Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Blackpool v Portsmouth: Digital Fatigue

To help me cope mentally during this tough year, I’ve created structure and routine. During the week, I wake up naturally around 0830, start work at 0900, drink fruit / herbal / green tea all morning, have lunch at 1200 and play Alexa’s Riddle of the Day, drink pop at work all afternoon, have tea at 1700, write or study for a few hours (interspersed with Corrie three nights a week), then settle down for a few hours of Netflix around 2100, before retiring to bed at midnight. On Friday and Saturday nights we watch a Christmas movie. On Saturday and Sunday, I spend up to eight hours writing, studying or working on football content.

Dear reader, I’m exhausted. This happened during the first lockdown, too. I’m missing the fresh air and the relaxation and the pubs and the laughter with friends old and new and the cold terraces and the break from the screens. I have deliberately cut back on the projects I’m working on, but working full time, studying part time, writing a book, keeping this blog going and hosting twice-weekly YouTube livestreams is beginning to take its toll. It’s frustrating because I truly enjoy it all, but my body is screaming at me to STOP!!!

I now find myself sleeping for up to 12 hours a night, eating ravenously, becoming exhausted doing the slightest thing, with headaches and a burning pain between my shoulder blades. I was shaking violently after a short interview for Radio Lancashire last night. I need a break and I can’t wait for Christmas to bring one.

We did find the time to get the house decked up for Christmas on Sunday, though, which is helping to perk me up somewhat.

Festive Forky

Blackpool v Portsmouth

Tuesday nights bring a welcome change to the usual routine because there is football (albeit still on a screen for now). We were nervous about tonight’s match because our opponents were towards the top of the table and unbeaten away from home. Just how good were we really? We were about to find out…

The team was much changed once again as Critch continues to fully utilise his squad to keep the players fit and happy as well as selecting the right team for the opposition. The Goal Machine was rested tonight; how would we fare without him?

The key man tonight was Keshi Anderson, who seemed to be at the centre of every move. He still needs to work on his sharpness in front of goal but I am confident that any football-related glitches can be ironed out by our strong coaching staff. Indeed, Keshi it was who broke the deadlock in the 64th minute with a beautifully-crafted matchwinning goal: CJ sprinting down the right, delivering a pinpoint cross, a feint from Jerry Yates and the ball hammered home by Keshi.

Dear reader, the football is good. Tonight’s match was an absolute joy to watch. We don’t have as much possession as we did earlier on in the season (when we were struggling to score and win) – but, vitally, we make our time on the ball count for something now. We’re looking composed at the back; Big Marv Ekpiteta is one of the classiest centre halves I’ve seen in a long time. Kenny Dougall is an industrious warrior in the middle of the park. In CJ and Kaikai we have two of the outstanding players in the division who I wouldn’t swap for anyone else. They must strike terror into the hearts of opponents.

We’ve now won seven out of our last eight matches, which is outstanding form. But we learn more from defeats than we do from victories and must continually strive to improve. The way this team capitulated to lose from being 2-0 up against Donny last week leads me to question their resilience. Sure, we’re great when we are in control of the match and drawing or leading; and we don’t concede many goals because we are strong at the back. But does this team have the tenacity and mental toughness to dig deep and claw its way back from a losing position? Once we have that mastered, I have no doubt that team will be ready to take the step up. And we will get there.

Here’s a link to the magnificent Mitch Cook’s Left Foot’s blog / match report, which tells it exactly as it was.

Here’s our reaction to the night’s events as they happened:

Next stop Fleetwood (twice!). That virtual pub crawl will be challenging but you know I’ll make it a good’un! Meanwhile, here’s me on Radio Lancashire last night (from 10m 15s).

UTMP.

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