Anglian Home Improvements sponsored football star Stephen Hughes writes about his eventful October both in domestic and international football;
“Hello and welcome to my second blog.
October has been a bizarre month for me personally, while preparing for the trips to Gillingham and Carlisle, I received a call-up for Scotland and found myself flying out to Japan – but more on that later.
I have been at Norwich City now for just over three months and when you first sign for a club, it is always important to settle into the area and the team and I think I’ve settled in well to Norwich – it’s a lovely city.
I’ve moved clubs three times now in my career so I know what to expect. It always helps to settle into a new area and surroundings when you have your family with you. Unfortunately though, my family are still up in Scotland, my wife was going to come down to go to the UEA but couldn’t get in so she’s still in Scotland with our son. They try and get down when they can and I try to get back up as much as possible to see them. As a footballer you get quite a bit of free time so it is good to have your family around but it is something I have just had to get on with.
The lads are a great bunch and when I first joined I stayed in a hotel and I think at one point there were seven of us staying there so it was good that I could socialise with them and get to know them away from the training ground. We got to know each other pretty well, pretty quickly.
It also helps to settle into a new club when you know somebody and I knew Simon Lappin from the time he spent on loan at Motherwell and he showed me around the place and the city.
Obviously there was a change of manager shortly after I signed and it is something that has happened before, but I believe that if you are good enough and work hard enough when the new manager comes in he will see that. It is just down to yourself to show you’re good enough to merit a place in the team.
Playing for Scotland against Japan in Yokohama was a proud moment for me. I turn 27 next month, which is quite late to win your first cap. Maybe if I had won my first cap at 18, I might have had a few more but obviously I’ve had to wait a long time. I had been in a few squads before with Scotland, I think my first call-up to the full side was maybe eight or nine years ago, I was on the bench but never got on. Also I have probably missed out on two or three occasions after that through injury, where I have had to pull out of the squad.
The gaffer told me before the Gillingham game in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on the Tuesday night, he said that Scotland had been on the phone and what were my thoughts? I hadn’t played a lot of football recently because I was out injured so I was delighted to receive the opportunity to go and play for my country and with the gaffer having captained Scotland as a player in his day he understood my decision. It was a long trip but certainly worth it to be involved with the national team again.
It took 12 or 13 hours to get there and I think Japan is eight hours ahead of here so I kept waking up at five or six o’clock in the morning and was tired in the afternoon. We were only there for three days so it wasn’t long and I managed to sleep on the plane on the way back so quickly got back in UK mode.
The Leeds result was disappointing both in the manner of the last minute goal and because we had played so well, but that is football. I’m often asked about televised matches and whether you are aware you’re on TV – but as soon as you’re on the pitch, you forgot about everything surrounding the game like the cameras and are solely focused on winning the game and getting the three points.
Elland Road, like Carrow Road, is a fantastic stadium to play in. I prefer the old fashioned stadiums to the new builds, they always seem to have a better atmosphere. I can’t really put on my finger on why as it is still a stadium at the end of the day but it just seems to be better playing there.
The City fans were magnificent that night as they are been every time we play away. We get a massive support, which is great and you can always hear them singing whoever we play against. Some teams when they play away are lucky if they can fill a bus, so I think we are extremely lucky to have the level of support and passionate support we do”.
Anglian Home Improvements. Supporting local teams like Norwich City FC since 1966.