Saturday, 27 February 2010

Wrestling mania

A bizarre day ending with of all things, Wrestling!. Firstly though a big well done to my old team mates on winning such a vital game at home today. With our game today being postponed it was a case of watching the 'footy' and then the 'rugger'- whilst keeping another eye on the Sky Sports News channel of course.
I really hope that T.U.F.C can now pull away from the relegation zone after their result today.
As far as we are concerned it was frustrating not to be playing this afternoon but I suppose the results went well for us so we cannot complain. It is an odd feeling not to be playing on a Saturday afternoon but with so many games still to play it may be a blessing in disguise.
The Hargreaves clan went to see the Millers this afternoon and after a great feast of burger and chips and a spot of Rugby we headed into the unknown, we took the children to watch some wrestling mania. In a word it was mental, a great laugh all the same and well worth the entrance fee to see so much humour in a ring!
Tonight will be a Winter Olympic fix and tomorrow morning we are on the track, well unfortunately not on it but next to it as we are going to watch the Motocross. Wellies on, bacon buns, petrol fumes, and lots of mud. Cannot wait.


Friday, 26 February 2010

Sad day

Express blog for the moment as I am about to take part in a very competitive game of Monopoly with my children.
With tomorrows game with Chester obviously off (a very sad end to a club in turmoil more of which I will discuss at a later date) I shot back down the Motorway to Devon this evening and now have a few days more recovery time before we play against Cambridge next Tuesday.
The news that Pompey are in administration isn't a huge surprise but like Chester's situation it really is a sad day for football that both clubs are in such a mess.
Tomorrow it goes without saying that all things 'crossable' are crossed, for a T.U.F.C victory.

P.S Dependant on the children's bedtime and latterly my red wine consumption there may be a later blog.


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Call up?

Like most people I was shocked to see the news that Wayne Bridge had chosen to abstain from his England call up. Surely he is a big enough of a character to be able to go to the forthcoming friendly and just get on with things and do his job. Regardless of his understandable breakdown of communications with John Terry it must have been a huge dilemma for him whether or not to turn his back on his country. That is probably a bit unfair actually, he is more likely turning his back on the deceit, controversy, and bull**** of it all, but ultimately the lure of playing for your country and possibly going to a world cup must surely win out.

I am trying in vain to keep in touch with people at the moment but with Terra firma time at a premium it is very difficult, especially when Hattie has important stories to tell me such as "Daddy, once, a once a time there was a girl called Barriet (odd!) and she had some lovely pets, a hamster, a rabbit, a crocodile, a lion, and a polar bear". I must remember to monitor the poor girls chocolate intake. Apologies to all whose texts and calls have yet to be replied to, tomorrow it is!.
Today involved childcare (Ruby Miller a pure diamond), car care (Ian Rae a pure diamond) and hair care (Jody Shelley a pure diamond). Tonight involved a meal out with my clan which was pure bliss and tomorrow it's back to work so it's a reattachment of a groin and off to work we go.

P.S Lamby hope your feeling better mate.

P.P.S RBS giving out 1.3 billion pounds in bonuses despite suffering huge losses. A complete joke, and all paid for by..... the tax payer of course!


Wednesday, 24 February 2010


One of the most annoying games I have ever watched tonight. The referee would have let a head lock go such was his leniancy, Lucio at the back for Inter Milan dived at an almost world class level for a centre back, the winger Bollieteri/Balleteri/Ballerina Ballantine who came on for Inter had tights and cycling shorts on, and the sub keeper for Chelsea, Hillario, who is probably on about forty grand a week, cannot actually kick the ball. My boy has gone to bed in a bad mood such was his disdain at the show on offer.



I have just nearly pulled my groin shouting at the ref, that was as much a penalty as Ashley Cole's outbox was rapidly deleted. I also feel conned that Sky Sports 1 is the same as Sky Sports News tonight, why I am I paying sixty quid a month! Oh yes Top Gear on Dave, Peppa Pig, and 'icarly'.


It's a Pen!

Penalty Ref, come on!

