Monday, January 31, 2011


This weekend has been excellent! My excitement has been restored in football and in particular in Chelsea FC. The news broke on Friday (28/01) that an offer for Torres had been made, as i sit here tonight on Monday 31/01 the deal is nearly done for a British record £50m. Unbeleiveable. A frankly disgusting amount of money but an exciting and invigorating signing. Anyway this blog isn't about that it's about the reaction of the Liverpool fans. A reaction that is crystalised by someone burning a Torres shirt live on Sky Sports News.


The crux of it seems to be how dare anyone want to leave Liverpool for whatever the reason! The reason no-one should not want to leave Liverpool is because of their tradition and history. Because they are well supported in thailand (apparently). No-one can deny that Liverpool have a great history, umpteen league titles, FA Cups, European Cups etc etc.....but seriously how many years ago? When Abramovich bought Chelsea the Liverpool fans were on talk radio saying how " couldn't buy history...", " can't buy class...". indeed they are right. But what you can do is start.

History has to start somewhere.

Actually they were wrong, Hicks and Gillette bought Liverpool among a load of promises of new stadiums and players. Turns out you can buy history even if you don't have the money. That went bad so Liverpool, having had their laundry well and truly washed in public, have new american owners. Oh and the appointed chairman to oversee the sale of Liverpool was a Chelsea fan and season ticket holder.

Back to Torres, Liverpool fans on phone-in's, twitter and countless other media mechanisms have been incredulous that Torres would want to leave. The actual reason is yet to fully transpire, you can only speculate that it is Champions League football. Liverpool not in it this season and unlikely to be there next. That said Chelsea are not currently looking assured of Champions League football next season although our position is stronger. Even Stan Collymore tweeted that clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool tell players when they can leave which is basically when they are done.

That might have been the case before but everything has moved on. There will always be players that want to play for Liverpool because they supported them as a lad, probably more than any other club. The flip side of that is that the days of Liverpool as a power are firmly in the past, that glory may be restored in the fullness of time. The fans opinions are also firmly in the past - look at the hysterical reaction to Kenny Dalglish being given the manager role - two words: Newcastle and Celtic (actually that was three).

Fans never understand why a player wants to leave their club - we love the clubs so why don't the players? Doesn't matter what club it is that's the way it is.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Did i really just measure my thighs?

I had an appointment recently with the fracture clinic as part of my ACL rehab. They confirmed that progress with my knee is excellent and there was talk of me being allowed to get back running at 10 weeks as opposed to the normal 12 such was my progress.

I think in part this is as i was in good shape going into the operation making recuperation a more positive experience.

The final comment was then that my left leg is a bit smaller than they would normally like at this stage post op. Great so that means more dips and lunges etc.

So when i got home i wanted to see how much difference there was so in an Adrian Mole moment i measured my good thigh - 52cm and my recovering thigh - 48cm. Hmm 4cm difference which is just short of 8%. It seems quite a lot and actually quite how i will generate 4cm of extra only on one leg is a little beyond me at the moment. 

I have resolved to do more dips more regularly and in fact had a "don't ask" moment earlier this week. I was in the loo drying my hands with the electric hand dryer and taking the opportunity to do some dips at the same time. My mind wandered and a chap walked in and saw me doing this.....

He looked at me and me at him. All i could say was "knee surgery" he nodded then disappeared into a cubicle!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pure sporting enjoyment...

The team I manage (Leckhampton Rovers Cougars U11's) played a Gloucester County Cup game yesterday against St. Marks U12's losing 3-0 but putting up a valiant, brave performance.

My son, Luca, plays on the left wing. He's very quick and strong when running, he can make run after run in a match and deliver a cross left or right footed (I am his proud father give me a break!).

Anyway yesterday he was playing a tough match and had few opportunities to get forward. When he did he made strong runs and got his cross in. After the game we were talking about the match and his performance and he said, "...I love it when I'm running and i get past a player, it feels really good and i know he won't catch me..."

I love that.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It really isn't about the winning.....

I have supported Chelsea for nearly 20 years now. It started for me when on a weekend out in London with some mates we went and watched Chelsea V Everton at Stamford Bridge. We sat in the shed end way before it was redeveloped and watched Chelsea lose 1-0 to, if memory serves, a Paul Rideout goal.

