The alarm had failed miserably in its duty as dawn arrived on Tuesday morning. It had been set for 5am to rouse Foz from his slumbers in preparation for the trip to Holyhead to catch the ferry and meet up with the Wolves squad at their hotel outside Dublin.
I was making the trip with fellow communication colleagues Paul and Otto with the intention of picking Paul up on the way to meet Otto at Molineux and set off at six. Paul, knowing my poor form with clocks, had promised to give me a call to ensure that I was up. He did - and I wasn’t!
The ringing noise brought about a rapid end to my dream of a pretty Irish maiden pouring the perfect pint of Guinness and inscribing the words ‘I love you, Foz’, on the creamy head at the top of the pint. I groped with my mobile phone to try and respond and lie that all was on track. But my efforts were wasted as it was my landline that was ringing with an exasperated Mr Berry warning me that I had 25 minutes to pack the car, pick him up, and get to the ground.
We were halfway there when he asked me if I’d remembered my passport. A quick u-turn and return home meant that we were even later getting to meet Otto who was pacing up and down outside the main reception like an expectant father outside the maternity suite walking on a bed of hot coals.
I accepted my dressing down with good grace absorbing such words of wisdom as ‘I knew you would be late’ and ‘we’ll never catch the ferry now’. Driving like Lewis Hamilton at his best, within the speed limit of course, we reached out destination with a good 30 minutes to spare. The making up of lost time, however, failed to stop Otto’s murmurings of me being unprofessional.
We met our photographer Sam Bagnall at Holyhead and he joined us for the two hour trip across the Irish Sea. With Paul offering to take the wheel for the short drive to the hotel after we had docked, despite the early hour, the sight of someone lifting a glass of Guinness at the ship’s bar was too much for a man to bear and yes, I succumbed.
To the merriment of my fellow travellers, I soon slipped into an uneasy dose nodding my head like the dog in the insurance advert. Wounded by their abuse and tormenting, I did something I haven’t done in years. I went to play a one-arm bandit! It’s fair to say that I hadn’t got a clue as to what I was doing but all of a sudden lights started flashing and it told me that I’d won 30 quid. There were no words of congratulations from my colleagues at my good fortune – quite the opposite in fact.
So I went for another stroll looking for a Kate Winslett look alike to share a Titanic moment with at the front of the boat. But there was no Kate and access wasn’t available to the front of the ship so I had to make do with the company of a handful of smokers at the stern, watching the wake trailing behind us.
I then adopted a different approach - the Baywatch approach - taking on a provocative pose as shown here, hoping for a damsel in distress who may be in need of the kiss of life. However, I was more likely to land an early bath overboard than anything else such was the reaction to my vain attempt.
We arrived at the hotel just as the players were leaving the training pitch. Several came over and gave me a welcoming hug whilst, unbeknown to me, Karl Henry nicked my passport out of my top pocket. It wasn’t until they all walked away chortling to one another, that I realised that they were quite muddy and, as a result of all the hugs, so was my shirt.
Sylvan took a look at me and simply said: “Foz, you are a shambles.” Harsh, but fair!