Night Vision

Well all in all I think it was a pretty good night of football, with us winning against a decent AFC Wimbledon side and the Gulls getting another vital point at Cheltenham I think last nights results went well. Had Cheletenham have won that game it would have been a big blow so getting the late equaliser is a massive psychological boost I'm sure for the team.
Our game against Wimbledon had the potential to be a banana skin but it was actually the best we have played in recent weeks and to get the win was vital. That is three wins on the bounce now and after such a hammer blow at Luton it was important that we showed a good reaction. I was one of the last to leave the changing room last night and as I sat there in the vast space I thought to myself how lucky I was to be still playing and how good it feels after a win. I soon snapped myself out of it though whilst 'shoe horning' myself into a freezing cold bath!
I then returned home to Devon and when I eventually arrived back at about 1 a.m this morning, after having sat through two hours of five live debates and around twenty sections of my favourite 50mph zones, what did I do? Yes I turned Sky Sports News on!
With my son being unwell today we decided to have a proper boys day consisting of bacon buns, pizza, Top Gear, FiFa 10, and a trip to see my mate Ian at his car garage. Surely it is too much to expect to be able to watch the 'footy' on TV later as well!!.
I am though like the proverbial old labrador today, my hips and groins are in tatters, I seem to have worms, and my walking capabilities are of a John Wayne meets the Tin Man level. I am nipping to see the Guru later though so all should be well in a couple of days.

P.S Nice to see the Andrews posse last night, see you guys very soon.


Monday, 22 February 2010

Back and Forth

It's a quick turnaround tonight as I have just returned from my 'pundit' slot in Plymouth, that after a snow/sleet/rain filled journey back from Oxford, and am soon to be back in the car to Oxford. We have a big game against Wimbledon tomorrow so I would like to wake up tomorrow not having to drive through the elements to get there.
The family are in full flow with 'Hatty' convincing me that horses can be milked (can they!) and that all Doctor's are bad (are they!), Cam taking part in a sponsored Wii Fifa 10 session ( very long), Issy on a sponsored thumb sucking and 'Bun Bun' hugging session (even longer at 9 years and counting!), and my wife sitting down for the first time all day and starting her 'textathon'.
I am going to sit down for an hour, have an ice bath, hug the children (OK and wife), then jump back in the car and head back to my hotel.
I will sign off now so here's hoping for a big win tomorrow for us and all things crossed for the Torquay lads tomorrow at Cheltenham. I am again at the time in the season where the focus is absolute on two fronts, winning games at Oxford Utd and providing for my lovely little family. It is a tough job but one that I am eternally thankful I can do.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Home time

All the lads were really disappointed to lose today's game. I had a day off to clear up a few niggles and watched on eager that we could get a good result but it wasn't to be. Fair play to Kidderminster though who are now in a Cup Semi-final, but ultimately we are hoping for a bigger prize, promotion.
I returned home to Devon tonight to find five hyperactive children and two tired mums playing 'just dance' on the Wii. Some great shapes were being thrown out but the worrying thing is that when I left two days ago for Oxford the same game was being played!
Tonight is mainly an ever so small tad of red and more football. As far as the sleeping arrangements are concerned though I could well be faced with another night of Harriet's elbows and feet but it is nice to woken up by her smiling and saying "Come on it's time, shall we watch Peppa Pig Dad".
Tomorrow day it is beach and fresh air and tomorrow night it is Motorway and hotel.

An unusual time to blog but with my room being cleaned for it's next occupants and with half an hour to spare I thought why not. Firstly a well done to my old team mates for getting an important point at Rotherham last night, a point that may well be vital come the end of the season.
Yesterday saw the 'Tiger Woods apology' press conference and what an apology it was. Nearly fourteen minutes of nearly every topic possible, in what has to be the longest 'sorry' in sporting history. To be honest I didn't like it and its not because of a dislike for the great man, and he is great, or the fact that I don't play golf. I just don't think it was necessary to harp on about charities, Buddhism, and the like in front of the worlds press. Just turn up to watch the tournament and say "I have had a nightmare, I am so sorry to my wife and everyone else involved and I hope that one day I can get your respect back" job done, move one.
I know he is a global superstar who is a money making machine to so many, hence the big charm offensive, but he is still his own man and I think that a simple honest apology would have done just as much good. Again in the sporting world though the forgiveness of said partners astounds me, I think my wife would have removed the heads from my golf clubs or moved me to Dubai had my indescretions been revealed as with Woods and Terry!
The funny thing is that with the American public, and to some extent the British as well, everything is in the spotlight and we understandably like our heroes to be good role models. Imagine if Sepp Blatter had held that press conference, it may have been a little different. On hearing about John Terry's recent misdemeanors and the aftermath of it, FIFA's president Blatter said "I think the criticism is harsh, in our country he would be hailed as a hero".
There you go then, lets all move to Switzerland and have a party!!!!!!!!!.

