Where's Your Caravan?: 20 Seasons in the Lower Leagues
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Forget Torres, Rooney, Beckham and the like. This is what football is really about. One man's story of a career in the lower leagues. Chris Hargreaves has been a professional footballer for twenty years.
Having started out as a youth team player at Everton he made his debut for Grimsby Town in 1989 and was earmarked as their first million pound sale. It never happened. Instead he went on to play for Scarborough, Hull City, West Brom, Hereford United, Plymouth Argyle, Northampton Town, Brentford, Oxford United and Torquay United.
Where's Your Caravan? is the sort of football memoir we don't see enough of these days - an account of life in the lower leagues. It takes us from his wild youth - lots of sex and drugs and drink - through to domesticated family man - school runs and flatpack furniture with plenty of football in between.
Rosenthal, an Oxford United fan and TV presenting royalty, sorted tickets for us to watch Joe Calzaghe fight. He was fighting Mikkel Kessler, a brute of a man, at the Manchester Evening News Arena; it would be a full house, and we would be front row with Phil Taylor, Lennox Lewis and whoever else was there to see Calzaghe at work. It turned out to be a brilliant fight, going all the way to the death, and ending with victory for the relentless Calzaghe. The night out afterwards was truly epic – it
room late one night during after-hours ‘activities’, the poor girl will be scarred for life – don’t get me wrong we are not swinging from the chandeliers every night, but for a little girl, God only knows what the repercussions could be! An old mate of mine once told me that his son had walked in on him and his wife while he was in a certain position. The little boy asked why daddy was kissing mummy ‘there’, and quickly received a shocked and flustered reply of, ‘Oh, no, I’m just kissing Mummy
is that proper retirement at thirty-five would be no fun, would it? Surely it would be boring trying to fill the day (what with holidays abroad, time spent on the yacht and wining and dining!)? I am getting philosophical here, but don’t they say that you spend most of your life rushing around, only to spend the remainder wondering what to do with the time you have on your hands. Well, imagine if you had to fill even more time, having retired at thirty-five. Tony suggested that the next Sunday
I mentioned earlier in the book that I have finally cut my mane off for good. It was a moment of real clarity. My neighbour Amanda (whose house is home to our daughter for most of the time, as her boyfriend, Will, lives there) is a hairdresser, and after having a chat one afternoon, we decided it was time. I had finished playing football, and couldn’t get away with that haircut for much longer. Amanda did a great job with both the haircut and the therapy needed for me to go through with the
merchants. Everyone nodded, but on the Wednesday of the next week Brian was sacked. Although I felt as if I had let him down on the pitch, we did have the same opinions on a lot of areas of the game, and I was one hundred per cent behind him with tactics, advice, and support. In fact, I think I would have been of more use to him as an assistant manager that season than his captain! He pulled me in on Monday morning and after engaging in a bit of banter that, as usual, brought me to tears of