Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Football Final

Anyone who knows me well will know that I’m just not that into watching football. This wasn’t always the case, as a youngster my dad took me regularly to watch both Manchester United and Manchester City, I wasn’t a supporter of either team but enjoyed watching the games and listening to the banter. As I teenager I chose to accompany my mates to matches, rather than my dad, and no longer travelled to Manchester but supported the club from where I went to school, Crewe Alex. These were the days when Crewe were always in danger of being bottom of the 4th division, but even then there was ambition. I was at Bruce Grobbelaar’s final match for Crewe, before he became a Liverpool legend, the one where he scored his goal, though he was lucky it bounced off the woodwork, rather than ending up in the town centre. My last Crewe match was an away trip to Exeter back in 1984.

But I didn’t just watch I also played, very badly. Despite this I managed to get together with a bunch of school mates for a local 5-a-side tournament. The first year we were beaten finalists, to a very good team. The second year we were much improved and won. My only football medal and an experience I shared with; Simon Rigby (goal), Derek Proudlove (defence), Andrew Geddes (forward and sub 4 minute miler), Nigel Shirley (forward) and Neil Hassall (sub). I was in defence and it wasn’t my fault we lost a goal, it came from Derek’s side. We won that on penalties and like all good England strikers I managed to miss mine, I’m available for pizza adverts.

Having become a runner I had no time for football, until I met Carole, a season ticket holder at Motherwell, and in the interests of love and harmony we came to an understanding; I’d take here out for a run around the KB5 course (for which I apparently still hold the M40 course record) and she’d take me to Motherwell in the afternoon. The football I could cope with but the traditional pie and bovril was a bit beyond me!

A few years down the line and despite the pies, bovril and Motherwell FC we’re still together. Carole was keen to support an English club so we’ve attended Gresty Road on a couple of occasions. When Crewe reached the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final Carole was keen to go to Wembley, so I agreed to accompany her. Then we remembered we’d be arriving back from Spain late the night before, oh well it was a holiday. My sister, who’s a season ticket holder, organised our tickets, and an old school pal got me seats on a bus from Hartford.

It was an early start and a long day but the game was really good, the second half being more exciting than the first. The good news was that Crewe won 2-0, both good goals. But perhaps the best thing for me was re-acquainting myself with a number of old school pals that I’d lost touch with, who needs Facebook when you’re going to Wembley. On the way home the Crewe team, along with trophy, pulled up at Newport Pagnell services, just as we were about to leave, which added to the excitement for the fans who were able to have their pictures taken with the players and the cup. If you were expecting a more in-depth report and analysis of the game, don’t despair, never one to duplicate effort, here’s one my nephew prepared earlier

When we did finally get home I managed to watch the Moto GP, how great to see Rossi back on form. All in all a good day’s sport. Now back to work.

As I mentioned earlier, I spent last week in Spain. This trip was carefully planned between the two 12 stage events and was designed specifically to get me fine tuned for the Masters road relays. Unfortunately, as I’m still suffering from the achilles injury, I wasn’t able to fine tune anything. It gave me an opportunity to spend more time relaxing by the pool and on the beach and doing some reading. I’ve been going through the Mark Billingham, Tom Thorne, novels, which I find a really good read. So good I bought the series for my niece at xmas. My kindle has also pointed out to me that I might like to read Robinson Crusoe. I remember watching the black and white tv series back in 1972, so I didn’t mind if I did. It was actually a much better read than I was expecting and differed in some aspects to the tv version. I enjoyed it so much I’ve loaded up his further adventures.

Back to the UK and I was getting a bit concerned about the length of time my achilles was taking to heal. I’d been advised that it was a strain but, like my hairline fracture wasn’t spotted at first, I was wondering if something had been missed. So yesterday I went to the physio. My physio was a shy young thing and we were getting along really well, until she squeezed my achilles. But she did confirm, there was no tear, it had just taken a beating and needed more time to heal. However it is now the time to start pushing the stretches and start on strength work. Diagnosis is that I should be able to run a little in three weeks time. I’m not getting my hopes up just yet but my Salford kit is ready and waiting.

One of the nice things about coming home is that I’ve also had a load of new clients, which means I’m really busy. The weather’s picked up a bit too which means I can get off my static bike and get on my mountain bike and venture into the woodlands. Much as I like cycling, it isn’t running. Unfortunately cycling outdoors in the sun does bring it home how much I miss running.

Written by Roger Alsop

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