A quick change and it was on to the newly revamped Kings Cross station to catch a train, whose 19:48 departure coincided with the Euro 12 kick-off between England and Sweden. The WiFi on board Grand Central Rail is very good, unfortunately not good enough for live streaming. However, alt-tech ensured I was kept up to date on the progress of the match; thank you to tweeters and texters alike. As the kick-off had been delayed, I was able to watch the final 20 minutes in a friendly but far-from-salubrious pub near the delights of Doncaster station. The locals were errr, local and vocal, the liveliest of whom were leaving just as I arrived, their mission to get to Ukraine in time for England’s final group stage match.
Saturday morning and time for my own mission…to secure footwear suitable for the Diamond Jubilee football match, one of the events in Graham Morgan’s Double 30 celebrations. Having rescued my shin pads from the car-boot boxes earlier in the morning, I finally settled on a pair of retro Adidas Samba trainers to complete the equipment checklist.
A hasty dash to Marley Stadium and the chance to meet my team mates, some of whom were known, others of whom soon became known. The banter in the changing rooms quickly transported me back to my youth. The warm-up and subsequent match demonstrated that my team mates had clearly played above and beyond my own Sunday league standards. Viewers of the match highlights DVD will know just what I mean. Rather than give marks out of 10 for each player, special mentions must go to Paul Bilston, Damon Fox, John Bishop and Graham Morgan from Evolve SI, as well as Mick Driver, Derek Radcliffe, Colin Morris and the undoubted Man of the Match, Des Hamilton*.
It was early on in the game that I realised that:
A. The pitch was indeed big;
B. My fitness levels were not as they once were.
At the end of the game, I knew fully that my earlier realisations were accurate and that the dull pain in my groin was only outweighed by the growing pain in my wrist. Ooooer!
It was only during the evening’s celebrations for Graham’s Double 30 that I realised the pain was beginning to worsen. Even with the medicinal effects of a few Saltaire Blondes**, amazing entertainment courtesy of Deana Morgan and amusing conversations with various hippies, a few Beatles, a Jimi Hendrix or two and various Thunderbird characters, I knew it was time to head back home and seek some pain killers.
Sunday morning came with the inevitable trip to A & E at Bradford Royal Infirmary…not exactly the Father’s Day I had in mind. That said, the BRI staff: the receptionist, the triage team, radiographer, nurses, doctors and consultants were outstanding. Their expert care and genuine warmth were most appreciated.
So, I will now be wearing a fetching plaster cast for quite some time and thanks to one nurse I now know how to correctly pronounce ‘scaphoid’.
It is only now that I wish my retirement from playing football had been permanent; hindsight truly is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, my mobility is now slightly restricted so I will be considering ‘alternatives’ for this half term: proof reading and editing End of Year Reports, anyone? Hopefully a unique, one-off service…
* Yes, THE Des Hamilton, who played over 100 matches for Bradford City, scoring for them at Wembley, and also played for my beloved dodgy team, Newcastle United FC.
** It’s a drink!!
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