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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.
Went to Carrington again and met up with the GK coaches. The canteen there is amazing and you can have your breakfast there if you want! The coaches had decided that they wanted to film the keepers today. So they had 2 cameras on tripods and a hand held camcorder to catch all the training session from different angles. This had an amazing effect on the keepers' quality of work. It was like they were being examined and knew it was going to be studied in great detail. I think they were a little anxious. It shows the level of detail that they go to improve their players.
Went back to Carrington in the evening to see how the academy GK's work. Spent a couple more hours observing and then drove to another part of Manchester and met up with Chris Day, who is now at Oldham. Had a bite to eat with him and popped back to his flat to say hello to Andrea his wife.
Had to get up early (5.30am!) to travel up to Manchester United's training ground. Met up with Ben at Keele services and followed him the rest of the way. We were going up for 3 days so that Ben could do some work with the goalkeeping coaches up there, and I was allowed to go up to observe how they do things there. As you can imagine, it is very impressive and both Tony Coton and Richard Hartis made me very welcome. It was good for Ben to do some training there and for them to see him close up.
In the evening I drove another hour north to Morecombe to watch Richard Lee play for Blackburn Reserves against Newcastle. They lost 1-0 but Richard played steadily in pretty awful conditions. After a long day got back to the hotel in Manchester and crashed out!
After the latest night we have had for a while, we still made it down to breakfast by 9am! Saw a lot of people with hangovers getting stuck in to a good fry up! We finally left to go home at 1pm, having sat and chatted with family in the hotel lobby.
I was due to travel up to Manchester that evening, but after having a carvery evening meal near our home, we needed to get to bed! Last night was catching up.
Leave for Watford early so we can drop things off at the Hilton. Jane and Tasha stay and help Keith and Ian get things ready for the evening. They then come onto the game when they have done all they can. The game goes well and we dominate the first half without scoring. We finally break through when Hameur puts a great ball in for Malky to head home, but then let them back into the game shortly afterwards. Just when it looked like we were going to drop a couple of points, they make a mistake with a back pass and Marlon nipped in to finish and win the game. Even then they hit the post twice in a nail biting finish.
Then it was a mad rush to the Hilton to get into the dinner suit and meet the VIP's. Also had a sound check with the mics. At 7pm we met up with Graham Taylor, Garry Richardson, Jon Desborough and the sponsors from Loans.co.uk.
I felt really honoured that so many people came to the dinner. There was a nice mixture of players, staff, family, friends and supporters. The whole night went as well as we could have hoped for. GT was in good form, taking the micky out of me and my diary!! Garry was very funny and sent himself up well, which got the audience behind him. Jon kept it all running smoothly and did a great job with the auction. Caprice, the band, sounded superb, and my only regret on the night was that I left it too late to go for a dance!
Even after the band finished, the party carried on! Jane and I got to bed at 4 50am!! Thankfully I didn't have to go in that morning!
Trained in preparation for the Cardiff game. Manager told me yesterday that if Ben was fit he would go straight back in, so that is what's happening. Early night in preparation for the game and the Gala Dinner.
Ben is back in full training today, so should be fit for Saturday. Ryan's night hike with Cubs is called off because of the freezing temperatures!
Train in the morning. Go to Alpine press to pick up the name cards and the programmes for the Gala Dinner. Nicki comes over in the afternoon and does the final table plan with Jane.
Back into training. De-brief of game and then out to train.
Kids back to school and Jane back to work at the surgery, so a day off at home alone. With the Gala Dinner days away now there are plenty of phone calls to make!
In for a warm down after yesterday's excursions! Had to miss Ryan's football as it was a 9.30am kick off but made it back in time for Tasha's netball, which they won!
Difficult game played on an awful pitch! Had quite a bit to do 1st half, and then Chris Eagles scores an amazing goal to go in 1-0 up! The 2nd 1/2 starts in a similar vein, but we create 3 or 4 chances to kill the game which we miss, so the last few minutes are a bit scary! We hang on though for 3 points and a clean sheet. Well pleased!
Have friends round for dinner in the evening.
Meet the goalkeeper from Chelsea we have taken on loan, as Ben is suspended for tomorrow's game. After training, we travel to Brighton to prepare for the game. Watch the Luton v Reading game in the evening.
In at midday for de-brief and then training afterwards. Went to West Herts Golf Club to meet with the secretary, Clive, to discuss the next testimonial event, the Golf Day.
We were given an unexpected day off because of the effort that the lads had put in with only 9 men. Made loads of phone calls about the gala dinner and then in the evening went down to the Hilton for a meeting. Sorted out lots of issues surrounding the dinner and finally got home about 12.15am!
Train in the morning at West Yorkshire F.A. The game is going well up until 1/2 time. We are 1-0 up without playing that well. Then early in the 2nd 1/2, it starts to go wrong with Ben being sold short on a back header and he ends up bringing down Rob Hulse. I was amazed to see the red card shown but quickly got my tracksuit off and was on to face the penalty to no avail. Then Darius was sent within minutes of me going on. We hold on with 9 men until 10 minutes to go. The dressing room is very disappointed afterwards, but the Manager is quick to lift everyone.
Jane and the kids off to Ipswich to stay with Jane's parents for 1/2 term. I'm in for training and then we travel to Leeds for the game tomorrow night.
Ryan's game was off after heavy rain overnight. I was in for training as usual and was able to get back for Natasha's game at 11:30. They won 35-2 and Tasha got Player of the match! Tasha also had her friend staying from Ipswich, Clare.
The game goes well again and we finish comfortable winners. With my goalkeeping coach's hat on, Ben made 2 very important saves at crucial times in the game. One at 0-0 and the other at 2-0. Sometimes in a 4-0 win these things get forgotten.
In the evening we go around to friends, Hellen and Andy, for dinner.
Meeting first thing, then out to train. The boss is keen to make sure everyone is in the right frame of mind for the game tomorrow. We don't want to slip up against Coventry after beating Sheff U.
Back in training, looking towards the Coventry game on Saturday. Take Ryan to swimming with the cubs in the evening.
Day off. Jane was ill with a bug that was going round so was nursemaid!
In for a de-brief and then trained with the other lads that hadn't played.
After a light training session at Sheffield University Ground, we have lunch and then back to bed for the afternoon. The game went as well as we could have possibly hoped. The sending off of David Unsworth helped, but we were playing well anyway and were very determined to beat them and close the gap. The fact we did it live on TV hopefully sent a good message to the rest of the division.
Trained and travelled to Sheffield. Ben is fit to play so I am back on the bench as expected. Watch a film in the room with Ben in the evening.
Trained early Saturday morning so the coaches could go and watch games in the afternoon. I took Ryan and his friend, Charlie, to watch Northampton Spencer. Met up with a few friends at the game. Ryan, Charlie and other lads played on the little training pitch rather than watching the game. Got plastered in mud! Typical boys!
Had friends, Anita and Greg, around for dinner in the evening which was good fun!
Did some preparation work for the Sheffield United game. Went to a quiz night at a local primary school. We went with our friends who are Coventry fans so our team was called the "Sky Blue Hornets!" We came 4th.
We had a day off so chilled at home and got some testimonial work done, on the phone mainly.
Hard day's training, as there is no game this weekend. The Sheffield United game has been put back to Monday night for Sky. In the evening, Jane and I travel over to Cambridge for my sister's 50th birthday! Patricia's husband, Stewart, used to be a chef so the food was excellent as usual. Two of my other sister's were there as well!