New arrival at start of a long, hard season
Hello again to everyone and welcome back to my column. I have been very lucky and privileged to be asked to write my views for another season, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed concocting it last year.
I was hoping to start at the beginning of the season, but due to very important family reasons I was otherwise engaged.
As I am sure you are all aware, my beautiful wife gave birth to our first child on Sunday, August 25, at 10.05pm.
Our little man Finnley was a result of a very difficult birth for both himself and Alex but they are both doing well now, if not a little tired.
Free consultation for thread/spider vein, mole, skin tag and wart...View details
Free consultation for thread/spider vein, mole, skin tag and wart removal
Contact: 01803 221072
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Nothing in life can ever prepare you for the birth of your first child, and I really did not think I could ever have any more love and respect for my wife until she gave us our little man.
He was born at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, so he is a proper Exeter boy, born and bred. Like I said, the birth was not quite straightforward, but the level of care we received by everyone at the hospital was nothing short of outstanding.
I would like to say a huge thank you to them for getting Finnley out safely and looking after Alex with great attention and care.
As all first-time parents know, as soon as you get your child home, your life changes forever.
It has certainly been fun in the last couple of weeks but I am under no illusions as to how difficult it is going to be in finding the right balance between being a good parent and staying fit and focused on my job.
As my parents have always said, all you can ever do in life is your best and that is certainly what I will try to do.
Alex is already proving to be an absolutely perfect mum and I can only watch in awe at how she manages to keep our house together after a very traumatic birth.
We have received many gifts from everyone associated with the club, ranging from the ladies who provide us lunch at the Cat and Fiddle, the commercial department at the ground and many fans that I have become close to over the course of my time here.
Both Alex and myself have been both surprised and deeply touched at the kindness shown by everyone but, then again, I shouldn't be too surprised as that is all anyone has ever shown us since we first arrived in Devon.
It has been well documented that I did not travel to Morecambe due to not wanting to miss the birth.
It was a decision I did not take likely.
It is the first time I have missed a game for personal reasons in my entire career and I have missed both my brothers' weddings (quite why they could not have their weddings in the off season I will never know, very selfish if you ask me!).
I know it put the manager in a very difficult position but I will be forever grateful to Paul Tisdale for being understanding and for allowing me to stay home.
So here we are again, another season of football that will, no doubt, be full of discussion, full of debate, have some ups and invariably, some downs.
Whatever the season brings, all we can hope for as a member of the Exeter City family is a season that shows progression from the previous one, everyone giving 100% for the cause, a little bit of luck and, fingers crossed, some success.
It is a long old season and we are in a very difficult league, but there is no reason why we cannot go one step further than last year and threaten at least the play-offs.
Last season was a steep learning curve for everyone involved and I am sure we will draw from that experience and use it to help us with the current campaign.
Ingredients have been added in the summer with the signings of Sam Parkin and Dave Wheeler, influential players are back from injury like Alan Gow, Matt Oakley and Liam Sercombe, and the emergence of another couple of youngsters in Matt Grimes and Matt Jay – added to the mass of talented youngsters already in the squad – means things look pretty healthy.
As I have mentioned, the season is going to be a very tough one and with a young squad, I would not want to put too much expectation or pressure on us, but we have started it well. Long may it continue.