When you first arrive in England in mid-April you imagine yourself spending your Sundays in the garden or having a drink on the terrace… You don’t imagine yourself stuck at home, listening to the wind and spending hours hiding from a hurricane. I have been living in England for almost eight years and the sun was always shone. This year is nothing like that, not in any sense. I will be patieny and hopefully the nice weather will arrive before the end of the month.
In terms of the football, the sun did not appear for Blackpool either. For one reason or another we still do not get what we deserve. On Tuesday last week, we played a very good game against Reading, we should have won, we dominated the game, created chances … and in the end they equalised with a goal that would win a prize in the TV program Candid Camera. Good old Darren O’Dea tried to clear the ball away under pressure from Yakubu, however, with such bad luck, the ball hit our right back Grant Hall on his face. The result? A Reading equaliser just 26 seconds into the second half and an injury for Grant when he twisted his ankle falling to the ground.
This only happens to us. I mentioned Yakubu. As I explained earlier with Gudjohnsen, in this league you find really quality players. I remember when I was playing for Swansea I met Michel Salgado when we went to Blackburn, who did not play because the club didn’t want to have to extend his multimillion dollar contract automatically by allowing him to play the necessary number of games. It was cold as hell and what should have been bad weather for a Nigerian was clearly helping him because Yakubu scored four goals by himself. It’s been three years of that and physically he is not the same but nevertheless he is still a rock.
Before starting the game I noticed Joe Lewis’ shirt. It was signed and I thought he was going to do a raffle after the game (something quite common in England ). It turns out that no, he had not even noticed or knew anything about it and when he tried to get another one he was told there were none left. It was funny because he tried to put a plaster over the writing to cover it and it looked even more funny. Things like that however, details without apparent importance, make a difference in a club. There are details that should be improved as a club. A small thing? Probably, but still not a normal thing for a championship club.
Joe ended up injured in the end, just like Grant. What bad luck! To make things worse Wolves managed to recover Michael Jacobs, a smashing lad who is beginning to show what he’s capable of. I hope he does well in the future because he has lots of potential.
On Saturday at Ipswich it was more of the same. We started well, I scored a good goal thanks to a great assist from Cameron, and we lost. In part, this was thanks to my mistake which helped lead to their second goal. It was an error without explanation. ‘The pitch condition, the bounce of the ball, it came from a rebound‘… Excuses do not sit well with me. Unfortunately sometimes we make inexplicable errors and that happened to me. I have to take responsibility, accept it and move on. The worst is that we equalized again and finally conceded 3-2 due to another silly play. It is the story of this season. When the league is finished I will look at all the results and I shudder to think of the points that we have lost in, top ut it mildly, a stupid fashion. Maybe we would not have avoided relegation but we would be in a different position, that is for sure.
On Tuesday we are travelling to Derby. At the start of the season I would have bet on them to win the title because they have a very balanced team with great players and play very serious and strong football. Now they are fifth, struggling to make the playoffs and having a hard time. We’ll go with the intention of giving them a scare but it will be a particularly difficult game because of what’s at stake for them.
Yesterday I ended my weekend on the couch enjoying the Manchester derby. I expected a good game and it was… Although City disappointed me. I do not know why but they have struggled in the last three months and if Liverpool win at Newcastle today they will threaten City’s fourth place spot. United are starting to get Van Gaal’s carácter and Blind will give them lots, Mata is spectacular and the team as a unit has grown.
Surely they are in a different league than ours. Blackpool live in a very different reality and what we must do is finish the season with the best possible image. We owe it to our people. We owe them much more than that of course…
Translated by Alfons Vinent.