Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Bad mood, no blog today.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Yesterdays result was a big boost to everyone at the club. It was much needed and it still gives us a real chance of the title. It is hard for the fans to watch I am sure but they stuck with the team for the whole match yesterday which will be so important in the remaining games.
My old team mates at Torquay had a long trip up North, along with some very committed fans, unfortunately though it was in vain as the lads couldn't manage a win. I obviously still speak to a lot of my old mates and what with Kev's imminent marriage (you can still change your mind Jenny!), Mr and Mrs Mansell's new arrival (Eden Annalise Mansell), Wayno's knee op (he will be back soon!), Wroey's search for a tighter arm band (go for XS mate!) and Bev's new barren spell (you have to beat 18 months this time), it is all go in Devon.
I was thinking of giving a report on our local clubs fortunes but to be honest at this time of the season I think just looking at the league tables of each tells you how each fan, player, or coach is feeling at any particular club. As ever you can only be concerned about the club you are at but I certainly check Sky Sports News as soon as our games are finished!
My family have given me a great stress release away from football over the last twenty four hours which is strange really as it is usually the other way round for many!!!.
Anyhow, back to business and back to the hotel.


Friday, 26 March 2010

Rained off

Apologies again about the recent lack of blog activity. No lame excuses like the cats ill (I haven't got one anyway) or the boiler's gone, it has just been difficult to get online.
After playing on Wednesday night I drove back to Devon, arriving back at 3a.m. Incredibly, as I popped my head in to see the children, Harriet woke up as bright as a button and said hello. She also woke everybody else up in the house!
The game itself against Rushden was just a battle really. They have been on a great run lately and so to get a point was OK but with the table as it is, and with almost a thousand fans travelling to see us, three points would have been much better. We now have a must win game against Gateshead tomorrow and then we travel to Stevenage on Tuesday for what is a huge game in terms of the title, and to be honest we cannot wait for it. As I have said before the mood in the camp is spot on and we are really up for the challenge.

As far as home life is concerned I hadn't seen my gang for a week so it was nice to get back home and see how everyone was doing. With my wife working and with the older two at school yesterday it was just Hattie and I and so we/Harriet decided to go on the train to the beach. The fact that it was torrential was neither here nor there as we trudged to Dawlish Warren to go on some rides and build sand castles - very wet sandcastles.
On arrival though, and I suppose as expected, the place was a ghost town, all rides were either shut or waterlogged and with Harriet flagging it was a case of carrying her on my shoulders for the next couple of hours. We got soaked, missed a train, got robbed on a 'grabber' machine, were attacked by mutant seagulls whilst trying to feed the ducks (they also got attacked), and just about managed to make it back to collect the other two from school. Mission complete.



Monday, 22 March 2010


It goes without saying this morning that there are a lot of bitterly disappointed fans after our draw with Tamworth yesterday, there is also a set of extremely disappointed players and staff. No one said it would be easy this season though, it isn't for any team, but the mood in the camp is good and we are very much together.
There will be lots of twists and turns still and everyone, players and fans alike, must stick together. I watched yesterday and it is hard but I know one thing, it is a damn sight harder on the pitch.
Oxford United is a big club with a big expectancy, that is why we get thousands of committed fans going to watch games, home and away. That is also why all other clubs love playing against us. All these things are a positive though and sometimes we have to remember that.
Today is a warm down for the lads (if an ice bath can be called a warm down!) but for me it is a training day to try to sort out my (old) body!.

Hello to the clan, missing you all and hopefully will see you after three more points.


