What a week! I don’t know where to begin from…
Maybe from the end…
The ovation to the team and, above of all, to the coach after the Saturday match… It was just a tie, but much more for us. The atmosphere I felt will be unforgettable. The supporters-team connection is what will help us to stay in the Championship. The match against Wolverhampton was very hard but you could see a dedicated, committed team. We had our chances, we fought and I think there were good football moments. It’s just the beginning.
Long time ago I understood that we don’t own our fate in pro football. There are thousands of examples. This one has been the more surrealistic week I’ve ever lived as a professional. For starters, we found the Sky Sports cameras at Monday training, recording us while we arrived. I realized something was happening. When I came in, the coach asked me to speak with me, the two alone. You can guess it’s confidential, but what he said didn’t help me to stay calm. José Riga is a great person and the team would go to the death for him, that’s all I’m saying. We already had no second coach since he had left the club. Imagine that: we completed a double training session without knowing who were gonna be the mister the following day…
We found out, mostly through TV, that the club had talked with several people to take on it. No one had spoken to us. A new name each day, and the coach “facing the music” at the trainings. Everything very complicated for us, even worst for him. Nevertheless, the team has responded in an incredible way. Had it not been for the group’s force, this situation would have been unbearable. Besides, the fans are with us. Now then, I don’t know what we will face tomorrow!
Oddly enough, these two weeks have been the best, speaking of training. I think it’s just because we know each other better. My foot has been hurting for a month, and I couldn’t even walk last Tuesday. Plantar fasciitis! Out of the frying pan and into the fire! Last Thursday I went to a podiatrist in Bolton, a nice guy. He gave me some insoles, as a last resort, and told me: “Forget the Saturday match“. “Ok, ok, thank you very much“, I replied. Last Friday I worked with the group (lame, though) and the Saturday, during the warm-up, I couldn’t even run. So I told the doctor to inject me to feel no pain. I don’t recommend an injection at the sole, it’s horrible! I couldn’t feel it, and it was my left, the good one! It’s very difficult to play without feeling the ball, but it has to be done. Now it’s time to give even more than you have. And I must to play better, because I can do much, much better.
Tomorrow we’re having another hard test with my former coach Òscar García‘s team, Watford. I do appreciate and respect him a lot and I’m telling a story about him later. It’s gonna be a complicated rival, but this championship is so competitive, every game is gonna be that way. And next Saturday… Brighton. That match will be really special for me. I spent two of my best years in life there. I met amazing people and they were two splendid seasons at a sport level. Besides, I felt like home in the Amex. The club decided not to extend my contract and I had to leave, although it was hard to accept and understand. My daughter Emma was born there and it will always be an unforgettable place for our family. Having said that, I will try these things won’t affect me this Saturday and give everything for Blackpool to win. I’m sure I’ll have a great time in Blackpool, too.
About Òscar García. I wouln’t normally explain things like that, but now that you and me feel confident with each other and I know you’re not going to tell anyone… The day the told me I wasn’t going to stay in Brighton was the Monday after we were eliminated in the playoff against Derby County. The Sport Manager explained to me, in a minute and a half meeting, that given the change of coach for the following year, they couln’t take a decision regarding to the last year contract players… But they had already renewed three, so imagine how I felt.
Next day, Òscar himself called me when he noticed the news. He was very surprised and upset. He had advised to extend my contract to the club. In fact, the Sport Manager asked him about my situation a week before the playoffs, via e-mail, and Òscar answered they should keep me beyond any doubt. He had no obligation, but he took the trouble of calling me and state it clear. It was a nice detail. He had even kept the mails to prove it. Well… water under the bridge.
As I said before, and no matter Mandela insisted on it, there are times we don’t own our fate, especially in the football world. There were no murderous monkeys or property damages to lament this week. Norah is growing up and surprises me with new things every day. She came to Bloomfield Road last Saturday and had the time of her life! Tomorrow, more and better football… if my foot allows it. I’m capable of injecting my nails to play, though!
PS: By the way, please excuse my audacity, but I celebrate my one and only big idol’s victory: Valentino Rossi! I’m a bike fanatic (even I can’t ride a tricicle) and Rossi is one of the few athlete who thrills me. He’s unique.