The summer break is far too short these days. It only seems like a month and half since the last season finished, and now the Wigan Athletic squad are already back in training, as is my eldest lad.
After a full season of attending football school on a Saturday morning with my young protégé, I must say I was a little disappointed when he wasn’t spotted, and although he hasn’t been approached by any professional teams yet, I’m still not panicking. I know it’s possible they may be taking the cautious approach. No point looking too keen in the current financial climate eh?
I have told him though that he needs to really focus now as he isn’t getting any younger. His fifth birthday is only a couple of months away, and unless he gets his head down he’ll end up wasting his time in a lower league club like Leeds, Birmingham or Nottingham Forest.
It’s good advice, and I hope my son listens, in the same way that I also listened and took my dad’s advice seriously (apart from all the stuff about alien body snatchers and Russian spies living in Atherton).
So yesterday, after a tough morning overcoming the challenges and stresses of the eighteen holer at Haigh Hall, I was having a nice relaxing soak, surrounded by scented candles, and with the pleasant tones of Doctor Hook playing softly in the background, when the Mrs suddenly stopped her grouting of the bathroom and proclaimed ‘His education needs have to come first. Remember, the career of a footballer is regrettably short. Is that water cold? ’
She’s right, and I’ve decided that I am going to wait until he’s finished his first year at school and if nothing’s happened by then, it will probably be the right time to distribute a promotional DVD and get some clips loaded up on You Tube.
Over the summer break, I overheard a conversation in our local Cash Converter about a training camp for kids, and how it was likely that there would be a fair number of scouts in attendance. Okay, I know my lad needed his rest after a long hard season, but come on, this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss surely?
As it was being held in Parbold and my lad has never played at altitude before, I took him for a kick around on the Friday night up Ashurst Beacon just to get him acclimatised. So the next morning, after a breakfast of pasta and Powerade, we took the short drive over Parbold Hill and I was amazed how busy the thing was. Yes, there were scouts in attendance: scouts, cubs and the Boys’ Brigade to be precise. Not a football in sight, but loads of tents and campfires. No chance of getting a professional football contract there perhaps, but it wasn’t a wasted trip, as my lad did come back with his knot tying badge and handy fold-away camping stove.
Well, after all the hard work I’ve put in, I think the boy’s just about ready for the start of the season. He did pick up a slight niggle over the summer – I say niggle, I mean a grazed knee from when he fell out off his Cosmic Light Scooter, and as the doctors at A&E were quite dismissive and said I was being over-protective and overly-competitive, I decided to do a bit internet research and sort it out myself.
I read about some professional players being treated with horse placentas, but have you ever tried to buy horse placentas in Wigan? I tried. Tesco? Nothing, not even in their Value range. The nearest I could find was Horse Radish. Not ideal, but it seems to have done the trick, and he’s at full match fitness now despite leaving me with a constant craving for roast beef butties. I know he’s back to fitness because I asked him how he was feeling and he replied ‘Mustard’.
One thing I have had to do over summer is to invest in some new boots as he’s grown out of his last pair, and with football boots being so expensive these days, it is proving to be a bit of a financial strain. It’s been hard to make ends meet, and I’ve had to talk the Mrs into making a living on her back again. We swore things would never get so bad again, but what can you do unless you’re prepared to kit your son out in last season’s outmoded boots? She was reluctant at first, but now the money is coming in, she doesn’t mind being filthy. I always did say though that she was a cracking mechanic and the only reason she gave it up in the first place was because she was struggling to get home and have my tea on the table for when I’d woken up after my mid-afternoon snooze.
Right, it’s about time I got off and set up for this morning’s training session. I’ve got him some cones to dribble round, but I need to peel off the McAlpine stickers, and work out how to disconnect the flashing orange lights on the top as they keep flashing in his eyes and put him off.
It never stops does it? So much for lazy summer days eh?
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