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Old boy

I must say a big well done to Cameron, Isabella, and Harriet for completing their school mile for sport relief. For the older two winning their respective races was a priority, whereas a distressed Hattie made her mum give her a piggy back as she couldn't keep up with the older ones (I would have loved to have witnessed that sight!). Hattie had already had a pretty traumatic day, as had the nurse who tried to give her the required pre-school boosters. After refusing to take her jacket off and saying "I don't like you" to the nurse and also screaming the whole surgery down when she saw the needle in question she then did something that the nurse told Fiona hadn't happened to her in her entire nursing career. When eventually the needle was administered my little John Rambo grappled free and decided to rip the needle out of her own thigh, actually bending it in the process!.
The nurse, Fiona, and the older two children were absolutely drained by the time my little firecracker had left the surgery with her smarties in hand. Still, when they all arrived home what did Harriet say?....."It didn't hurt at all Mummy". My little hero!
On the football front I went to see Northampton play today, it was great to get such a nice reception and to see some old faces. I also bumped into Cyrill Regis who had a few top words of wisdom. Tomorrow we face Tamworth and in a word, we have to win.


Friday, 19 March 2010

New Arrival

Huge congratulations to Lee, Shelley and of course big sister Alyssa. Baby girl Mansell arrived safe and sound in to the world yesterday evening. Love to you all can't to meet her, and yes I am available for Godfather duties!!

Love you guys

Sport relief

It was nice to get back to Devon on Wednesday night for my daughters birthday. We had arranged for the gang, plus Issy's friend Zoe, to go for a fish and chip supper in Budleigh and with Issy thinking I couldn't make it back for the meal it was great to surprise her - I had done some early surveillance and opted for the wisest option, to wait for their arrival in the pub over the road from the fish and chip shop!
A feast for a king later and we were back at home recovering. Yesterday any left over calories were definitely burned off at the local athletics club. With sport relief in full swing the club were having a 'bit of a do' involving, of course, a mile run. Although neither Issy or I had any idea it was going on beforehand we just had to join in . I was made the 'official' starter of the race and after firing the old starter pistol I caught up with Issy (well I waited for them to come round!) and ran the rest of the mile with her. It wasn't the distance that was the difficulty though, it was the fact that I had a pair of Timberland boots on!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Isabella Eve Hargreaves

Happy birthday to my beautiful daughter Issy, Ten years old today.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fingers and thumbs

Impossible to blog for long this evening due to the match being on and my fingers only managing to type one word every five minutes on this iPhone , give me back my brick! Ch

Monday, 15 March 2010


Messing about on the river, now there is a great English pastime to be enjoyed. Admittedly it was Mothers day and my wife really wanted some more time perusing the shops but the clan were getting itchy feet so I marched us off into the direction of BOATS/RIVER. Instead of opting for a leisurely punt downstream the children jumped into a rowing boat and before you could say 'boat race' I was handed two oars and given a map. It was a great laugh with Fiona trying to keep dry and the children directing me into every tree, we even managed to ruin a young couples romantic moment by meandering the wrong way. I had to shout over "This will be you one day" as I fought to get the oars back in line and told Cameron to stop rocking the boat.
Along with enjoying Oxfords magnificent buildings and history and stopping off in a brilliant old English sweet shop a lovely day was had by all.
The journey back should have been a breeze really what with two iPhones, two DVD players, a PsP, a Gameboy, an iPod and a mental amount of sweets. But no, they were bored! I would have loved them to have experienced my journeys to Devon as a child. No air con, no gadgets, just one pack of opal fruits and a game of eye spy that was supposed to last you eight hours. I dread to think how my times my parents heard "Are we there yet". My next project in the Hargeraves household is to spend a week without any electronic goods at all. We will talk and play games and it will be great....I think!
Last night of course my wife had the pleasure of watching the TV channel of her choice (Mothers day does drag on a bit!) and she plumped for a period drama. It was really enjoyable - the five minutes I saw anyway as the footy was on upstairs. Come on, I'm joking it was ten minutes really!!!!
Today I have tried to sort out the house and my body. With the children at school and my wife at work I blitzed the house (OCD) and then went running, closely followed by a trip to see the Guru.
After school I took Hatties stabilisers off her bike (she demanded they come off) and gave her her first taster of balancing. Her innocence was a joy to see as she just expected to balance without doing anything. In the end we managed ten or so yards and so a big success was had although it is really sad to think that it will be the last time I teach one of my children to ride a bike. I want them all to stay as they are, my babies! After all when your three year old says things like medal protector and labelisers instead of metal detector and stabilisers and insists that she comes training with me and the lads, it just has to make you smile.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mrs H and Mrs H

