Everyone’s Getting Hitched

Not been a lot of great blogging material knocking about recently on the sporting front which is why I’ve been as quiet as John Darwin lately. Was at my friend Esther’s wedding over the weekend and had a good few days away despite me cocking up and forgeting to take my rail card to the station – we got there eventually though. I’ve been to about 5 or 6 wedding dos this year which is a hell of a lot of free cake, I guess I’m at that age where lots of friends are getting married, oh to be young and carefree again – well, some people would probably say I’m still carefree. It was a perfect day for Esther and Paul, with beautiful weather and a beautiful setting – bring on the next wedding.

Here’s some guff:

I knew how to touch you,
before I touched you.
The time we spend together,
always feels like new.
I knew I would love you,
before I fell in love with you.
The distance between us,
always feels too far.
I know when I see you,
I want to be where you are.

Losing It

There’ll be no singing today,
just rejoicing in what could have been.

Haven’t updated the blog since last week, so I’ll tell you I threw 31.70 at Gateshead last Wednesday, which I was quite pleased with considering I didn’t really prepare for the competition. To say I didn’t prepare is a massive understatement actually, if anything I anti-prepared for it, so to get 5 throws over 30 metres is very encouraging. By the way,  if you’re wondering why there’s been a lack of twitter updates from me, it’s because I’ve been locked out of my acount for some reason (probably because of all the crap I put on there), worry not though I’ll be back on as soon as I can be bothered to sort it out.

Been taking a keen interest in the World Athletics Championships, well it is my profession after all. As usual I’ve been thoroughly annoyed and frustrated at the BBC’s coverage, I’m sure they’ve got more pundits and commentators than there are actual athletes competing. Anyway, the little bits of action that they have let us watch have been very good. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of dejavu when watching Tyson Gay jumping with disappointment after finishing second in the 100 metres, his situation was very similar to mine in Beijing. Gay produce the performance of his life but was well second, like me he’s done better performances in wind, but in a major that was his best. I could see his mixed emotions after the race, it is hard to take defeat when you  perform so well. I did think the only chance he had was for Bolt to have a bad start but Bolt actually had arguably the best start. No doubt Gay will be feeling both very proud and very down at the moment, and that’s simply because he was the World Champion and as a champion you have to believe your best performance will be good enough to win, when its not then its a huge blow in terms of confidence and pride. It will be easier for Isinbayeva to get over her defeat as she put in a terrible performance, so motivation to improve will be high, and although it will hurt her, it should be easy to move on. When you are so close to the edge of your best performance its difficult to find ways to come back and improve.

I know it took me a long time to get over being beat in Beijing, even though I was delighted with the performance and silver medal, it is just like being punched in the stomach. But all the best athletes love challenges and like proving people wrong, even if they say they don’t.

Still no news on the hip, you’ll know as soon as I do.

Getting There

I am officially getting there now after my best throw of this year at Stoke Manderville on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day in the Aylesbury sunshine, only the second time I’ve competed in good weather this year, and probably the first time this year I’ve gone into a competition with confidence and actually looked forward to throwing, mainly thanks to some technical changes we’ve been working on. I also discovered recently that I’d been unintentionly taking too many painkillers, which is always good to know. I had good preparation for this competition which I only decided to enter at short notice, apart from eating a toffee and banana muffin, which I discovered doesn’t digest very quickly before throwing. My indigestion didn’t restrict me too much though, I threw about the same as my second longest throw in Beijing (33.18), still I thought I had more than the 33.16 in me, but at least I showed I’m in the 33m shape that I’ve been claiming. Will be having a few more comps this season before calling it a day, possibly starting with Gateshead this Wednesday.