Time to go, we have a game to win.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Paper Bag

An 'earlyish' start this morning with a slot on the BBC radio Oxford breakfast show. We talked about tomorrows cup game against Kidderminster and the fact that we are very close to a Wembley visit. The radio team also very kindly replayed some commentary form the last final I was in. The lure of playing at the national stadium is huge and I really hope we can get there, just not in the league! Hopefully that stress buster can be bypassed with automatic promotion. There is a long way to go and obviously all the other teams at the top are fighting for the title but we have to believe that it can be done.
With T.U.F.C playing tonight it is vital they get a result before all the other teams play tomorrow. Tough times at the moment but I am sure it will turn, it has to really otherwise those fifty seven games or so last season will have been in vain.
Well that is the serious stuff done, now it is a waiting game on finding a hotel with accommodation. If not, please have pity on me if you see me aimlessly pounding the streets of Oxford with a mysterious brown paper bag in my hand!

New Hotel Blog to follow.


Thursday, 18 February 2010


I am in transit tonight so no long blog. Today I spent time catching up with the family, tonight I am travelling back to another room, and tomorrow I am training in preparation for Saturday's game. I shall blog at length tomorrow but for now it is a Shepard's pie and all the trimmings. Funnily enough it has been a day of pies with the humble and custard varieties being received and given.
I have never twittered or 'facebooked' but I suppose this type of blog is very similar in it's shortness - just without the hassle of having to reply to anyone that is. Meldrew is back I hear you say!


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I was delighted with last nights result, beating Rushden 1-0. The spectacle wasn't great but no one will mind about that whilst reading the paper this morning. These games are often tight and although we didn't play as well as we might have, winning was vital. Nearly eight thousand fans cheered us to victory which is incredible on a Tuesday night especially with Man Utd on the box!

I arrived back about 1.30 a.m this morning having been mesmerised by the U.K's new motorway set up and new speed limit. Basically we are now driving on a huge network of aeroplane runways whilst the new speed limit on the M ways is now 50 mph. I actually got through 2.30 hours of talk sport whilst driving home after the game and had Jeremy Clarkson been on that journey he would no doubt have tried to machine gun down about 100'average speed cameras' and got through around 200 Marlboro lights. I have never seen so many cones and lights in my life, in fact when I eventually shut my eyes at around 3.30 a.m. all I could see was flashing bulbs!
This morning, after a Hargreaves family group hug and after seeing a man or two about a dog or two, I popped to see Jody (Jodes Salon) for a short back and sides, some football chat, and a mild therapy session - basically Jody takes half an inch off the length, then we discuss the football world, and then we have a good old gossip. In fact is is all in reverse order!
I then took the older two children to a well known toy shop to replace lost and broken scooters and to buy a car seat. As usual they had everything in stock apart from those items. My new nemesis is ToysRus.
With my wife still a little under the weather and with the arrival of Auntie Becky, Josh and Millie, I decided to cook a roast dinner. With my body temperature rising well above the recommended 37 degrees and having used every single piece of crockery in the house the job was done, complete with heavy duty Yorkshire Puds.
Now where is the red wine.

P.S Thank you so much for your help Grandma Joan, I hope the journey wasn't too traumatic. We have now welcomed your other daughter and grandchildren in to the madhouse!


