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Diary - April 2006

I hope to update the diary on a regular basis, so do come back often to keep up with the latest information!

As my diary has been so popular and got so large I have now split it into months, which you can access by using the sub navigation at the top of the screen.

End Of Season

30 April 2006

Final day of the normal league season. It's an earlier kick off of 1.30, so we leave home after breakfast. We have to pack a lot of clothes as it's the awards night at The Grove in the evening. Helen and Colin, my in laws, take the children home after the game and we go onto The Grove to get changed. We finish the season with a 1-0 victory and do our usual lap of honour to thank the fans. We all know that there are still important games coming up though.

The evening goes well, with Marlon picking up Player of the Year and Al Bangura gets Young Player. Chris Eagles' incredible effort at Brighton won the goal of the season, which was nice as I had actually played in that game!

The manager had told the player's that he wanted us all to get away by 11.30pm as we still had some important games to prepare for. Jane and I stay the night at The Grove to sample the luxurious surroundings.

Northampton Get Promoted

29 April 2006

In early for training and then back to Northampton to pick up Ryan and go and watch the Cobblers in their push for promotion. Dychey manages to get a couple of tickets for me and we sit with Jane, Max and Alicia. The afternoon goes well and the Cobblers get promoted! All the celebrations that follow the game gets your mind thinking about what could be for us!

Dinner with Wright and Gibbo

28 April 2006

In for training as normal. In the evening we go over to Nick and Fiona Wright's house for dinner. Nigel and Heidi Gibbs meet us there and we have a lovely meal with 2 great couples. Nick and Fiona show us the house they are planning to move to further north.

Spanish Lessons!

27 April 2006

Back into training and preparations begin for the final league game of the season. In the evening we have our first Spanish lesson at home. Jane has a contact through netball who teaches Spanish at GCSE and A level, who is happy to pass on her expertise to us. The hour goes quickly so that is a good sign and we pick it up ok.

Testimonial Golf Day

26 April 2006

The weather forecast is good and we set off for Watford in sunshine. Clive Dodman, the general manager of West Herts Golf Club, has been really helpful in the build up to the day. He makes it very easy and relaxed so that we can concentrate on having a good time. Gradually as lunchtime approaches the teams arrive and head for the bar! The teams from Northampton are extremely thirsty!

Finally it is time for teams to tee off. Luther's team go first as he has a TV commitment at Sky later in the day. When it is my turn to tee off, I completely top the ball and make a double bogey 6 on the first. Not a good start! However things get better and I have a very enjoyable round of golf with Robbo, Danny and Steve Brooks. My father in law, Colin, caddies for me which makes life a lot easier! We do ok as a team and come in with 87 points, but the lads that had hit the bar early seemed to be inspired, and swept the floor with us! All the winning teams were friends of mine, so they all got plenty of stick as they picked their prizes up!

Steve Brooks did a great job of compering the dinner, the auction and the human bingo. His golf wasn't bad either!

All in all we had a great day's golf on a fabulous course in great weather! The food was top class and I am so grateful to all the teams that came along to support the event.


25 April 2006

Back into training. It is an unusual week as we don't play until Sunday, so we train quite hard and have been told already that we have Wednesday off! I had hoped that this would be the case, as my golf day is tomorrow!

Golf Day Preparation

24 April 2006

Day off from training, but lots of calls to make regarding the golf day. Had to confirm final numbers with West Herts Golf Club, so needed to chase a few people up. Would have liked to get a game of golf in to practise but the weather wasn't too good!

Family Celebration

23 April 2006

In for a quick warm down for the lads that played and the rest of us had a work out. Back home as quickly as I could as we had a family get together planned for the afternoon. We travelled across to the Stamford area to my cousin's house for their 30th wedding anniversary celebrations. Unfortunately the English weather let us down and it poured with rain at the time when the BBQ was being served! Later on though it cleared up and the youngsters got an education in croquet!

QPR v Watford

22 April 2006

Eventful game at Loftus Road, a place that always generates a good atmosphere from the crowd. We started the game well but fell behind to a penalty. Then within 5 minutes it looked like we were 2 down with Furlong putting the ball over Ben and it bounced towards goal. Incredibly, the bounce of the ball took it up and it hit the bar! Ben had turned and realised what might happen and got there first! He then launched one of his mighty kicks to the edge of their box where Darius touched the ball to Ashley, who produced a fantastic finish. So from being almost 2-0 down we are on level terms again.

Then Darius had a clash with Shittu and sparked a bit of a melee. Their centre forward who scored the penalty, and got booked for taking his shirt off, ran 40 yards to get involved and push Darius. This resulted in a second yellow and he was off! What an idiot! Talk about letting your team mates down!

The coaches and manager all decided that it wasn't worth risking Darius for the second half. QPR would have been looking to try and get him sent off. Theo Robinson came off the bench for his debut and did well. He had a hand in the winning goal as well! He chased down a bouncing ball which Santos promptly headed past a stranded Paul Jones! Thank you and 3 points!

