Skip to main content Skip to site footer
League Two

Sammy McIlroy's Blog 11

31 October 2012

In all my time in football I've never heard of a player that's been touch-and-go for a match because of a burnt nipple. So, stand up and take a bow Oxford United's Adam Chapman, for coming up with one for the scrap books!

I understand the lad hurt himself with boiling hot milk that was being warmed up for his baby the night before, and that he needed hospital treatment on Friday. If I was his manager all I would have done is turn around and tell him that he should let his missus feed the little 'un from now on.

This incident did remind me of the strangest injury I suffered as a professional footballer, and I have to be honest, it was horrendous.

I was playing for Northern Ireland on an extremely wet evening at Windsor Park when I slid into a pile of lime that was behind the goal, and used for marking the pitches out. There's no easy way of putting this, but after getting through my jock strap, the lime nastily burned both of my testicles. Not funny. Not funny at all. It was an injury that put me out of action for a couple of weeks, and I'll never forget it that's for sure.

A much less humorous injury occurred at Sixfields on Saturday afternoon when Northampton Town's Alex Nicholls suffered a terrible double leg break. Luckily we don't see too many of these in the game, but every time it does happen, it shocks us and understandably so. It's a shocking blow for the boy.

I've seen the incident and I honestly feel it was an accident. Port Vale's Jamie McCombe went for the ball wholeheartedly, as did Nicholls, and it's just one of those unfortunate things that happen from time to time. The Cobblers man scored the goal, but there was no elation just agony - and I wish him all the very best with his recovery.

Thankfully, these days there are fantastic medical staff at every club and great facilities which are available for rehabilitation, so with time he'll come back stronger we hope.

Accrington Stanley lost their boss Paul Cook this week, to npower League 2 rivals Chesterfield and I must confess it surprised me a little. I thought Paul was Accy through and through, and that he'd want to take the club places, but he must have felt this was too good an opportunity to spurn.

The Spireites have a beautiful stadium to be fair, and are a bigger club with a much larger fan base, so I can see the attraction - and why Paul thought it was the right step for his career. With that though, comes higher expectations and that's something he'll have to contend with.

I remember Steve Tilson showing great loyalty to 'his club' Southend United a few years ago, turning down the chance to manage at higher levels, only to be eventually lose his job at Roots Hall and never receive those offers again. Sometimes you just have to grab the chance when it's there because you're not head-hunted all that often as a manager.

One gaffer that's in a real position of strength at the moment is Gillingham's Martin Allen, who made a 3am call to chairman Paul Scally in China last week to ask if he could sign midfielder Romain Vincelot on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Martin never strikes me as the kind of guy who'd be fearful of making such a phone call, but when you're top of the league it's a much easier decision to make. Would he have woken up his boss in the middle of the night had they been bottom of the league? As its Martin maybe, but most coaches would leave it till the morning.

That said, it was a great call as it turned out because Vincelot bagged the winner at AFC Wimbledon on his debut. Sometimes, time can be against you as a manager, especially when you know other teams might be after the same player, so I applaud Martin Allen's tenacity.

I should mention my old mate Gareth Ainsworth at Wycombe Wanderers, who I still waiting to be offered the manager's job full-time. He's suffered a couple of bad results since it looked like he was nailed on for it, so the next two matches will be crucial to him.

He can be sure that the Wycombe directors will be watching everything he does very closely, because managers need to know how to react to adversity and this is his first big test. If he makes the right decisions over the coming days and handles the pressure well, that could make the board's minds up.

Finally, I must congratulate Bradford City on their stunning penalty shoot-out win at Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup.

That was some effort from Phil Parkinson's men, who should feel incredibly proud of their efforts. They were very well organised, and stood firm to all that the Premier League could throw at them. It's tremendously exciting to have an npower League 2 representative in the last eight.

Advertisement block