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I questioned my desire to continue playing football

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Chris Jardine | 20:25 UK time, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The difference in my team's performance from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon brings the words chalk and cheese to mind.

Our 2-1 defeat at home to Albion Rovers last week ranks with one of our worst performances since we came in to the Scottish Football League.

Three days later and we have comfortably defeated Berwick - a team we previously couldn't buy a win against - 2-0 on their own patch. Football certainly is a funny old game.

Once again, I have to commend our manager, Harry Cairney, for the way he dealt with our defeat. Personally, I'm not a fan of dissecting a performance immediately after the game, but perhaps at our level we don't get the time to do it any other way.

You can get too carried away with a victory and, similarly, things can be said in the heat of the moment after a defeat; I've been involved in both scenarios.

Harry sat us down for half an hour and calmly asked us questions of ourselves. Why were we so poor? Why was there a lack of hunger and desire?

The questions went on and they were so difficult to answer. Certainly, I couldn't because I just didn't know. Hopefully, it was just a one-off because it's just not normal to have so many players under-performing at the same time.

Harry also asked us to use the days before our next game to ask ourselves questions about our performance and what we could have done better. Although I can't speak for everyone, I can assure you that is exactly what I did.


On nights like last Wednesday, I question whether I think I can continue playing at SFL level for much longer - and, to be honest, I ask if I really want to. My girlfriend, Laura, lives in Aberdeen just now and, without the football, it would be so much easier to see each other.

My work also means that I'm lucky if I get one night every two weeks to myself. That, as well as some of the shouts you get from the sidelines at Galabank, often makes me think about finishing.

I don't want anyone to think I'm feeling hard done-by, but it's just these nights that get me thinking this way. And, the funny thing is, and I was talking to Laura about this in our four hours together in Edinburgh on Sunday, I just wanted the best for the team.

I would have happily accepted my poor performance for an Annan victory, but the fact of the matter was my poor performance affected the team and I contributed to our poorest performance of the season and probably beyond.

I spoke to my Uncle Andrew on Friday night, as I always do, and he asked me about our chances the next day and if I would be playing. Once again, I doubted whether I would start, purely because any of us, with the exception of one or two, could have no complaints if we were sitting on the bench or worse.

What I did tell him was that I really hoped I was playing because I felt very confident in myself and the rest of the players and I felt that we would answer all the questions put to us by the manager as well as any we had put to ourselves.

As it turned out, I was just about on the money. It wasn't necessarily our best performance of the season, but it was possibly our most professional.

We followed our game plan. We got ourselves into a great position at half time with our 2-0 lead and did the right things in the right areas of the park in the second half and it allowed us to kill the game. Harry only had to make substitutions because players were tiring on Saturday, whereas the previous Wednesday he could have picked a name from a hat.

Finally, a great one-liner from that uncle I was talking about earlier. My Papa Richie was watching Jeff Stelling and co on Saturday afternoon when it popped up that I had just put us 1-0 up after 11 minutes.

So, my Papa picks up the phone right away and asks my Uncle if he is watching Sky 405 and, if not, to turn it over because Chris has just scored for Annan. My Uncle Andrew's reply: "Aye, its okay Dad, don't worry, they will correct it in a minute." Even I laughed!


  • Comment number 1.

    You should talk to people around you, and maybe listen to advice from people at an higher level. People are always around to talk about problems to and if your hearts not in it, then you should weigh up your options.

    Look at Stephen Carr, was sick of the site of football, had 7 months out to himself and got back in the game after falling back in love with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    ESR - my heart is definately in it and I've never even been close to falling out of love with football, I can't see that ever happening. I appreciate what you are saying however, and whenever things have been difficult in the past I do lean on those closest to me. I think the fact that I had the desire to rectify things after the Albion Rovers game proved something to myself.

  • Comment number 4.

    Maybe you should stop playing, If your going to moan about playing at a level some people only dream about. I imagine getting older and not likely to play at a higher standard than you are now, would get you down especially if your living along way from your Girlfriend. It might be better to keep playing football but for fun and spend more time Laura.
    Otherwise Man up and keep on giving your team 100%, if your still getting in the first 11 why are you moaning you can't be playing that bad!

  • Comment number 5.

    Excellent blog Chris

    I think though you have answered half of your question - you still have the heart. Now you must find out if you are good enough to continue playing at that level.

  • Comment number 6.

    Read your blog every week and enjoy it. Hope you keep playing as long as can. Another good result this weekend.

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks for the comments as always.
    #4 - Man up? Forgive me if you think I'm moaning but all I was trying to do was show how your feelings can alter from one game to the next. After a defeat and a bad performance you question yourself but then my determination and performance the following game answered those questions in the right way.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nice to read your thoughts and I read everytime you post but never comment.

    I have got a few mates who play in the SFL and and few who play SPL and the mood is different after a win and a loss but the difference between them is massive.

    There is a major difference making a living from football and playing it because you love it, so I can understand your feelings after a bad loss with the performance to boot.

    Keep your chin up as I am sure you will not agree but many fancied Annan to struggle this year but you have been there or there about.

    Keep working hard and it will pay off for you, life always gives you something back when you give it something in return so just wait for it!

    Might be nex years cups with a tasty trip to Edinburgh or Glasgow!

    Good luck for the season, string a few results and the play offs are not that far away.

  • Comment number 9.




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