Home for a meal with friends, Sharon and Richard.

Happy Birthday Carol!

21 April 2006

My sister Carol's birthday! Usual short, sharp Friday morning and then we travel the short distance to Shepherd's Bush for an overnight stay in a hotel. The manager and this group of players seem to want overnight stays at every opportunity. It's unusual in my experience to stay overnight in games this close to home, but with our away record who can question that it is not the right way to prepare?


20 April 2006

Back into training and preparing for the QPR match. It's nice being back into the routine after missing all of last week.

Reserve Match

19 April 2006

Day off but went down in the evening to watch the Reserves get beat by an impressive Charlton side. Scott Loach played in goal again so it was a good chance for me to see him in action again.

Match De-Brief

18 April 2006

In for a de-brief about the game and the penalties! Then a group of us trained and the lads who played did a warm down. I think everyone thought that the penalty shoot out had been a useful exercise.

Watford v Ipswich

17 April 2006

Easter Monday game with Ipswich at home. Back into my usual role of getting Ben prepared and on the bench for the game. We manage to win 2-1 with 2 good goals from Darius. We had the rub of the green on the day with decisions from the officials, with a blatant penalty not given for Ipswich, to our relief! When the game was over, the manager asked the crowd to stay in and take part in a mock penalty shoot out. This was with the play offs in mind obviously. We were put into 2 teams and we all had to take a penalty each. The crowd were asked to cheer the home team and boo the away team. I was in the away and although I didn't get too many boo's I was miffed when Ben saved my penalty! Hopefully I won't be needed!

Finally Starting to Recover

16 April 2006

Finally go into training! Do a bit of light training to get back into the swing of things as we have another match tomorrow. Everyone seems to think I have lost a bit of weight which is not surprising after the week I have had!

Still Ill!

11-15 April 2006

Off all week with a stomach bug. Miss the Wolves game on Good Friday.

Still Ill

10 April 2006

Off sick with the bug.

Watford v Luton

09 April 2006

Came in to the club for the Luton game. Saw the physio and the club doc, who had a chat with me and decided I was ok to be sub. We played well first half and got a lead through Marlon's 20th of the season. The second half, Luton put us under a lot of pressure and forced Ben into a couple of great saves. Just when it looked like we had survived, we didn't defend a long throw and they got the equaliser. That seemed to wake us up and we pressed for the winner. Malkay had the ball in the net, but the linesman gave offside. Then Marlon had a great effort saved in the dying seconds. So a frustrating result.

Came home and had plain chicken and a baked potato to ease back into eating. However, this doesn't go down well with my stomach and I have problems again!

Still Not Feeling Well

08 April 2006

Felt a bit better so went in for training only to be sent home by the manager. Stomach was still playing up.

Sympathy Please!

07 April 2006

Woke up feeling grotty, my stomach was not behaving itself so spent the day between my bed and the toilet!

Reserve Match

06 April 2006

Started to feel unwell but met up with the Reserves at lunchtime at the training ground. Travelled later on to Motspur Park, Fulham's training ground and warmed up Scott. He did well and they managed to win 1-0 so that is 3 clean sheets in a row! Saw Ray Lewington, who is involved at Fulham with the reserves, which was nice. Still not feeling great so went home rather than stay down at Ben's.


05 April 2006

In for training and a few questions about where I had been! Scott was still on trial but had kept 2 clean sheets in the 2 games he had played. There is another reserve game tomorrow at Fulham, which I will watch him play in.

In the evening, met up with Sean Dyche to watch the Arsenal v Juventus game. Great performance and result. Had a bite to eat after the game but home by 11pm.

Last Day in Spain

04 April 2006

Had a drive over to Montroy, where we had lunch. Got packed up and then went to see Andrew and Lisa's friends, Maria and Peter. They had just got a new puppy so we were all able to meet Billie and their other 2 dogs, Freddie and Hannah. Jane, Andrew and the kids then came to drop me off at the airport. Had a good journey home and went from the airport to Ben and Kate's flat to stay the night.

Another Good Day

03 April 2006

Played golf with Andrew, Colin and Peter, one of Andrew's ex-pat friends. Ryan also came along to caddy for Colin. Ended up helping him out with a couple of tricky shots! The girls went shopping - shock! All went out in the evening to a complex called Heron City. It was my last night with everyone.

A Relaxing Day

02 April 2006

Woke up to glorious sunshine - 28 degrees today! Had a quick dip in the pool but was ice cold! Went for a run with Jane and Tasha. Tasha is running the Race for life in June, so wanted to get some training in. Most of the family then went to the local Sunday market but Ryan and I stayed away! Out for a late lunch, then relaxed back at the villa.

Trip to Spain

01 April 2006

The family had booked to go away for a week to Spain to see Jane's brother near Valencia. As we had a big gap between games, the manager gave me permission to go out with them for a few days. So we flew at 12.55pm and landed to 27 degrees at 4:30 local time! It was nice to feel that sun after all the recent cold weather. Spent the evening at Andrew's villa, having a bite to eat and generally catching up.

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