Monday, 15 February 2010

Jam Tarts

An early start for yours truly this morning - only to get to Oxford and realise that I had arrived for training two hours early - however with training as usual being very bright, Andrea's post training shepards pie and rice pudding both being tremendous, and Lindsey's massage and banter equally as good it wasn't too much of a hardship. I am slowly getting used to rolling up to a new training ground every day, and being with a different set of lads, I should be used to that though having done it around eleven times in my career.
Most footballers are the same really, they need to be worked, kept happy, fed and watered. The first and last of those requirements are easy, its the second that is the most difficult as not everyone can play every week! We have a tough game against Rushden tomorrow night and after my fifth ice bath in 48 hours I should be ready to play.
On the home front I took the children for a late walk last night before bed. Harriet looked after us on the way round scaring away the 'Munsters' and she was also still talking about her jam tart lovehearts (in a loveheart shaped bowl no less) that 'Wull' next door had given her for Valentines day. As we walked along Topsham highstreet it was hard not to look through some of the restaurants and notice quite a few very tense looking couples 'enjoying' a romantic meal out. Whether it was the emptiness of the eataries or the sheer pressure on the lovebirds to enjoy themselves the cheese knife was definitely needed to cut the atmosphere. I opted for long distance InterFlora, a little pressie, and an I owe you. I can't tell you what the last one is for but if I say that Fiona's mum is staying at the moment it may give you a clue!!!!!!!!.

P.S I haven't officially thanked the T.U.F.C lads for the highs and lows, laughs and more laughs, help, and freindship that they gave me during my time at the club. You were always a full five percent behind me men and thanks for being the cause of my rounded shoulders and back pain (It's a carrying joke!) Only joking of course, a top group of lads who I absolutely loved working with, even you 'Dingle'. I will give you a full rundown of the charcters still at the club sometime but for now I gotta go as my new mates are here, ever seen the film Shallow Hal !!


Sunday, 14 February 2010


I travelled home last night relieved to have won our game against Histon. Going from being captain of one club under pressure to captain of another club under pressure is tough but, as always, wins do help. I was really disappointed to see Torquay lose and I know it is harsh for me to say it but it is just a good job that Grimsby aren't winning - they being the club that I made my debut for and also had two promotions with so I don't want them to be relegated.
Tough times at Plainmoor but there are some good players at T.U.F.C and they can soon put a few results together to pull away from danger.
Like the rest of the country I have been reading about the 'Terrygate' scandal and to be honest the whole thing is a joke. Having already allegedly offered £10,000pound 'back hander' tours of Cobham (Chelsea's training ground) and touting his Wembley box for £4,000, he then tops it all off by servicing his best mates ex-missus behind his (Wayne Bridges) back. Mrs T then flies off to Dubai in a huff only to welcome him and his chequebook back with open arms six days later - I would still be well and truly locked out of my wife's hotel room if I had tampered with my old mates missus - again that is, sorry Kev! (also a left back eh!)
Then we have the replacement captain, Rio Ferdinand, (already ever so slightly dodgy having 'missed' a drugs test and making an interesting home video with friends) in hot water on his stag week with an Israeli model. Throw in Ashley Cole with his 'pleased to see you' picture texts, sent by a 'friends' phone to a page three girl, and you have one huge melting pot of 'Chavness'. The best bit is that John Terry was 2009 dad of the year and old Rio is patron of the Princes trust with press releases this week calling him a 'role model.
It's not even about the money, although seeing Terry on £180,000 thousand a week must deflate even the most philosophical of players who are plying the same trade and are mostly on around £179,000 less, but more often a lot lower!!. It is about taking the **** and this week I'm afraid too many have.
While I am on the warpath the F.A lot are just as bad, but for different reasons. They are all on massive salaries, making massive decisions (mostly bad ones), eating four hour lunches, bending over backwards for the privileged, and swanning round like they are high profile politicians - who incidentally are just as bad.
Then in the 'real' world we have Barclays bank declaring their £10 billion pound profit margins and their £2 billion pounds given in bonuses to people who have made lots of money from the poor sods who are up to their necks in debt.
If I am wrong about any of the above then I whole heartedly apologise to all those concerned but to the naked eye I reckon it's about right.
Finally, I watched a great documentary on Friday night about a Task Force travelling through a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. The constant danger of IED devices, the searing heat, and the lack of sleep had was incredible to see. Yes they do choose their line of work but they certainly do earn their money on the job.

Back on the motorway tomorrow and back in room 101 or similar.


