The end. This is the best news of the season. No one could imagine it was going to be like this back in August. It didn’t take me long to realise how difficult it was going to be, but I never thought it would get that bad. It finished in a way which is very difficult to understand for someone who hasn’t lived the day to day life of the club. People who know the club well will understand and respect the indignation shown by our fans. No words are needed.
As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday afternoon, Chelsea has just won the Premiership and I am on my way home trying to make my dad understand what happened yesterday. Just after the second half of our game against Huddersfield started, the fans invaded the pitch. I was atonished, watching it from the stands because I wasn’t even selected for this game, but that is another matter. I saw old people, young people and kids running out on to the pitch which I don’t think that is the best way to end our season as this will not bring good memories to the young children and I feel responsible for this as I have been part of this team. I feel really sorry because, as I said a while ago, apart from being a professional player I love this game and I remember my childhood at the grounds of Barça, Espanyol, Europa… Football has always been part of my life and I can see the situation from both sides.
It is good that it was a peaceful demonstration and no one was hurt but this is the time for some people to reflect on what has happened. I have my own opinion and I hope you understand if I don’t speak freely right now, but it was a very sad Saturday in Blackpool’s history and I hope that marks a before and after and I hope next year is better. I wish that wholeheartedly because of the club and most importantly because of the fans.
We have just gone pass London on our way to the south, to the Eurotunnel. My dad is driving for a while (fingers crossed) and I’m just looking at the notes I had made to write this column. I haven’t needed a holiday this much for a long time. I want to completely switch off and put my thoughts in order. This has been the season in which I have slept the least, I have suffered the most and surely the one I have enjoyed the least. When I left Bloomfield on Saturday, I couldn’t help but looking at the fans and it hurted seeing my colleagues on the pitch trying to give them something to cheer for. I realised then that everything has been that bad that there isn’t any consolation for them.
That’s why, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the fans for the respect and love that I have felt. When you win it is easy to receive this but when you lose it is much harder and it even becomes embarrassing for us. It has been a full weekend. Our “party”, the boxing match that Mayweather won against Pacquiao (obviously my favourite was again the loser), the eight Barça goals in Córdoba (I watched the highlights at night and what a festival it was!), Chelsea’s title, Bornemouth’s Championship win (congratulations) and the Moto GP that, unfortunately I couldn’t watch this time. However, all of this is relative when you hear the news of Rio Ferdinand’s wife passing away. She was only 36, she had 3 kids and a whole life ahead of her. Cancer took her away, there is nothing worse in a family than having to go through something like this.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of a very good friend of mine also died in Barcelona from cancer. He also went through the same as Rio with his first wife who died of cancer age 35. I can’t even imagine the pain that they have to endure and I would like to send my wholehearted commiserations to Elena in Barcelona and to Rio and his family in London. I know their strength will help them get through this.
It’s hard to carry on writing after something like this. Life has to be enjoyed to the limit because you don’t know what is waiting for you…
I talked a bit about Chelsea earlier, but what made me happy watching the Premiership this weekend was the goals from Jordi Gómez and Leo Ulloa. Jordi scored the two goals that gave Sunderland a bit of a break and Leo scored two in Leicester’s game. Amazing. They have won 5 games in the last 6 and they have gone from nearly relegated to fighting to stay up. I hope both teams manage to stay in the premiership, albeit it is not going to be easy. Although if you look at Newcastle for example, you realise how complicated football is. 9 defeats in 10 games, the last 8 have been in a row. It’s hard to understand how a team like Newcastle have been on the verge of relegation for the last few seasons. Big congratulations to Bournemouth, who will play in the Premiership for the first time in their history and they will do it as Champions. They deserve it because they have played very well. Some people have compared them to Eibar but the Cherries were in the 4th division only 5 years ago!!!
I was really surprised however to see Derby out of the play-off. I would have put all my money on them at the beginning of the season as they were clear favourites. They only managed 2 out of the last 9 points and they had only themselves to blame for this. To lose the play off place in their last game, at home and against a team who had nothing to win, is really tough. I am sure they will try again next season. I remember how they knocked me out of the semi-finals last year with Brighton and how they lost the final with a last minute goal from Bobby Zamora. What a striker he is!
On Fridy the promotion play-offs start. I will follow it from Barcelona and I think next season the Championship will be an amazing competition yet again. I hope Blackpool will be absent for just one year.
I’m still on my way to the continent. I would like to send a big hug to every single one of you who has been reading my column over the last few months. Sometimes it has been hard to write, especially when we kept losing and losing but I have tried hard to fullfill my commitment to you.
I will write again over the next few months although not regularly. I truly need to switch off.
Time to drive on the right now, not an easy thing when you are driving a british car!
Big hugs for everyone!
Translated by Alfons Vinent.