Captain’s Corner: Operations, holidays and quality football
In the first of a new series, South Shields captain Jon Shaw speaks to supporters through a website blog. Expect to see Jon’s thoughts in Captain’s Corner throughout the coming season.
Firstly, hi everyone, hope you’re all having a great summer.
The season finished what seems like an age ago and most of the lads will tell you, the first week or two are a nice break and rest to recharge but boredom soon sets in, and on a Saturday afternoon we quickly start to miss the games and that winning feeling at five o’clock.
The summer has been non-stop for me so far. Before the season finished I had a bit of trouble where I played the final two games with a tear in my groin brought on by what I was convinced was – and what it was later diagnosed as – a hernia. It was the third of my career so between me and Andy Morris, we knew if we could control the pain we could get through the season and I wasn’t wanting to miss a minute of a run-in where we could win another title. Although I had to miss two of the games I was happy to be able to play a part of those fantastic moments with the club. As soon as the season finished I was able to see a specialist, who confirmed the hernia and booked my op for June 12. That gave me a few weeks to work hard on my fitness and in the gym so that I didn’t lose too much fitness for the start of pre-season, which I’m hoping I won’t miss more than a week of. I’m recovering well – I’m up and about and starting the rehab process.
Between all this, work has continued at Monkseaton and I also managed to get away for a week’s holiday with our close family and friends to Brac Island, off Croatia, to renew my wedding vows with my wife Victoria, 10 years to the day from the first time round. As most men openly admit, Vic deserves a medal for putting up with the football lifestyle which with me has involved many a house move, pre-seasons and long weekends away travelling. It was a perfect break, lovely hotel, great company, great weather, and for our kids to be there for that kind of day made it extra special.
We’ve now seen the start of the World Cup, which for the first time my kids are really excited about. I had to buy a Barcelona kit for Max (5) because of Messi and a Brazil kit for Jack (8) because of Neymar. Neither are too bothered about England. I’ve also had to explain why Barca don’t play in the World Cup as well! After a relatively routine and slow start, I’m sure most of you watched Ronaldo vs Spain. What an unbelievable standard the game was played at, tactically interesting, individual brilliance from players like Isco and some outrageous goals. Ronaldo seems to have to continue to prove himself and I’m sure he closed a few mouths whilst also making a few jaws drop but surely no one is surprised by him nowadays. I’m not sure the World Cup will produce another game of the same standard, but it’s whet the appetite and set the bar high.
I’ll finish with South Shields. Julio’s retirement is tough for the lads, fans and everyone associated with the club to deal with but he’s always going to be one of the biggest parts of recent history. His ability, attitude and mostly personality will be massively missed. I’m sure he’ll be at Mariners plenty in the near future watching us hopefully continue the success and momentum he helped build. Obviously, with this I was extremely proud to be named captain and as I’ve said before I’m now itching to get back fully fit and go again. The club has already made three great signings from Darlington and they bring lots of experience of success at our current level, which is so valuable. One of those brought in is a former team-mate of mine from Gateshead and local lad, Phil Turnbull. Phil could be the signing of the season. He’ll bring a great passing range and a confidence and ability to have the ball anywhere on the pitch, which suits the way Lee and Graham want us to play, so I’m looking forward to playing with him again albeit from a different perspective than when I played with him before as a striker.
There’s still plenty of summer ahead and an exciting pre-season programme which I’ll talk about next time round. Enjoy the next few weeks of the World Cup.