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Looking good - 28/01/2003

Looking good
With Alan Shearer and Rob Lee at the 2001 SAGE Festival
   Daniel Higginbotham
   Malcolm Christie
   Chris Riggott

It was good to get three away points at Stoke and since then, we’ve had a quite a few days to prepare for the Rotherham game. Everyone at the club has had a few days off and I really think the break has been very beneficial. We’ve had a hectic season and with matches due to come thick and fast, it’s a sensible move for all concerned to away and re-charge the batteries.

We’ve got something to prove to Rotherham, after going 1-0 up at Millmoor in August they came back to beat us. They’re a well organised side and the front two are doing very well, but we feel that on our day we can beat anyone and I’d like to think that we’ll put in a good shift and get a reward.

The transfer window, as yet, doesn’t seem to resulted in the talked about moves of Malcolm Christie, Chris Riggott, or Danny Higginbotham. As a player I’m very happy about that. With so many games played in the Nationwide,a large squad is so important. At present the club’s financial situation seems to be quite stable. It’s good, and reassuring, to see that the men behind the money have been coming to games and giving support to their team. They’re certainly not here to asset strip and the fact that we’re not in a Leeds Utd situation where players have to be sold is really good news.

Talking of the fans, their support has been brilliant. I’m being honest when I say that the season hasn’t gone to plan. The players expectations were similar to the supporters when the season started – we wanted to bounce straight back up in an automatic position. This hasn’t happened and although we’re paid to play our football, supporters have to dig deep to find the cash to support. No disrespect to Gillingham, but when we get nearly 23,000 fans turning up, you wonder what would happen if we’d been challenging for the title!

On a more personal front I’m very happy to report that the SAGE UK Youth Cup is going very well. We’re aiming to put on the best youth football tournament in the country – if not the world. The Sage UK Youth Cup is a nationwide soccer tournament for junior clubs and schools. Teams enter the tournament and compete in a regional final. There are three regional events that take place over the Easter weekend at Keele University in Staffordshire, Royal Holloway University on the outskirts of London and Hull University in Yorkshire. The age group winners from the regional finals are invited to a National Final which is part of the larger Sage Soccer Festival. They then compete for the title of National Champions – this takes place in Durham City between Wednesday 23rd and Sunday 27th July 2003. Any one playing or involved in youth football can find more information on the SAGE web site

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