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Short and sharp

It's a case of catching up tonight in the Hargreaves household so no long blog. Tomorrow however I will not be holding back. Subjects will of course include T.U.F.C and O.U.F.C but will also include the shambles that is both the F.A and Premiership at the moment and the torrid reputation of our 'top' footballers. Also discussed will be the war in Afghanistan and the 10 billion pound profit (and 2 million pound bonuses given) made by Barclays bank. Yes the rants are back. Have a great Saturday night and a Happy Valentines day to be.


Friday, 12 February 2010


In a word, or two, this country is pretty much the same everywhere. Apart from London that is. For a start, in London everybody is either jogging or at an Olympic fast walking standard - this applies to the 'suits', the locals, the families, and the tourists. Secondly if you ask anyone a question they look at you as if you are about to murder them. Finally and most importantly when visiting you become cloned into London life, your pace increases dramatically, you don't acknowledge anyone and you certainly don't become embroiled in conversation.
I do love London though and would live there, obviously on the condition that I was very, very rich and that I lived somewhere else for the other nine months of the year!
Club wise and I met up with some of the club hierarchy today, the manager, chairman, and Jim Smith . The combined amount of games played and managed, and stories told, was on a scale of ridiculous proportions. All unrepeatable of course but all the same top stuff!
Tomorrow we face Histon in a game that we must win. Who could forget last years play-off semi-final away last season against them complete with a sand pit of a pitch, a second half of 50 corners, and a post match 'pec' dance. A lad who played in that game for Histon, Jack Midson, is at Oxford now and he said they were a great bunch of lads who really over achieved. I hope that is not the case come 4.45 p.m. Here's hoping for a O.U.F.C and T.U.F.C double tomorrow.


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Big Book

It was good to get back on the training ground this morning to exorcise any demons still remaining from Tuesday nights game - all players will tell you the same bar none that this is the best remedy for football blues. That done, in the snow of Oxford, it was time to talk books. I jumped on a train to London, of which I will talk about tomorrow as I am shattered tonight, to meet Scott, Corinna, and Robin at Harper Collins.
Scott and his team have kindly/bravely/ given the go ahead for 'the' book to be written and so without further ado 'Where's Your Caravan' has officially been commissioned. I am really excited about writing it and I am sure that in 100,000 words time or so I will also be very relieved!
Hopefully I will also be publishing the second Captains blog at the end of the season (unplugged!), it will of course have a massively different ending to that of which I had planned but maybe it will have two happy endings this time round.
Now though it is now time for bed - incidentally that bed is not in room 105, 111, 139, or 239. No it is actually room 1 this time and it is in a different hotel entirely. Nice place, good bed, but tonight is 'Piano Bar' night and I am ten feet away from the pianist. You play it I'll sing it!.

P.S Scott, I am trying with the unneeded apostrophes or is it apostrophe's !

P.P.S Sorry to all for lack of replies to texts and calls, I am frazzled.

P.P.P.S Thanks Lindsey and John for the rebuilding work


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Knife to the heart

Great atmosphere, great crowd, three minutes from a really hard fought and deserved victory. Dodgy free kick given results in a corner. They score from it. The referee then adds on another minute. They get another corner. It loops up high and goes straight into the net. The lad who took it hadn't scored for two years. The referee blows his whistle and they think they have won the world cup. He might as well have picked a sword up and finished me off there and then. I drive home arriving back at 2.30 a.m. Kids up for school and wife extremely ill. In summary I think there is no such thing as divine inspiration, either good things happen or bad things happen, and last night it was bad, very, very, very bad.
So what's the next stage? Go to the pub ? No, can't do that as got to look after wife and children. Wreck the house in a fit of rage? No, can't do that as it's rented. Take it on the chin and piece the heart and head back together for Thursday morning? Correct.


