Apologies to those dedicated readers for the delay in this edition,
Summer time for a football player can either be the best time of year, or the worst time of year. If you have a contract and know that you are getting paid whilst on holiday, plus you also know you will go back to pre season with your club then you can have a good holiday and relax whilst you recharge the batteries. On the other hand, if you have been released at the end of the season it is a time to worry about your bank balance and fitness while you try and sort out a new club for the new season.
Last time i was out of contract I had 3 weeks of doing nothing in July except golf, sunbathing(yes it was sunny) and keeping fit before my agent got me into training at Falkirk for a trial. This year however i found out from the manager back in May so I have had time to think about everything in my life. Self doubt is a major problem that I'm sure a lot of players suffer with at this time of year. I like to think I have had an 'ok' career so far, and that teams will be interested, but when days go by without the phone ringing it can be hard. There is always a relief when a manager phones you, no matter what level it is at, and tells you he is interested. It makes you feel better, and you know that you can start getting on with your own fitness and mentally preparing for a new season wherever you decide to go.
It is never easy being out of any job, but in Scottish football at the moment it is very difficult to get a contract anywhere, unless you are willing to take a pay cut. All clubs in Scotland know the players that are out of contract, it is just a matter of waiting to see if any of them want to contact you, or you can get an agent to contact the clubs directly to see if they are interested. Clubs who are interested in signing you will generally offer you a place to train while you make your mind up.
I decided to go in and train at Stirling just to kick a ball again, but also it was good to see some old friends. It is much easier training somewhere when you know some of the other players, and in Stirling there is DC, Fez, Junior, Joe and big Jordan(all footballers have some sort of nickname). Football is strange in that you see your teammates every day, become very close friends with them then suddenly you leave, and most of them never see you again. Only 1 or 2 in each dressing room will really remain friends after, which i always find strange, but I guess you can't be friends with everyone. As my old manager KB used to say, "There is no fu*****friends in this fu***** game, just acquaintances.", he liked to swear a lot.
As a massive sport fan I have to admit to being pretty emotional last week when Andy Murray won Wimbledon. He is so dedicated to being the best at what he does that he is an inspiration to everyone. He works as hard as any sportsmen out there and deserves every credit and trophy that he gets. On top of that he is a proper Scotsman in that he hates England and loves supporting everyone else. I know he is slightly hated by some for his 'boring' personality, but he is a tennis player, who entertains us on the court with some unbelievable play and he doesn't need to humour us off it.
Ok, so I am aware the most Scottish people find cricket extremely boring, especially the long form of the game, but I love watching the Ashes and hoping that England will lose. Unfortunately nowadays the Aussies aren't quite what they used to be so England will win it this year, and what a fantastic trophy it is to win. I only really learned about 10 years ago that it was the ashes of some old stumps from back in the day. I always presumed it was some old player who had their ashes up for grabs every 2/3 years. I know my big mate Matt will be a keen viewer and I thank him for igniting my interest in the game of cricket. Plus i get to watch him down Poloc cricket club whilst sitting in the sun enjoying a bbq and a game of donkey with my old mates. You can't beat it!