Happy Mothers Day to Fiona and Averil

This has probably been the longest break I have had from the blog since I started writing it. I'm not sure whether it has been by accident or on purpose but I know that I haven't felt like turning the laptop on during this period. It has been a week of disappointment and pain but I suppose that is the reality of football really.
I watched the team play yesterday which is always tough when you want to be out there trying to help. It was a frustrating afternoon for the fans, players and staff but the season always brings ups and downs and I know that there are top people at this club on and off the field and that they will fight until the very end to get this club promoted.
Off the field and what with Mothers Day and Issy's Birthday weekend there has been a lot of money spent and not much relaxing had (by me anyway!). Normal service will resume with the blog tomorrow with tales of boats, shops, golf, period dramas and whatever else crosses my mind whilst asleep.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Very disappointed this morning. A poor performance all round saw us lose last night against a team we should really be beating. No excuses it just wasn't good enough. The only remedy is to win the next game. No dummies coming out or panicking we just have to pull together and realise whats at stake. Back at home for a day today and that will be spent in a bad mood. End of story and blog.


Monday, 8 March 2010

Ugg me

A change of venue today as I have decided that my blogging experience has to go further than the confines of the hotel. I am in a well known coffee shop and, after the forty five minute log in process, am ready to roll - its just a shame the car ticket runs out in fifteen minutes, so here we go.
Trained today, painful but enjoyable, and before that witnessed one horrendous sight. Our diminutive little winger/striker Sam Deering came into the training ground wearing.....Ugg boots! Trying to pass them off as his girlfriends, he strolled in looking like a cross between Father Christmas and Jordan. Uggs are bad enough anyway (admittedly my wife does have a pair) and that is on women, but men, surely that is a bridge too far. I have dressed in all sorts of weird and wonderful gear over the years, some oufits were cringeful, but Uggs on a man is surely the last resort. What next a sarong!!!!!!!.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

Tag Team (blog started by Mr H and finished by Mrs H)

Unfortunately the Oscars wasn't to be for me this year! I know I have had a few supporters for my recent performances on the 'beeb' but I thought I would learn my trade a little more before venturing over the pond! Maybe next year!!
I am back at the hotel this evening, having trained today in Oxford. The body is trying to rebel but the mind is still strong for the run in, and it looks like it will be a tense one.
This will be the case for many clubs across the country. Hopefully not for the one I have just left though, as yesterdays great result against Darlington means that safety is in sight so well done to all the lads.
I travelled to Plymouth with my dad and Cameron yesterday to summarise on their game with Preston. They desperately needed a win and nearly got it, but even after throwing everything at Preston in the second half it wasn't to be.
It was great to see 'Sparksy' again though, his enthusiasm for the game is really refreshing even with his team fighting for survival. Cameron and 'Mart' had a great time and really enjoyed watching the game without the usual pressure watching me play! A nice bit of grandad and grandson bonding as dad tried to introduce Cam to the delights of bovril!! He wasn't buying it though, Cam only drinks and eats chocolate related items at footy.
My parents were over for the weekend (not on their motorbike thankfully!)and as usual they spoilt the children rotten, although me leaving at 6.30 a.m this morning was a shame. Harriet provided most of the entertainment on Saturday night with her X-factor shows, high on a cocktail of Haribos and life!
It was great to see my mum and dad and the children having such fun. It is a shame that we live so far away from each other and it can be hard for the children when they leave. Issy in particular gets upset when both grandma's and grandad's have to return home. It is made more difficult by the fact that both my brother and Fiona's sister and their children live within a few miles of each other. Anyway we will look forward to the next visit in a few months and with it the next delivery of 2 kilos of sweets, treats and gossip about family and friends in the North.
Must go as £10 charge is about to start - I need a 'dongle'!.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Old Age?