Competition Playlist:

Honey – Mariah Carey
Harrison Moses – The Hype Foundation
Let Me Be Your Fantasy – Baby D
Big Love – Pete Heller
Stay – Sash!
Don’t Stop Believing – Starship
Pretty Green Eyes – Ultrabeat
The Beautiful Ones – Mariah Carey
Got ‘Til It’s Gone  – Janet Jackson
The Bouncer – Klaxons
Phony Rappers – A Tribe Called Quest
To Lose My Life – White Lies
MCs Act Like They Don’t Know – KRS One
Break and Enter – The Prodigy


There was a good saying/quote I heard on TV the other night – If you are suffering then thank God, because you are still alive. It struck a cord with me, especially with all the suffering going on recently from the recession to swine flu, and personally with my hip, NUFC’s circus, and the deaths of two friends of mine – Bobby Robson and Joanne Pye.

Sadly Joanne died on Sunday and like Sir Bobby she had more than her fair share of suffering, mainly because of the pain that was a result of her condition. Dying at the tender age of 30 is the greatest shame, but those 30 years were filled to the brim. I’d known Joanne most of my life, mainly through supporting NUFC, she followed them home and away and had a great affiliation with the club. We went to Northumbria University at the same time and shared most lunch times together. Joanne was a great example to disabled people of how to get on with life despite the challenges, she over-achieved way beyond her potential and never stopped living her life even at the very lowest points of suffering. She graduated and went on to get a masters, she learnt to drive and drove her own car until pain became too much and she had to take morphine. Joanne will be greatly missed.

I’m still suffering with my hip but I’m going down to see the Professor at the beginning of September to sort out whether I’m having surgery or not. Meanwhile, I’m competing in the BWAA Nationals on Saturday at Stoke Manderville, could be my last comp this year so wanna go out with a bang.

A Few Words for Bobby

Image031I’ve had the weekend to reflect on the death of Sir Bobby Robson on Friday. It was very sad to lose such a great man who touched so many people’s lives all around the world – this was overwhelmingly evident when I visited St. James’ Park yesterday (Sunday), the popularity of the man is something to be cherished and to take comfort from. The pictures with this post show the extraordinary temporary shrine that has and still is being amassed at the Leazes End of St. James’ Park, I took some of the pictures myself which is why they’re artistically angled.

Even in death you could still feel Bobby’s presence and his infectious personality shone through in every testimony, picture and message. With his generosity and humility I could imaging Bobby looking on from above and wondering what all the fuss was about. Of all the endearing qualities that Bobby had, the one that stood out for me was the way he made everyone feel special, and that is why he was one of the greatest coaches of all time, he had a great working ethos even up until his very last days – It was typical of him that he fulfilled his last public engagement before he passed away, ever willing to put others before himself and that is something that we should all learn from.Image035

I met Sir Bobby many times after he belatedly took the helm at NUFC, he was always interested in my career and was surprisingly knowledgeable about my sport. I shouldn’t have expected any less but I know all too well that many top sports people are very blinkered and single-minded, however Bobby quite uniquely combined being successful in sport with being utterly approachable and like able. His wife Elsie would always say that she never saw him because when he wasn’t working he was out doing appearances and attending events.

Image034Maybe the one regret I, like many Geordies, have is that we didn’t get to spend more time with Bobby at the helm of his beloved Newcastle United, and I’m sure Bobby regrets the way it ended as does everyone involved. The tragic state of the club today makes a mockery of sacking Bobby, it was a cruel ending, one that least befitted Bobby’s character, and both fans and players alike should hold their hands up to being a part of that cruel demise. However Bobby set an example of not dwelling on the bad things in life and he will be remembered best by me for building a team that took us right back to the top of European football, and he gave me the best experience of my footballing life in the San Siro when we battered a top-class Inter Milan side and unluckily came out with a 2-2 draw – one word, marvellous!

The loss of Bobby is immensely sad, but we must take inspiration from his life and the way he approached every challenge. I’ve had quite a challenge to throw a club very far since Crystal Palace, I competed last Wednesday and threw 29.10m but it was a bit of a write-off as I felt terrible. Have been taking it a bit easier and am feeling better. I’m chucking at the BWAA Nationals on Saturday and am looking forward to it – I’m just taking it one competition at a time until I hear something about my hip. Meanwhile, hear’s a couple of pics of me with the BBC’s Tony Garrett at Crystal Palace.