Captain for a day


In a league where games last for only 10 minutes we would, maybe stand a chance. This is how long we last when we play away before it all goes wrong. It is as hard to understand as it is to explain. It is not a secret that Bournemouth is an excellent team and they are at the top with real chances to become a Premiership team because of the football they play, but they had too many chances on Saturday. How many times can one player receive the ball so easily that he can turn around in the midfield and run towards the goal without any players chasing him…That’s how Pittman scored his first goal. His fourth, right at the end was the icing on the cake, a penalty committed by myself in another game to forget. Too many mistakes.

I am not sure whether anybody in the team realises how devastating the effects of this season can be on our careers and on our families. At the end, everybody will have to think about what they have or they haven’t done and even though it will be too late, they will have to jump to their own conclusions.

On a personal basis, it was a difficult week for me. I trained with the physio all week and was very careful because my quads were still hurting. The scar didn’t hurt but the whole leg got sore and I wasn’t hopeful I could play in the game. On Friday I decided to try with the group and the coach put me in the starting eleven. When the coach shows he trusts you the minimum you can do is to honour that trust by giving everything you have, forget about the pain and play. That is what I did and after four weeks and only one session with the group I had the opportunity to play from the very beginning, which is quite unusual.

When we arrived at the stadium, Lee Clark came to me and told me I was going to be captain. He left me open-mouthed because I could have never imagined that. The only time that I had been captain before was with Swansea in a pre-season trophy in Palamos and once with Alaves B, so I haven’t had much experience in that sense, but it was a very nice gesture and a demonstration of trust. Beyond the final result and what the club is going through, I will remember this day as a special one because Blackpool is a historical club and I was, one day, its captain. To many this would be just an anecdote, to me is much more than that.

We are a young team and despite all the problems the experience helps you to be more reflective and not to let your emotions guide you. Some days I would kick the wall and give up but in the changing room there are many players just over 18 and they see you as a role model. I will try never to be a negative influence on a young player in my team because I don’t want anybody to remember Andrea Orlandi in a negative way and so I will do my best to help them instead.

I know what I am talking about because I would have liked to have been treated this way when I was promoted to the first team in Alaves. There were great players there and great people who treated me really well but some didn’t. One player who played in the same position as me, tried to make my life misery. Had I had then the same mentality I have now, I would certainly have done things differently, but you learn from these experiences too. I am still learning now, and as I said before I will never be a bad influence on a youngster who is just starting and wants to rule the world.

We have 2 home games now and then the break for the internationals. Charlton and Leeds will be tough rivals but we must try to win to reduce the points we need to be safe; although remaining in the Championship is now impossible. I look at the table and I feel ashamed, I change channels when they show us on Sky Sports News, because I get depressed and I can’t find an explanation as to why we are there. If I look at it game by game I understand it, but when I look at the season as a whole and look at the work that we do day by day, I can’t find arguments to explain our situation. I know it’s hard to understand, maybe impossible.

We are where we are for many reasons. Things beyond the football and the changing room and things that even we don’t know about. It is like a scary movie in which you know the end but you still get scared during each scene despite some little happy teasers. I have said on many occasions that I look around and I see footballers, sportsmen, who shouldn’t be living in a situation like this. We are not a bad team, surely not as bad as the table suggests. But the numbers never lie. It is incredible but true.

It gets harder for me to write and find the motivation to sit in front of the computer, I must admit. I keep doing it because I made a commitment at the beginning of the season and I never shy away when things don’t go my way. I might be a strange person, but I am a man of my word.

On the long trip to Bournemouth, by the way, I was asleep. The little ones gave me a hell of a week and I couldn’t really get much rest, so travelling with the team felt a bit like a mini holiday to me (I hope Laura doesn’t read this). Saying that, this year the team trips felt like horror stories rather than anything else. Anyway, I managed to rest a bit and I am sure Darren O’Dea will know what I am talking about as he had the pleasure of enjoying my snoring just 5 minutes after we got into the room. This is what tiredness does to you… I didn’t think I snored but he recorded it on his mobile. I must be getting old…..

Champions league this week. I warned you last week that I was a really bad predictor as I was hoping that my friend Paulo Sousa could get something positive in Oporto but Basel was trashed as Shakhtar were against BayernChelsea out. It had been a while since I got so excited about a game in which I wasn’t involved in as I did with Chelsea-PSG. I saw Ibrahimovic’s tackle and it reminded me of one of Barnes’, but more than that I saw a team who wanted to win against one who was only thinking about qualifying. The result, in my opinion, was fair.

Now I hope that Barça goes through as expected but they should be careful against City who lost against Burnley and will play like a wounded lion at the Camp Nou. I don’t discard Arsenal either, despite having an almost impossible mission in Monaco and we will see who takes the game between Atlético and Leverkusen and Borussia and Juventus. In any case the game I’ll be watching will be the one at the Camp Nou. Good memories there….

That’s enough my friends. F1 has just started and it was one of my favourite sports. I say it was because it has become so boring now. I can tell you that Hamilton will win the competition, although it is funny how, after Alonso departed, it seems that Ferrari are doing better and McLaren are doing worse. Very very curious…

See you next week. Hopefully with better news for the people who keep supporting Blackpool after all. For them, for you, I am out of words but I will be grateful to you forever.

Come ooooon!!!

Translated by Alfons Vinent.

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