Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Paul Bristow

Tonight's blog is dedicated to Paul Bristow, vice Chairman of Torquay Utd FC, who tragically died this morning. Paul was a real gent and a huge supporter of the club both on and off the field. It's just a horrendous shock to everyone and my thoughts are with his family on this extremely sad day.


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Monday, 28 June 2010

Return ticket

Well it's the same old story, another important game against the old enemy and another loss. Yes the disallowed goal was an absolute joke - probably one of the worst decisions in World Cup history, and one that may well have changed the course of the game. But, and it is a big but, the whole World Cup campaign, the newspaper stories about Capello's disillusion with his own team, John Terry's 'I'm still the leader' rallying cry, and the actual performances have been farcical.
I'm not jumping on the bandwagon here because I thought this well before the World Cup. Firstly the player's were doing the best to turn the nation against them, I know some of them are young lads who do stupid things as we all have, but most of them are of an age where representing your country should be the pinnacle, everything else in their lives should respect that fact, end of story.
As for Capello, well I am at a loss. It has absolutely nothing to do with his nationality as some of the best coaches to manage in the premiership, and who have managed other countries, have been non - domestic. The first problem lies with the fact that he cannot possibly have made a training session flow with the broken English he uses. The players will get frustrated, as will he, and plenty of small but vital moment s will be lost. For a six million a year salary the F.A have to demand a fluent English speaking coach, it's a simple fact. Or they make damn sure that within no time he is fluent.
Then there are the main tactics and shape. Plenty of players at the level I have played at for the last few years are referred to by pundits and premier league managers and players, usually in a negative way to highlight a mistake made by someone. Well for the teams I have played for our central defenders wouldn't both step out into no mans land and watch a ball sail over their heads and they wouldn't not cover round in case of any mistake, our left back wouldn't have his back to play, not seeing an opponent behind him, our holding midfielder wouldn't commit to the halfway line in an attack and get humiliated for a massive lack of pace and strength in a counter attack, and our strikers wouldn't give the ball away and then just watch as an opponent runs off with the ball.
Then there are the back up staff, with Stuart Pearce, looking like someone from Mike Basset, being Capello's main confidant. He has very little experience of managing in top European competitions. Then we have the cronies sat at F.A hq eating their way through marathon 'business' lunches and making an absolute balls up of every main decision. Now what, a four million pound pay up? I know it's a tough job finding an England team manager but everything about the set up stinks of arrogance. Don't get me wrong the P.F.A are a magnificent organisation who have helped players and ex-players well beyond their call of duty and still carry on to do so. But the F.A are a real problem. You had Crozier who went from the F.A to the Post Office like he had achieved miracles, he hadn't. Now we have Triesman who has resigned amidst embarrassing allegations into rigging the 2018 World Cup bid. Give me Alan Sugar in a heartbeat!. Hell, we cant even look up to our governing body. They dismiss Harry Redknap as a possible England manager for his 'controversies' off the pitch and yet his record looks like Mary Poppins when you look at old Diego's. Taking a bit of the old white stuff, firing a gun at reporters, being sent home form a world cup, and generally causing carnage, Maradona he is leading his own nation like a hero. Would Harry Redknap do worse than Cappelo or Errikson, I think not and look at the joy and the connection between the coaches at the World cup, including Maradona, when the team scores, they jump on each other like long lost mates. Seeing Gerrard jump into the coaching team after scoring would be like seeing the lock ness monster having a picnic by the side of the water.
It sums the F.A up at Wembley, somewhere where we have all spent a bit of time recently. The place is on lock down, the F.A staff walk around like they are all World Cup winners, and the hired in staff are trained to be as offensive as they can. After Torquay's Wembley win my wife wasn't allowed back into the lounge after stepping out to make a call, even with her three children being inside and her husband being captain of one of the teams playing that day. They made her wait an hour! The madness of jobsworths and an out of touch F.A staff.
Finally with the whole thing now a complete mess we look at the youth coming through. Lilleshall was abandoned, the Premier League was heralded, The Burton England complex was put on hold, and most of the Premier league teams have no English players in the team. Is it really that offensive to look to the Championship for a player who would cut his right arm off to play for his country and who still has the edge of doing it for survival and for the love of the game. I'm not saying the present team don't love the game but their off field wealth and lifestyle, and their adulation at club level, buffers any disappointment in a heartbeat. They say we have the best players, well we clearly don't. Some look as comfortable on the ball at international level as I was, making my first trip to the toilet block at Glastonbury - i.e, on edge, cautious, and out of there as soon as is humanly possible.
I could be wrong about the whole affair, but along with another 50,000 fans, yesterday was a huge let down. For all the hype about the players, the manager, and the facilities, they just were not good enough on the day or at the tournament. Not one cheer went up when the crowd saw any of the England players before the game (no connection), they groaned when they saw Capello (no connection), and the biggest cheer of all went to a lad on the bench with a certain Achilles problem. Our fans have just lost respect for the players, the manager, and the people who run the show. I am not saying I have the answers but for a six million pounds a year salary, one of the world's most powerful governing bodies, and with a footballing domestic league worth a billion or so, someone should have.
Rant over and out.

