|I Would Give Both Arms to Play for Ipswich|
written by Edmunds5 Wednesday, 7th Nov 2012 15:03
“YES, YES, YES!” I yell, with a smile as I clinch my fist. Ipswich are willing to give me a chance!
Sorry, I will let you know what’s been happening. I love football, I’ve played locally but I’ve never really pursued any kind of career in football, its not that I’ve not had the belief, its just I’ve never been scouted or been taken seriously as a footballer before.
I plucked up the courage to go to the training ground at Playford Road. I asked the receptionist rather hopefully if I could meet with the manager Mick McCarthy. After a few standard questions he said yes he will see you after the session, I gave him my name and then sat eagerly in the waiting area.
Around an hour later I heard Mick’s voice from down the corridor and he came towards me. “Hi Mick,” I said, with a tremble as my eyes lit up. “I know this is slightly odd but I really feel I have some potential and would love to be given a chance to show you what I can do."
Mick’s eyebrows rose curiously, he didn’t quite understand what I meant, “You mean you want a trial?” he said. I gulped, and then nodded “OK, we will give you a week, starting tomorrow, we’ll see what you’ve got."
Mick shook my hand before walking off to his car, I stood in shock for a moment before the significance of the opportunity I had been given quickly hit home. I woke up early the next day, with my alarm sounding out an Ipswich song I put on there the previous night.
I packed my stuff, which included a brand new pair of Nike football boots, as well as some new socks and shinpads, before making my way to the training ground. As we all gathered before walking onto the pitch I looked around at some of the faces, feeling daunted and in awe.
Most of the other players seemed relaxed, laughing and joking whilst I stood shaking, feeling pressured as I knew how important this week was for me and how much it would mean to be given a contract.
Training went well, I was pleased with how I did, the manager acknowledged my efforts at the end of the session, “Well done, young man” he said as he patted me on the back. “See you tomorrow,” he added.
This gave me a boost, as I walked home, I was absolutely shattered but none of my family could take me to the ground due to work commitments, and so walking four miles to training was hardly ideal. Slightly stupid in fact, I guess I hadn’t thought that part through but I would give both arms to play for Ipswich.
The next day came, up early again. I paced around the house for a while before glancing at the clock and made my way to training. We all made our way onto the training pitch, I was doing some stretches, and making sure I was feeling sharp for the session ahead.
Michael and Jay were sitting down telling each other jokes before getting to their feet as they saw the manager return from the changing room. Others looked entirely miserable; it was as if they didn’t really want to be there.
After a few hours of hard graft training had finished and I strolled back home, stopping at near-by news agents such was my need for fluids, I’m not sure if it was the right thing but I helped myself to a Double Decker whilst I was at it.
Which reminded me that I could have taken a bus to training but not too worry. In terms of the training I thought I did well again but I just have to hope that the manager is impressed.
The next day was even more gruelling, but still really enjoyable. The squad were going through tactics and the drills were based on defending as a team, it was good to be a part of it and was interesting to see and learn this first hand.
We then had the usual 30-minute match at the end, where I even put in an impeccably timed tackle on Reo-Coker, he didn’t like that, he got up and glanced at me as if to say “Who are you?” but I won possession cleanly and got us on the attack.
Such was my excitement by the current situation, I even played football in the evenings, I would put on my Ipswich kit, kissing the shirt as I put it over my head, I would play with my brother for a while before he got bored, after that I just did keepy ups against the wall before eventually going inside.
My fifth trial day would soon arrive, I was one of the first there along with Scott and Luke as the other players started to drive in. We were practicing set pieces for much of the session.
Some of us trying to lose our marker whilst others were keeping tight to there man, all pretty routine I guess. Fitness work and the usual match followed, I wasn’t doing great until I managed to score near the end which was good.
Post training I sat in the changing rooms talking to a couple of the lads who gave me a bit of advice as I asked a couple of questions. Others left urgently as they sped away in their Bentleys.
Day six was upon me, this was the biggest day and the final day. I knew this was my last chance to make an impression and so almost inevitably I was a bag of nerves.
Conditions were not the easiest, rain was pouring down but I wasn’t going to let the weather stop me. Some of the players covered there sleeves up with there jumpers to try and keep the rain at bay, I rolled mine up.
Terry Connor blew the whistle to signal the end of training, the players headed to the dressing room as Mick told me that he would see me after I had got changed. I took a warm shower and then nervously made my way to the manager’s office before being welcomed in. Mick sat me down before assessing my performances, telling me which areas he felt needed improving and the positive aspects of my game.
After a lengthy discussion the manager came to a conclusion. “I’ve weighed everything up and even though your still raw, I can see the potential in you and feel you can offer us something going forward, but you better work bloody hard,” Mick added in his typical blunt fashion.
My head lifted as I firmly shook the manager’s hand. I then spoke to the CEO Simon Clegg he sat me down, offering me a two-year deal worth £250 a week.
The money wasn’t an issue for me, I just wanted to play for Ipswich and walk out onto the pitch wearing the blue shirt and give the great fans something to cheer about, this was my only wish, I really would give both arms to play for Ipswich. At first Mr Clegg's pen didn’t work but eventually one did and I swiftly signed.
To cap it all off I was then surprisingly told I would be in the squad for Saturday's game against Burnley. It was as if all my Christmases had come at once. I even got a blue marker pen and wrote the clubs initials (ITFC) onto my forehead. I then told my family and rung friends to tell them the news before attempting some sleep before tomorrows game.
It was Saturday and matchday, I got up and went into the bathroom, the initials seemed to have worn off over night, “How did that happen?” I mumbled. I then went into the conservatory where I keep my boots, but they were not the same ones, my new Nike boots had vanished and seemed to have been replaced by my rusty Pumas.
"WHERE ARE MY BOOTS! WHERE ARE MY BOOTS! WHERE ARE MY BOOTS!" I repeated frantically. "AND WHERE ARE MY SHINPADS?"
The whole household woke up in confusion, as the stark realisation set in - me playing for Ipswich really was just a dream.
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