With less than five weeks to go before kick off in the Onagawa Cup, both squads are marking their second month of intending to get fit. Here’s Dave Jameson (pictured with the FA Vase) from the Northern League Fans’ team and Michael Hudson from the Writers’ squad on what they’ve been up to so far.
What kind of shape were you in when you agreed to take part on July 9th?
Michael: Not good. The last proper running I’d done was up and down the Potemkin Steps in Odessa around April and May last year (fortunately, there were no prams or Tsarist troops about at the time).
Dave: I can still kick a ball but my fitness isn’t anything near what it used to be. That said, it didn’t take me long to agree to take part on July 9th. In my mind, I drop slightly deep, play a one two with Robbo before feeding Paul Chow. Chow shoots, the keeper parries and I rifle the rebound into the top corner after covering every single blade of grass on the pitch. Twice. Chowie whispers something in Ian Chandler’s ear…then I left the house and tested my fitness by going for a run after work. Oh dear.
What training have you done so far?
Michael: Running three or four times a week, either along the seafront at South Shields or a slightly less scenic route that goes up and down the side of a dual carriageway. I’m up to around five miles per run with 10-15 kilometres on an exercise bike in the morning. I also bought my first pair of football boots since I was about 12. Have worn them once.
Dave: I’ve been out for a couple of exploratory runs and enjoyed a cheeky game of 11-a-side – my first in over a year. Any hopes of building fitness through trampolining in the garden hit the skids when I almost broke my neck attempting a somersault last week.
Are you planning to step things up before the 9th?
Michael: If my legs agree, then yes. I’ve started playing football on Wednesday nights with some other post-grad students at Newcastle University. So far I’ve scored two goals and learnt the Arabic for ‘Pass’ and ‘Give me the ball’.
Dave: I’ll be inviting myself to friends’ midweek 5-a-side games, and maybe taking a temporary gym membership. I’ll be stepping up the running now that my legs have recovered but I think I’m going to focus on being “match fit” and “ball sharp” rather than being a paragon of physical fitness. We’ll see how it goes over the coming weeks but the excitement is building day by day.