The next step.
There have been quite a few events in my life since my last blog. Thankfully though, all of them have been pretty good!
For a start, I have found that retirement has reinvigorated my patriotism as a proud Englishman!
I say this, as supporting the England football team during Euro 2012 was always a ‘no brainer’ for me. Every 2 years (if we qualify!) there’s either a World Cup or European Championship and watching the English football team through their highs and lows may be unbelievably torturous but I always find myself heading to the pub with my mates hoping that one day England will lift a trophy again.
In the past, my loyalty for the England rugby team has never reached those dizzy heights. It’s quite hard to explain the reason for this, but fundamentally I believe it boils down to that old green-eyed monster jealousy.
As a professional rugby player if you play regularly in the Premiership there are, generally speaking, only a maximum of 11 players that could possibly be ahead of you in the pecking order. Realistically though most teams have overseas players so the ratio falls down to 4 or 5. This means that at any given time you could potentially be only 2 or 3 injuries away from a call up!
When you are only 1 or 2 rungs down on the ladder there is always a natural tendency to want your competition to either do badly or tweak a hammy so that he might be kept on the sidelines for the rest of the International match series! Failing an injury if the team wins you know there are unlikely to be many changes so you know you won’t be playing and another cap has slipped away from you.
I have been very fortunate in my career to get 5 England caps but the ecstasy of playing international rugby can be drowned out by the times of not being picked; the feelings of jealousy for the poor chap playing in your position, hatred for the coaches for not picking you and wanting the team to play badly enough so that you get the nod!
If most professional players are honest with themselves they probably think in a similar way to this. Happily though, now I’m retired I have no hidden agenda. I watched Stuart Lancaster’s new England team with pride and enthusiasm. I may not have nipped to the pub to watch it, but I was glued to the telly screaming at every dropped pass and missed tackle.
For the record I’m glad Lancaster got the national job. Although he was a relative unknown before he took over the reins he is a top class coach with a strong work ethic and old school values.
This month has also seen the retirement of my great mate and future best man David Flatman. Some say he refused to take the pitch again if I wasn’t there and that he boycotted Farleigh House canteen in honour of my gargantuan appetite but, truth be told, he succumbed to a very nasty hand injury.
I almost feel guilty now. Almost.
The last few weeks of the season he was complaining about his ‘hurty’ hand. Foolish. At every given opportunity in training I was looking for him and trying to slap his hand. I like to think I made it worse and had a hand in his retirement… (I’m here all week)
The last of the news in this blog is the announcement that I shall be coaching next season. Although retirement was the right option for me I certainly never wanted to wash my hands completely from the game. Having looked at a few local clubs I was overjoyed when Clifton RFC approached me to look after their forwards during the 2012/13 season and shall be working closely with the head coach, Matt Salter.
Although the blog picture is a mock up I have (reluctantly!) agreed to dust off the old boots and take the field again albeit under the proviso that I shall only play if we have injuries. We will see!
For me, the fit with Clifton is absolutely perfect. There is a strong ambition for the club to climb the leagues and I hope to be instrumental in this. Training takes place on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which is perfect for me, as I will continue to run Bell Financial Services the rest of the working week.
Although, banks lending policies are still pretty stringent there are still some great rates about and it’s up to me to find them for you!
If you are out of your tie in period, buying a house, looking to consolidate debts, making home improvements or just looking to see if there is a better rate with lower payments then please call. I would love to help and all advice is FREE!