stare out' tactic.
This was where John Beck, their assistant manager came into it, for those of you who can't remember him he was the manager of the Cambridge team that threatened to get into the premiership at one point. I remember playing there for Grimsby in the early nineties and it was the same then, cold showers, no running water and a pitch that could have doubled as a sand pit.
As we arrived at the ground and walked towards the changing room Beck was there, arms crossed, fixed look, staring at every player who walked past. I just smiled and said " Hello mate how you doing?" but Mr Todd went one better. Yes Toddy's dad had roamed into the tunnel area looking for refreshments. He saw Beck, who he hadn't recognised, and asked him " Excuse me mate do you know where I can get a cup of tea? ". Brilliant, old 'Becky' snapped back " Yeah in there somewhere".
Good work Mr Todd.
Whatever they threw at us we took it though, but I have to give credit to their players after the game. Straight after the final whistle their captain, and the player I was up against all afternoon, shook my hand and wished me good look in the final. He was obviously gutted but I think he knew that we had stood up to the bombardment and deserved to get there. It's hard to be humble in defeat but the Histon players were, and whether they agree with their own managements tactics or not, they gave it one hell of go.
We now have a couple of day's off to recharge the batteries and turn off from football, then we will return to training and prepare for the final.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

One step closer

It's 2.30 a.m and I have just returned from Histon, well almost !. I had to nip back to the services, where we meet, after an SOS call from the Plymouth crew - Damo had lost his keys so I have given them my car to drive home in!!!.
What a game, I am absolutely shattered, but also absolutely delighted that we have got through these two games. Friday's game for me was a blur. James' funeral was at 2 p.m in the afternoon and my Mum said that it was the saddest thing she has ever witnessed. A mother seeing her son of seventeen buried is just horrendous and I couldn't get that thought out of my mind all day.

I had to do my job though, and that was to try to help the team to victory.
Obviously with the second leg now done, and the tie won, god willing we are just one win away from the football league.

I don't think I have ever headed so many balls in one game in my career. It was relentless, long throw, corner, free-kick, goal kick, and back to long throw again, for 90 minutes. The boys were magnificent though as were you fans who cheered us on all afternoon. Every time we defended another 'Bomb' into the box a huge cheer could be heard. If ever there was a thirteenth man it was today, thank-you to everyone who travelled to watch us, you were brilliant.

I have to say a huge thanks as well to my family, and, on behalf of all the lads, to their families!!!. Any wife or girlfriend, Mum or Dad, Son or Daughter will tell you that footballers never turn off from football and are more up and down than a yo-yo. At least now we are all one step closer to a stress free summer!.
It has been a crazy month really, at one point thinking we could go straight up, then being on the edge of the play-offs and now winning the Semi-final. The last two seasons have certainly been entertaining.
The pain of last season has driven me, and I'm sure many others on. I hope it is our destiny to win it this year. Until then let us all enjoy this small victory.

Sleep time!.


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Half time

A decent result last night gives us a good lead going into Monday nights game. The second leg will still be very tough though so we must take nothing for granted.

Today was a varied bag with 'Bev's' lifting weights in a Peta Cech style head guard, Wayne having a sponsored massage, Kev showing all at the beach ( a game of cricket, a quick dip in the sea and a medicinal pint is definitely good for the soul ) and 'Manse' eating his own body weight in sausages ( comfort eating as Michelle is in Marbella! ).
Tomorrow we set off to Histon aiming to finish the job.


Friday, 1 May 2009

In Memory of James

James Carroll 1992-2009