Monday, 8 February 2010


Apologies about the lack of blog last night, I travelled back to Oxford, to my second home, that being my hotel. It was room 139 last night which was much better than room 111 (very cold) and also room 219 (a ten minute trek), so far 105 has been the best stable with perfect temperature, close proximity to reception, and with the right configuration of bed to TV, to toilet, to door, to wardrobe. I actually woke up this morning not knowing where I was - just like the old day's! I think it was the constant changes in room set ups that had flummoxed me, in fact I headed to the window in the middle of the night thinking it was the bathroom. Still, it is a lovely hotel and I was quite happy being tucked up last night with another one of Hattie's teddies to keep me company whilst watching the Superbowl. I have also solved the concrete mattress problem, I now carry a suitcase with me containing a memory foam cover and my own 'special' pillow. Yes I do have OCD!,
After training today I nipped back to see Nat at the BBC. I love doing the punditry but found it hard today to comment on T.U.F.C's fortunes. Even picking the paper up to look at the match report is odd - because I'm not in it! It will take a while to get used to, after all it only seems like yesterday that we were celebrating promotion. I do have to move on though as tomorrow night I have a huge game to play in myself.
After the 'Beeb' I popped in to see Richard (Back quack/guru/AC Milan jet setter) for a quick clunk and click and then it was back home to see the family. Four stories, a game of hide and seek, and a chicken curry later and I am now going to relax, oh I must not forget the ice bath, can't wait!.

P.S Hello Jase and Sarah - cook offs and road trips to begin again soon


Saturday, 6 February 2010



Well I have just arrived back in Devon (with three Easter eggs and an industrial sized toblerone for the clan) after a good, if a bit frustrating, return to the Kassam stadium. Firstly though I was gutted to see the lad's lose at Hereford today. Like everyone I am concerned at the position the club find themselves in, I think it is time for a war cry to get everybody pulling in the same direction from players, to staff, and of course to the fans. It would be great if the club could put a real push on to get more fans through the turnstiles, maybe reducing the ticket prices for the run in and saying come and support us as we need you.
I know a lot of talk has been of progression at the club and as I have said before I'm all for it, but at the moment I think a bit of blood and thunder football is required, at least to get a few wins on the board and then worry about the performances and the progression later. It is easy for me to talk about it now as I know how hard it is out there, but you can never underestimate the value of team spirit and fight so hopefully next weekend Port Vale will know they have been in a game and will be leaving Devon empty handed.
Now to Oxford, my new club. Today was one of those day's when the ball just did not want to go in the back of the net, plenty of chances just no finish. I was really grateful for the kind reception I got and had really hoped my for a win on my return but it wasn't to be. The effort was definitely there though and it was a game that could have been lost at the end whilst pushing for the victory so all in all we take the point and look forward to a massive game against Luton away on Tuesday. It will be a 10,000 sellout crowd so a great game to play in and an even better one to win.
The pressure and expectation at Oxford is very high but it should be, the club need promotion as badly we did in those last few seasons. I want promotion for that club as I wanted it for Torquay so hopefully the same happens as it did for us come the end of a hard seasons work.
I will be travelling back up to Oxford tomorrow for training on Monday and then nipping back to see Nat for a little 'punditry' on the evening. Until then it's a catch up, a walk on the beach, and a Grandma Joan roast. As far as the family are concerned I haven't seen Hattie yet but apparently she is even more obsessed with "Wull" next door (her boyfriend) to the point where she demands to see him every day after school, the school they go to together that is!!. Issy has nearly recovered from the question mark swine flu/glandular fever/tonsillitis/fancy a couple of weeks off school virus! Cam has just reluctantly gone to bed but is looking forward to wearing his new boots and destroying the opposition tomorrow, and finally my wife Fiona was busy checking out Tiffany's entire online collection on my return. Nothing changes really!
Enjoy the weekend one and all.


