Looking good - 28/01/2003

Looking good
With Alan Shearer and Rob Lee at the 2001 SAGE Festival

It was good to get three away points at Stoke and since then, weve 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. Weve had a hectic season and with matches due to come thick and fast, its a sensible move for all concerned to away and re-charge the batteries.

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

The transfer window, as yet, doesnt seem to resulted in the talked about moves of Malcolm Christie, Chris Riggott, or Danny Higginbotham. As a player Im very happy about that. With so many games played in the Nationwide,a large squad is so important. At present the clubs financial situation seems to be quite stable. Its good, and reassuring, to see that the men behind the money have been coming to games and giving support to their team. Theyre certainly not here to asset strip and the fact that were 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. Im being honest when I say that the season hasnt 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 hasnt happened and although were 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 wed been challenging for the title!

On a more personal front Im very happy to report that the SAGE UK Youth Cup is going very well. Were 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 www.sagesoccerfestival.com

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