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Friday, August 19, 2005

Sunderland Diary Part -I

August 11, 2005

I'm waiting in Montreal for the KLM counter to open. It was a good trip, got a road win which everyone thought we couldn't do against Montreal.

The defense played well, Gavin had a great game for the first full one back and we shut down their beast of a forward, I swear this guy's parents must have been a horse and an ox. For those of you who know McKinley Tennyson it was like marking an ugly Canadian version of him. So now I have to leave just as we get our first winning streak for the the greatest opportunity of my life. Hopefully we keep it going and roll into the playoffs.

August 13, 2005

I'm completely full right now, I just got back from dinner with Jon Stead and his family, Chinese food in Newcastle is just a little better than in Portland especially after you watch a premiership match, unfortunately though Sunderland lost 3-1 to Charlton.

The atmosphere alone was amazing 33,000+ fans screaming at the start, Charlton fans chanting talking smack after their goals, hands in the air chests out singing in glory. Sunderland fans yelling screaming cheering singing clapping spitting back, divided only my a few fluorescent security guards and a tunnel leading deeper into the stadium, was by itself worth seeing.

Tomorrow I'm going to walk through Newcastle, the city is only a couple of minutes drive from Sunderland and I'm staying along the Tyne river. I start training on Monday because of the game this weekend so hopefully the jet lag will be out of my system by then. When I arrived I was exhausted, I hadn't slept in 18 hours. The flight from Montreal to Amsterdam was so quick that I didn't have the chance to fall asleep and by the time I landed I was afraid of falling asleep in the airport and missing my connecting flight.

When I finally arrived at the training grounds the team was out on the field so I had the chance to relax in the players lounge. Thirty individual top quality reclining leather chairs facing a 30 inch flat screen tv with pillar speakers on either side, and of course a PlayStation2 mounted in the wall in the back of the room. I spent 4 hours in that room watching sky sports over and over and over again waiting for a ride to the hotel. Because I was trying so hard to stay awake I really couldn't appreciate my surroundings, and by the fourth hour and sixth repeat of analysis I finally started to crash. hopefully on Monday I'll have a better description of their facilities.

August 14, 2005

Another day off, but one day closer until I start training. I went for a 20 minute bike ride this morning down in the gym and mixed in some sit ups with light lifting. Afterward I watched the Arsenal v Newcastle game but missed the second half...damn jet lag got me again. But I was lucky enough to watch the Chelsea v Wigan which was on immediately afterward. So I watched an amazing game where the newly promoted Wigan club held off the premiership champions for 92 minutes with chances of their own to win. But it was that 92nd minute when Crespo unleashed a 23 yard blast that left the entire stadium including myself stunned.

Later that day I went for a walk through the newly developed areas of Newcastle, uphill from my hotel to a bastion of soccer. Like a citadel amongst peasant houses, St. James stadium, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, rose from the city, a futuristic home playing a game centuries its elder. I took a picture, but my camera could only capture a corner of immense size. Hopefully I'll get a chance to walk by on match day.

posted by the timberlog at 2:03 PM

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