Friday, 5 February 2010


With so many of today's football clubs either in debt, running at a loss, or in really, really big debt it is a wonder how long the 'football' bubble will continue for. West Ham's new supremo David Sullivan has expressed dismay at the overspending seen at so many clubs even hinting that one may go out of business altogether. I don't see that happening, partly because fan's love the game too much and there are plenty of wealthy fan's out there to bail clubs out. I'm not even sure that there will be a wage cap as the best will always demand more money but two things have happened recently that we have never seen before in football.
Firstly Gordon Brown has voiced his concern that our top clubs find themselves in huge debt, he has described it as irresponsible management. Secondly the 'Pompey' and England goalkeeper David James has said he will fore go his entitlement to a new £2million a year contract - after almost playing the required 20 games this season to get one - so that the club can continue to play him, and so that he can play in the World Cup of course!.
I think that many clubs, and their managers and chairman, are just speculating to accumulate, buying player's they 'hope' will do well, only to often to be left with a 'pink pony' on upwards of 30k a week. So what is the answer? A wage cap may be the way forward and I for one will be happy to accept 10k a week across the board for all footballers across the divisions!!!!!!. I would love to see what Sir John Harvey Jones (business problem solver and more often saver) would say if he were allowed to see a clubs financial state of affairs. The main problem is that the people at the top at a football club sometimes have too much of an emotional pull for the club that they often support and so are blinded by the teams fortunes. That and the demands of the players and their agents.
The other problem is that the players don't often have an emotional attachment to their clubs so it is totally irrelevant to them how much trouble their own club is in. Whilst at Northampton Town I agreed to have my wages cut by 25 percent because I really wanted to stay at the club and knew that financially they were in a tight spot. Was it the right thing to do ? I felt it was at the time but the following season I tried my hand at a bit of house renovation to make up for the shortfall in wages. The result was though that I ended up playing like Tommy Walsh never mind building like him, plastering walls after training and stripping floorboards before games is not the best accompaniment to full time playing!
I just hope that when my son is old enough to play professionally - if that is what he chooses to do - that the wages will still be sufficiently good for him to be able buy his Dad an Aston Martin!.

P.S Due to unforeseen circumstances, including a transfer, two illnesses, a few hospital visits, and a few hundred miles, a big apology goes out to Dan and Jen (next door). Fiona rang me tonight to say that she had, as prompted by myself, sent Hattie to Morgan's (son of Dan and Jen) first Birthday party complete with a Fi-Fi DVD, two In The Nightgarden books and a pink card!
I had mistakenly told my wife before I had left that it was Ellie's birthday party, (daughter of Jen and Dan and two years older) and so to save any further embarrassment I thought I would accept full blame on the blog. Anyway I hope that Ellie enjoyed her pressie you guys and don't worry, Morgan will of course get his present, on Ellie's birthday!!!!!!!
I think it was 'that' set at tennis you fluked Dan, it totally upset my thought process. See you on court next week for more clarity!



Thursday, 4 February 2010

Day's off

With my back in place - bed much better last night so no displaced discs - I trained with the lad's this morning. Having only played 30 minutes so far I got a little bit of stick, deservedly so, for rolling up on a Thursday having had a few day's off, but as I told the lad's it was a good 30 minutes!
There are a few old faces from my earlier time at the club, Billy 'I will shout at my defenders all game long even if they are doing well' Turley is still there, as are a few of the backroom staff including Alan 'five decades in football' Hodgkinson, but otherwise it is a different place on and off the pitch. Two things that have remained constant however are Andrea's brilliant post training food and Lindsey's (fitness guru/kit man/decent bloke) bone dry banter.
It still seems strange being away form T.U.F.C but in football you have to expect the unexpected. I find myself writing today's blog in a golf and country club near the training ground (it was a necessity to find weights to hammer and coffee to drink) and although very nice this new life is going to take some getting used to. I am used to having Harriet trying to pull the key's off the laptop or WW3 exploding upstairs.
I am getting through phone credit at will as staying in touch with my wife at all times is paramount (are you eating well/ who is that in the background etc etc!!!) and for a 6ft tall 13st man I am also safe in the knowledge that Harriet has given me her Cow to keep me safe - I wonder what the maid thinks when she sees it sat on my pillow!
Tomorrow it's a vist to a few old freinds but for now it's a stroll through 'Morse' land.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Belated well done to my bro Mark, more top marks and more light shining through at the end of the tunnel.

I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who couldn't quite believe the final result last night, another late goal conceded means more lost points. It will change in the end but it's the in between stage that hurts the most.
Tonight I am heading off to my on/off home for the next few months - room 105! I have certainly spent a few nights in hotels over the last twenty or so seasons, some good and some bad. I have to say that this one is very nice apart from the concrete mattress and the ice cold room temperature. I am determined to work out the air con system tonight though and I will also be on the hunt for a softer mattress as last week I ended up playing with a shattered vertebrae, frozen shoulder, and locked neck.

I must quickly (very quickly) mention that Dan - next door neighbour and surf extraordinaire - managed to get a set off me (tennis) the other day. Well done mate but it will never happen again. You played very well but I was well, well below par!