At this point i adopted Chelsea as my team. It was the first premier league game i had been to. All my mates supported teams (Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and er Norwich) and i didn't. I loved footbal and watching games but had no loyalty. Growing up my dad never expressed a loyalty to a team so it never rubbed off on me.

Anyway looking back, when i adopted Chelsea we weren't very good. Mid-table, a good cup run and some exciting players. Since then it has been an upward trajectory, Hoddle, Gullit, Vialli and Zola have all come and gone. The title has been won, retained and then lost. Champions league finals lost, league and cup doubles won. It's all been pointing up.
Until recently. When Chelsea have proven fallible. Results are no longer certain, or as certain as they can be. Losses in the league and champions league where normally you'd expect a victory. From top of the league to 5th. Not even in the Champions League places and currently below Tottenham!

Don't misunderstand me - i'd prefer that we were top and winning games or at least performing. But now that we aren't games are more interesting, more watchable and, for me, more entertaining. The draw at the weekend point in case a real rollercoaster of a game that left nerves ragged ending in a 3-3 draw. Brilliant emotionally engaging entertainment. Watching Chelsea is now exciting, the fallibility making the endeavour of the team more pertinent. They have to try to win and try their hardest. 

They say that on any given day any team can beat another, those days used to be few but no longer. It makes sport more engaging, competitive and fun. Fans experienceing every kick and tackle rather than waiting for the inevitable glut of goals and getting impatient when it doesn't arrive. Teams having to perform to get a result, any result. 

More competitive teams makes the whole spectacle interesting. The rise of Man City and Tottenham has made the top 4 a top 5 (Liverpools demise is a brilliant sub-plot to this season). Manchester United are top but not playing brilliantly or tearing teams apart (beating Blackburn 9-1 aside). 

Competition like this has to be good for sport. Sure we all want to win but we want to win with effort and not at a canter. If you want that watch the Harlem Globetrotters.

ACL Operation - 19th November 2010

I started this blog on Friday 26/11/2010 a week after my ACL operation, it's now 04/01/2011 and I am only just finishing it.....

.....It was a week ago today that I had my ACL operation. A week that has really flown by despite my lack of activity and mobility, maybe it's because the week has been unusual in that regard that has made it fly by?

So the operation last Friday was a success, I went in on the Thursday night and was first on the list for the Friday morning. On the Friday morning I met the consultant who, worryingly, drew on the leg that they were going to be operating on an arrow pointing to my left knee and wrote ACL.

This is the right leg er no it's the left
Was that in case they forgot or mixed them up, maybe he's so clever he doesn't actually know left from right when he's in the zone. He's just a whirl of scalpels and swabs both hands moving like lightning with no thought of left and right?

Next up was the anaesthetist, a nice chap. He checked me over and listened to my chest. If he's not happy it doesn't happen. He gave me the all-clear and 20minutes later I was being wheeled down to theatre. Straight in and the anaesthetist was there with his greens on. He put something into my cannula to make me drowsy and that was me out. I barely remember him finishing.

No wonder i fainted

Next thing I remember is waking up in the ward at about midday. I say waking up but I was out of it. Completely wasted. I phoned home to let them know I was still alive and still believed that I would be leaving hospital later that day. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I was hooked up to a sliding scale insulin and glucose drip and had oxygen being fed through my nose. I felt nauseous and was disorientated. I was also upset at how bad I felt. There was an old gentleman sat by my bed waiting for his op. He was chatting to me and I kept falling asleep. I had to keep apologising to him and reassuring him that he wasn't boring!

At 3 o'clock Sue and the kids came in. I was so desperate to see them. Unfortunately they were expecting to see me ready to leave to come home and what they were confronted with was a very different image. I was pale, hooked up to the drip and oxygen and as they came in just about to throw up. Poor Luca got very upset seeing me this way and had to go outside to compose himself. My being in hospital hit him the hardest, he really was stressed out about the whole thing and very upset.

Feeling bad
When they came back I persuaded the nurse that I could remove the oxygen as felt that that was making me feel sick. They agreed to this as I hadn't used any morphine for pain relief and apparently they go together. A little later they agreed I could remove the glucose/insulin drip and revert to my control. This was excellent as I think that I was pumped full of glucose was making me feel sick. I felt a bit like when you've done a big training session and taken too many gels

Now more natural I started to feel better. It was obvious that there would be another night in hospital but I was definitely on the up.

