Dressage Dreams and a Goalkeeper’s Regime - Part 5

Now daylight savings time is officially over and the darker evenings draw in, I really sense that the season is well and truly underway. It is fantastic to be able to celebrate a Stoke win in the 4th round of the Capital One cup earlier this week. After the emotionally exhausting rollercoaster of watching Asmir spend 18 months of International duty with Bosnia successfully campaigning for World Cup qualification, I feel I can finally let out a sigh of relief and take a deep breath. 

My family’s focus and mine is now firmly on Stoke’s pre-Christmas schedule. This is always an exciting time of the season for me as I find the International breaks at the beginning of the season to be quite disruptive to the general flow of games and to family life at home. It marks a transition into a more balanced day-to-day existence in our household, especially for our daughter, who most appreciates it as she gets more time with Asmir.

Football – Of the American variety

Asmir and Ryan Shawcross had a rare break last Sunday from the field to be able spectate from the stands at Wembley Stadium to see the NFL teams Jacksonville Jaguars take on the San Francisco 49’ers in a regular season game. Growing up in Tennessee, American Football was a staple sport for my state as football is here in Europe. It is such an American cliché when I think back to me cheerleading at High school football games back in the day with the entire town in attendance, with most Sunday’s afternoons after church spent watching the NFL. 

Ryan and his wife Kath, who were NFL virgins at the time, had no idea what to expect, but I think we’ve turned their attention to the fantastically exciting and sensational production within American sports, particularly the NFL, basketball (NBA) and baseball (MLB). The extensive commercial breaks demanded by the American television channel’s made for great entertainment for the spectators at the game, with the breaks filled with energetic cheers from the lovely Jacksonville cheerleaders to their ‘streaking’ mascot that had 85,000 fans in fits of giggles! 

Kath and I bumped into comedian Jack Whitehall and we shamelessly asked for a photo (not a common occurrence as it’s usually our husbands that are being asked for the photo’s), whist having a good chat about Stoke and Jack being an Arsenal fan. We were treated to a short impromptu performance too rude to repeat here but certainly had Kath and I laughing! Jack was in the press not so long ago talking about his interest in Dressage and his desire to try it- perhaps there’s something I can arrange and let you all know how that goes? 


It is always very poignant when Southampton plays at Stoke as I spent much of my youth in Southampton, surrounded by loyal Saint’s fans, with my daily commute to either school or work taking me past St. Mary’s stadium for nearly 10 years. I never had the opportunity to watch a game there but Southampton was my introduction into football long before I met Asmir when he was at Portsmouth. I quickly learned that dating a Portsmouth player whilst studying at Southampton University could raise a few eyebrows, but thankfully it never got me into trouble at the time! It made for great banter with friends who were divided between the local rivalries of the two cities’ teams. Here’s to hoping that the recent goal scoring success continues to gather 3 points today. I feel luck may have been in short supply for Stoke lately, but effort and enthusiasm certainly hasn’t, as was seen at Manchester United last weekend. 

Nicolle x