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Charity golf day at The Oxfordshire for Sparks. The weather was great and so was the course. Played ok, 31points off 10 but my team didn't win any prizes. We got 83 points and 95 won so were about half way. Good lads though and they want me back for next year which is nice.
It was Michael Lynagh's day and he and Martin Johnson did a Q&A after the dinner which was good. Always good to hear how these guys from other sports feel about their careers and how they went about it.
Left the event in an amazing thunderstorm and had a great lightening show all the way home!
The lads that played were in for a warm down but the rest of us trained normally and then had Wednesday off.
A warm but breezy day at Pride Park and we make a terrible start, going a goal down after five minutes. Derby have the momentum for the first half an hour, but we start to get back into the game before half time. The sending off helped our cause in the second half, but we had gone about our business well before that. Missed the penalty but bounced back to get two goals and snatch the game in dramatic fashion. They were not happy with the key decisions but having seen them again on tv I think the ref got them right. The dressing room afterwards was buzzing!!
In for training and preparing for the Derby game. Have the goalies to train, Ben just doing a light session with tomorrow in mind. Myself and Richard join in with other lads when we are needed.
After training I pop in to see Mick Payne on his goalkeeping weekend at Haileybury College. He asked if I'd do a Q&A with the goalies, which goes ok.
Get home to watch the rest of the cricket on TV! What a nail biter and a massive relief when we win.
Strange time for a game, Saturday 5.15pm! The Sky cameras are in town so hope we can put another good show on!
We start brightly but can't get the breakthrough. Reading have their moments too and Ben makes an excellent save second half. In the end we are disappointed with a goalless draw but can't let it worry us too much as another game at Derby is next on Monday.
Back in for training - the lads who played do a warm down and the rest of us have a full session. I take the keepers for 1 1/4 hours then we join in for a game at the end.
Pop over to Ramsey in the afternoon to see a few of my family. Have lunch in my sister's garden as the weather has returned to summer again!
Match day and more reunions with ex-Watford players in Gifton and Micah. We start the game well and soon take the lead through another Marlon King goal. He's started the season in great form.
Burnley are given a way back into the game by the ref. Ben Foster times his challenge perfectly to take the ball away from the on rushing Akinbiyi but the ref awards a penalty which they convert. Gav gets a goal with the help of a deflection and we are good value for a 2-1 lead at half time.
The second half is hard going and Burnley have lots of possession. Ben makes two great saves to keep our lead intact and then we get a controversial goal to seal the points. Darius challenges fairly for the ball with the Burnley keeper but he falls badly and doesn't get up. Play is allowed to continue and Springy sticks it in the net, having come on as sub. Burnley are not happy that the ref didn't stop the game but after the penalty decision I'm not too sympathetic!! It's a great way for Springy to start his Watford career and will get the fan's behind him hopefully.
What a change - today it's pouring down with rain! The great British summer, so unpredictable! Training is all about getting prepared for Burnley. Malkey Mackay and Matthew Spring are two new faces this morning and Malkey is straight in the side for the Burnley game. Both are players I've admired when playing against them and will be great additions to the squad.
Due to be a double session, but the weather is scorching and the manager decides to leave the afternoon session out and save a bit of energy for Saturday.
Training. Start to prepare for the Burnley game.
Back to training! After a de-brief on the Cardiff game we then have a double session. Football in the morning and an injury prevention circuit in the afternoon. Got some goalkeeping done in the morning.
Went to watch Northampton Spencer play in Corby in the evening and they romped to a 5-0 victory. I know quite a few people who are involved in the club and have been to many a 'do' there!
After being away from home all week, we are given three days to spend time with the family. My family are in Spain so I manage to get a flight out to be with them. Drove straight to Stansted airport from London Colney and had about 2 hours sleep in the car!
Flew out at 7.30am and was with the family by 10.30am for three days of glorious sunshine. Jane's Mum and Dad were also there so it was a real family affair!
Flew back late Monday evening, getting back to Northampton at 12.30am.
Light training for tonight's game. Everyone seems very positive after our second half performance on Tuesday. We start the game very well and Marlon scores a terrific goal. Cardiff struggle against our front two and the only disappointment is that we don't get more goals before half time.
The goals come early in the second half though. Marlon and Darius score and kill Cardiff off. We have defended great and deserve a clean sheet but alas don't get one as with about 10 mins left Cardiff get a consolation goal. A very happy dressing room!
Get back to London Colney at about 1.30am.
We train near Newport's ground preparing for the Cardiff game. After lunch I am in my room watching the cricket from Old Trafford. Dinner is followed by a meeting with our Sports psychologist Keith Mincher, who's quite a character!
Having stayed overnight back at St Mellion, we have a light session in the pool in the morning followed by lunch. De-brief follows lunch with lots to discuss from the night before! Then we travel to Wales for the second part of the week.
Light training in the morning, mainly set plays. Back for lunch then rest in the afternoon. Game starts badly - 2-0 down after 20 mins, but we manage to get one back and have a good spell but concede a third just before half time.
A lively dressing room with lots said at half time! Gav and Dev on for second half and what a change. We dominate and Ash scores two great goals. Still 30 mins left and we could have won it but in the end it finishes 3-3! At least we are off the mark.
The start of a long week away. Training in the morning after a de-brief about Saturday's game, then lunch at the training ground before the long journey down to Plymouth. Arrive at about 6.30pm at St Mellion - if only we could have a few holes!!
In for training at 10am. Take Ben, Richard and myself for some goalkeeping before joining in with the lads who didn't play yesterday.
Get home for lunch about 1.15pm. Dychey calls round about 5pm and we go through our game and his game in between games of football with Max and Ryan!!
Feel a bit flat about the game but I'm sure I'll be ok when I get to the Vic. Introduced to another new face, Clarke Carlisle, before the game. He comes into the side straight away and he certainly gives us a bit more height and strength.
Great start to the game from our point of view. Ashley Young is on fire and keeps putting great crosses in, one of which Darius buries! They come back with two quick goals though so at half time we need to regain our thoughts.
The second half comes and goes and although we press towards the end, Carlo Nash is largely untroubled. A disappointing start to our league campaign.
Go to see our friends Richard and Larraine in Letchworth on the way home with the kids. Richard cooks a bbq for us and we have a nice evening catching up.
The last day of preparation before the season gets underway! Had a meeting before training during which Aidy announces the side for tomorrow. I'm not in it so not the news I'd hoped for. He's gone for Ben Foster but I'm on the bench. Richard must feel worse than I do.
Have to pick myself up and get on with training. Ben needs to prepare for the game so on with the show. Darius Henderson trains with us for the first time.
Home after lunch and watch a bit of the cricket. Plenty of phone calls to make to spread the bad news!
Early start. Meeting at training ground for an hour before training started. Got some crossing work done with the keepers before we had to join in with the team. Afternoon training was postponed so earlier home than expected.
Happy Birthday to Jane! Took Ryan training with me so Jane and Natasha could have a peaceful girlie shop! Ryan loved it being ball boy for the morning. Went for a Cantonese in the evening as a family which was Jane's choice - lovely.
Back into training and met up with Ben Foster for the first time. We had a de-brief on the game from Saturday before getting down to training. Training was a little shorter than normal as we had the photo call at the ground in the afternoon, which turned out like a mini open-day.
DAY OFF! Jane and children had a day already planned with friends at Thorpe Park so I took the opportunity of going into town to buy a birthday present or two for Jane. Managed a game of golf in the afternoon with John.