The children are annoyed at me going away, Cam will miss beating me at any X-Box game ever invented and he will miss our constant banter - he has abandoned his surf hair cut tonight and gone back to his old school look, thank-you Amanda (next door neighbour again but this time hairdresser extraordinaire) for rescuing the job, the wine is on it's way.
Hattie will miss hide and seek, fighting, stories, painting, eating competitions, kissing, hugs, and den building, and Issy, well come to think of it Issy won't actually miss me at all , she is 9 years of age after all. As far as my wife is concerned I am dispensable as Grandma Joan (her Mum) is currently staying. Grandad Iain however has gone. After exhausting all the odd jobs needing doing here he has returned home...... to do more odd jobs there!
I bid you farewell and will be on my merry way.

P.S Tomorrow I aim to find the most random WiFi cafe in Oxford from where I will randomly blog.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010


A very odd time to post a blog tonight but with our game (Oxford that is!) called off - Cambridge have to play in the F.A trophy match - and with me having been given a few day's off I have some welcome time on my hands. Cam has been dispatched to football, Harriet is watching crocodiles on TV with Issy, and Mrs H is shopping (Internet!!) so I am free for half an hour.
The big news to dominate the front pages has obviously been John Terry's off field misdemeanors. On the pitch it was business as usual but off it JT has landed himself in hot water by doing the dirty on one of his team mates, Wayne Bridge. It was interesting to see that some of Bridge's Man City team mates wore 'Team Bridge' vests at a recent game - some meaning non of Terry's England colleagues!.
I think Capello would be a brave man to strip Terry of the England captaincy but to be honest I think it would be a good move if he did. You keep him as England captain and you are basically saying 'Anything goes', you take the captaincy away and you are saying 'You have gone too far this time'. No one will care if he ends up lifting the World Cup but in today's high profile, high earning game I think the often heralded 'Man's man' Terry has certainly crossed the line and he definitely has not lived up to the reputation that comes with being 'One of the lad's'. Poor play all round John my son!.
I will be travelling up to Oxford again tomorrow in preparation for our game against 'Kiddy' at the weekend. As we know all games are important at this stage of the season and this one is no exception, a win is needed to keep the challenge up. Talking of needing results, T.U.F.C kick off in around ten minutes so it's good luck to the lad's from me and hopefully a win for the travelling fans.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Fish and Chips

With both the older Hargreaves girls under the weather yesterday I took Hattie and Cam to the beach for a walk/coffee/ice cream. Before this I took my boy for a quick game of tennis - like I'm sure many across the country did after seeing Murray unfortunately given the runaround by Federer - it is such a great sport that I almost wish I had played it instead of football, almost. Cam and I have also made a bet of which us gets our own court first. Cam is currently the favourite!.
Back to the beach and before we had even set foot near water the remit was to buy two big ice creams and a coffee for Dad. The location was Budleigh Salterton and the eaterie was The Creamery. The coffee was spot on, carefully done with just the right blast of caffeine required. As the proud proprietor said "You wouldn't get that in Costa coffee" and he was right, you wouldn't. I am now on a support the local produce and sellers promotion push and ten minutes after our refreshment break we were given another great example of local produce at it's best.
A little fishing boat was coming in to shore and Hattie wanted to "See the big fish" so we walked down to watch as the fisherman skillfully winched in his boat. He had caught a wide range of fish including Cod, Pollock, Plaice and Sole. He also showed us some Dog fish ( called 'Rock fish' in your local chippie because no one would really want to buy 'Dog fish, chips and peas' would they!) Part of the shark family the Dog Fish really did impress the children and last week we had actually eaten Rock and chips as the chip shop had no Haddock. This major blow of a fish shop having no Haddock 'on' probably seems strange to many but us Grimsby folk love our Haddock and class Cod as a 'dirty' fish. The fisherman laughed when I told him and did know of this 'Northern' preference of haddock but has promised to convert me, suggesting eating it on the day and on the bone. He told me he is usually on the beach, with a pirates flag flying, selling his fish from about 9.30 until he sells out at about 1. Now that is local industry at it's best.
A bizarre blog I know but I couldn't resist. Tomorrow it's the dying art of the Blacksmith and a trip to a local market. I am joking of course!.