Wow, dementia is officially setting in. I completely forgot to post a blog yesterday. Coupled with my slight neuroseis, and joined by my mild insomnia it doesn't bode well for my future blogs, punctual ones anyway. Maybe it is the fact that I have another weekend off - we don't play until Tuesday.
Yesterday we took advantage of the weather and took Hattie to the beach and to feed some pigs and horses, no easy feet to find both but what the child wants etc etc!
Last night we huddled round and watched a family film complete with heavy duty portions of sweets and chocolate and today I am heading down to Plymouth with my son to watch/commentate on their game with Preston North End. I did say there would be no football in the house this weekend but I was asked so nicely I thought I should! There is a plan in place though as we have some surprise visitors soon to arrive so I'm sure I won't be missed too much and the added bonus is that I will have a real blinder this afternoon, I always play well sat up in the stands!
Back to business tomorrow with a very, very early drive to Oxford.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Keith Alexander

Apologies about the lack of blogs recently, the combination of late nights and long days are my only excuse. Before I go any further I must mention the sudden and very sad death of Keith Alexander. I had the pleasure of making my debut with Keith at Grimsby Town all those years ago and he was a really nice fella. It was a great time for him as a player and for the club with two back to back promotions. He then went on to become a successfull manager. I know he will be hugely missed by his family and by everybody who knew him.

I returned home to Devon about 3.30 a.m on Wednesday morning after our game having driven through around ten motorway detours in two counties. Nothamptonshire and Cambridgshire must both be undergoing town and city bypasses at the same time.
The game against Cambridge was very painful and very frustrating, hence it is now forgotten. We take the point but now look forward to Tuesday, our next game.
I am now at rest for a few days to try to clear up a troublesome injury so it is a case of plenty of ice, loads of happy pills, and no driving.
I watched the England game last night and had that feeling at half time that maybe all the recent controversy, or Egypt's quality on the ball, would make for a bad night but the big dancing robot calmed every ones nerves by scoring twice. It may be my last contact with the game for a while though as my wife and eldest daughter told me last night that football, my mobile, and my laptop are now banned in the house. They argued that I usually return home, give everyone a kiss and a hug, make dens with Hattie, and then spend the rest of the night texting, e-mailing, and or watching the football. Harsh, but on reflection fair.
As with my last major project - of spending a week on public transport - I may have to do the same here but with no phone, no computer, and no football.
Well at least when I'm at home anyway!.


Monday, 1 March 2010

I must firstly mention my wrestling experience at the weekend. You may or may not (dependant on age and I do) remember the legendary Saturday afternoon wrestling show featuring stars such as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Cat Weasel and Cry Baby Breaks. Well it wasn't that, but to see so much bizarre Lycra, so many unbelievable moves, and relentless comedy of a stand up level it was well worth the entrance fee. The children absolutely loved it and apart from being abused and dripped on by Disco boy and his mate Slippery Jim or (or something similar) so did Jase and I.
The following morning it was a little more serious and a lot more competitive in the the first round of the British MX1 championship at Little Silver near Exeter. Top riders, loads of freebies and mercifully no rain meant for a great day. The money spent by these top teams and the set ups on show really are impressive as was the standard of riding. Even the legendary Carl Fogarty was there to watch the action. The Honda riders swept the board with Brad Anderson winning, Gareth 'Swanny' Swanepoel coming second and a very impressive debut third by the Russian newcomer Evgeny Bobreshev (only man to constantly jump the entire table top, basically about sixty feet!). The boy and I loved it, fast bikes, loads of mud and plenty of man snacks. The only problem being that we couldn't have a go!
Then we had the football at the weekend, the non handshake, the non sending off, and the in inevitable winning goalscorer. A great weekend of sport was had by all, apart from for the three girls in the Hargreaves household of course. I will make it up to you next weekend, it will be a 'shopathon' (window variety) of the highest order.
Big game tomorrow, need and want to win it.