P.S Glastonbury was very, very 'BIG', a massive shout out to everyone I met whilst there - special shouts out to, in order of chats while there, Hereford fans (book and beer included) a Brentford die hard (memory lane was great), a Northampton lifer(ahhhh), an Oxford smiler (thanks for the big up), a few cheery Gulls, and last but by no means least the young Torquay lad on the gate when we were walking out of the festival (the pleasure was all mine pal).

P.P.S To Andy and Paul, my fellow festival team. Two top lads who made it a brilliant few days. What goes on tour stays on tour, see you next year!.

P.P.P.S Thanks To Avy and Mart for this weekend, happy biking.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Festival fever

Well, it's the Germans again. After tonight's win we now face our old enemy Germany in the second round on Sunday. Maybe, after all the recent speculation and gossip surrounding the England camp, it is time we turned the table on our tournament nemesis, I did say maybe!!.
Hot weather, great company, sun, sea, sand, and whatever else comes with a good holiday, it has all been enjoyed recently - well the two days I had anyway! I made a few interesting discoveries whilst abroad, one was that two days in the sun is really not enough, the second is that plenty of people definitely do not need an all inclusive holiday, they may well need a holiday but they definitely do not need a plate of pancakes, an omelette, three croissants, a coffee, and three chocolate muffins every morning. No wonder the plane struggled a bit on the way back!.
In the next few days it is a case of CV bashing, thinking, and talking, and when that is done Hargreaves senior is heading to the healing fields. I am not going to run naked through a field whilst covered in mud, singing Tambourine man, but yes, I am off to Glastonbury. Essential items - wellies, baby wipes, clean boxers, a sleeping bed, and an open mind!


P.S Thanks to all who made Belfast an absolutely brilliant experience. Alot was learnt and alot of laughs were had by all.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


I am currently sat in the departure lounge of an airport waiting for my second plane journey of the day. The plane has been delayed by four hours, which after 3 hours sleep is totally brutal - last night out and all that!. Why is the plane delayed you may ask ? The obligatory ash cloud nightmare or even a staff strike maybe, but no, we have been politely informed that the pilot is ill !
I have already been at the airport seven hours having arrived early from Belfast this morning but the day has gone pretty quickly, as incredibly, our old next door neighbours from Northampton, Helen and Ian, are on the same flight. We have had a good catch up ( in other words a major gossip session) and the time has flown - no pun intended. Cams old mate Harry is turning into a surf dude ( just needs the board now) and the girls Sophie and Emily are now officially running things - poor mum and Dad ( boys eh!).
Next stop Turkey!

P.S Need I say more about last night, made even worse by the fact that I was sat next to an Aussie, three 'yanks', two Canadians, three Irishman, and a Scot, with a Brazilian thrown in for good measure.

"Final call for Chris Hargreaves" ..........gotta go!


Thursday, 17 June 2010

Lock down

9 till 9 days and 10 till 3 nights has seriously affected my blog activity. Huge apologies about that but seven hours of football a
day and seven ish pints of guiness a night (joking of course) is not for the faint hearted. I have met some great people from all around the world and have bumped into so many old faces from our domestic leagues. My focus now though is getting back to the family and that means two more flights , a couple of taxis, and a boat ( no boat but it sounds better! ).
Before that happens however I have a couple more days to get through and a couple more nights to get through.
Love to all.


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Stage three

Stage three's progress was delayed massively due to baggage problems, a direction issue, and an initiation process. All done now it's time for full days and long nights!


Saturday, 5 June 2010

Stage two

Now on bus to airport, head is spinning and my mouth feels like it is full of cotton wool.


Stage one

What a great wedding, a great location a beautiful bride, just a shame about the groom! I crept out of the hotel room early this morning (don't worry my wife and children were in there, not one of the bridesmaids!) and I am now on the train to the bus to the plane to the taxi to Belfast. My heart is heavy (leaving my gang) and so is my head (not enough tonic!) and to make matters worse I am in the QUIET carriage complete with screaming babies, twitteres, yappers, and chatterers!
Love is all you need

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Last minute wobble?

An uber busy day today, in fact an uber busy week really. Tomorrow however it is time to relax. Oh no it's not, it is in fact the wedding of the year, Kevin and Jenny (soon to be) Nicholson are to tie the knot(you still have time to change your mind Jenny!!)and I cannot wait, for the speeches that is!.
The stag 'do' went well, very well , more of which I tell you later (and boy will I tell you later), the suit is ready and the speech is written so I will bid you farewell safe in the knowledge that I will reveal all on my return. Well actually it will probably be in a couple of days as tomorrow will be counted out due to far too many Gin and tonics and on Saturday morning I fly off early to Ireland.

Speak to you soon from Ireland.