I was meant to be working on Saturday morning, remotely, but that was not going to happen. Sue phoned work for me and then I followed up when they had left. Fortunately I have really good colleagues and one of them stepped up to the plate. Good man!

The kids stayed in with me for an hour or so then left for the evening. I was really sorry to see them go.

Pee-Pee Bottle
As the night progressed I felt much better, I managed some food and had a cup of tea. I was then on 2-hourly review. that was 2hrs right through the night for blood sugar, blood pressure and temperature. At the 10pm check I needed the loo but couldn't get up so they gave me a cardboard bottle. A little stage fright made this simplest of functions difficult! I tried the normal trick of reciting the 17x table in my mind (it really does work) but to no avail. Eventually I went, the relief! I called the nurse who swapped it for an empty one! Through the night I used one every time they woke me up and by the morning had filled 7 bottles! A record surely?

Saturday morning I was up bright and early - why do they wake you up? Had breakfast and then via the Blackberry kept in touch with the work I was supposed to be doing. There were some minor glitches but ultimately it seemed to go very well! Cheers Dashers!

I then had to get out of bed - a couple of physio's came along. they had doubled up as had heard I was, and I quote, "...a little fainty..." - I had to point out that I had fainted once because of the pigs ear the guy had made with my cannula! I apologised in advance for being 'grungy' and also in case anything popped out as they lifted back the covers. I was still in my hospital gown and had not moved in more than a day. They helped me out of bed, everything stayed in, and I was to use my operated leg as it was "weight bearing".

On crutches they took me for a walk around the ward and to their rig where they had some practice apparatus. I had to practice going up and down stairs and using the crutches to manoeuvre. I was very nervous at the start but actually got moving pretty quickly.

Given the clear by them I managed a visit to the bathroom. Seems such a non-achievement but considering how I felt it was far from it.

The next step was an x-ray. Wheeled down in my bed my knee was x-rayed from a couple of angles. This was to make sure that the pins were in the correct position and everything was as it should be. they cannot check the ligament by x-ray as they do not show up - you'd need an expensive CAT Scan for that. I was still in bed waiting to be collected when I needed to go again. No one was around. The nurse came and I asked her to step on it so I could go. It was agony but fortunately I managed to hold on.

Back on the ward and feeling human and with some confidence I spent the morning on the ward chatting with the guy in the next bed and counting down to visiting time. I never thought I would miss and need my family like I did but man was I so desperate for them to come in. I have never needed them like I did over this couple of days. The chap in the next bed was a nice guy with some interesting tales to tell. as we were chatting it became apparent that I know (tenuously) his wife and daughter! His wife used to work in a department store and sold us a dinner service, we remembered her as she was so good and knew everything about the products! His daughter is a friend of a friend that we have seen on a few occasions and our kids are at the same school. Small world.

I came out on the Saturday afternoon. Sue and the kids came in at visiting with magazines and some decent food but within about 10mins of them arriving I was given the clear to go home. The only delay was that a doctor needed to see my x-ray and give me the all clear. As it was a Saturday and a busy one at that it took a bit of time to sort this and at one point looked like being delayed to the Sunday which would have meant another night in.

The Ward
With some help getting dressed I walked out on my crutches to envious looks of other guys on the ward, all desperate to leave and go home.

Once home it was the sofa where I stayed for the next 3-4weeks! I had exercises to be doing essentially around straightening the leg and getting mobility back. I was very nervous of doing these but quite quickly I could feel an improvement and my confidence growing. The worst pain was in my hamstring where they removed the graft to make the ligament. It felt like a tear which is exactly what it was/is. A couple of days on crutches and they were dispatched - my mobility around the house greatly improved (albeit slow).

Neat scar
From this point it is all about rehabilitation - fortnightly sessions at Leisure@ with the physio's in the gym, plus as much other strength work as I can manage in between. the more I do the stronger it gets and the quicker that happens. Targets remain the same as they ever did which is cycling as soon as I get the nod from the physio's and jogging at 3months (end of Feb 2011).

Everything else will be guided/led by the physio's.....

The hard work has started and continues....Happy New Year!