Football, friendship and family Thais

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The story so far: Iffy Onuora, self-described "journeyman striker" turned assistant manager, was sacked by Lincoln City along with gaffer Peter "Jacko" Jackson. Underemployed and overly blessed with spare time, Iffy went east...

Guess who's back? (What do you mean, "We didn’t know you’d gone anywhere"?)

After 10 days exploring all the beauty and richness Thailand has to offer, it’s back to reality now for me and the Better Half, aka The General.

(She really is a frustrated Army chief, such is her love of planning and strategy. Sample quote: “We’ll need to be up at 0800 hours to book the best seats, have our bags checked and to keep our schedule on track.” Me: “It’s just breakfast, love!”)

She’s been to Thailand before so she was a mine of good sense and insight into culture and customs.

I preferred to embark on a quasi eatathon to see how much wonderful cheap Thai food I could eat, while marvelling as to how many massage parlours you can squeeze on to one road.

The answer, in both cases, is "a lot."

Great experience though, from elephant trekking to cuddling with BIG tigers to island-hopping on a boat with the dimensions of a bathtub, it was a great voyage of discovery. Beautiful place, beautiful people.

That said, it was nice to come back – even if the return flight resembled an episode of 70s sitcom Mind Your Language, the plane seemingly chartered for the exclusive use of foreign exchange students.

When your air stewardess, the very model of patience, reaches into a bag and takes a large swig of something strong and possibly illegal halfway through the flight, you kind of know that she’s at the end of her tether.

A special mention to the traveller who always sits in front of me – the one who, the moment the seat belt sign goes off, puts her seat back at 180 degrees so she's practically horizontal.

Perhaps she was inclined for me to give her a head massage...

Back in Blighty, it was time to try and re-ignite the flickering embers of my career.

The day after landing, I got up at an ungodly hour to attend a League Managers' Association coaching seminar at West Brom.

Getting sacked has the air of a death in the family; amongst a lot of familiar faces, you have to go through the whole process of commiserations and good-luck-for-the-futures.

The LMA have been good so far, and I’m looking at opportunities at home and abroad in the quest.

Save for scouting a reserve game at Bristol City for a friend, Bury boss Alan Knill, I’ve not taken in a game since I left Lincoln.

So it was nice to be invited down to watch Portsmouth vs Everton courtesy of my good friend Ian Woan, who’s on the coaching staff at Pompey.

The roads into Portsmouth were suitably hellish so I got there just in time to do some WAG-spotting.

Danielle Lloyd was there to watch her current beau, Jamie O’Hara. Ms. Lloyd, I can report, looked suitably demure, while Mr Lloyd was no less effective in a fully committed performance as Pompey were desperately unlucky to be on the losing side.

I found myself in the unusual position of cheering on the home team against my childhood team, but all to no avail.

Afterwards, in the manager's room with Messrs Hart and Moyes et al, I was impressed by the calm and reflection of the former, and the humility and generosity of the latter.

It’s not been a great start by Pompey by any stretch of the imagination, but if team spirit is a good indicator, then it’s there in spades.

If the board there can show a similar support and patience to their remarkable fans, then Pompey can still claw back that deficit under Paul Hart and his staff.

I did say I wouldn’t go there, but allow me this passing comment: it’s nice to know that somewhere there is a club where the drama of a few defeats doesn’t necessarily constitute a crisis.

The fact that that it’s under the microscope of the Premier League makes it even more admirable compared to those who operate in more humble surroundings. Just a thought...


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