Choccy’s Diary: Train travel travails and training ground tails

Manchester United and Celtic legend Brian McClair is here with his latest diary entry.

Brian McClair

Choccy’s Tales

I know Chris Rea often bemoans the perils of driving home for Christmas but I wonder if he’s ever tried travelling by train at this time of year?!

A little journey south to see friends and family recently saw me doing my best Michael Portillio impression as a number of cancellations, not to mention a series of drivers failing to turn up, resulted in me diverted and delayed across what felt like the entire North West.

But one highlight of this never-ending jaunt was meeting up for a Christmas drink with my previously mentioned super fan, who just happened to turn up in the pub and inform me that he’d recently been to a charity dinner in Derbyshire with my old colleague and friend, Bryan Robson.

On mentioning my name (which of course he had to) my former roommate Robbo told him that I had the sickest sense of humour, and I don’t think he meant in the way that the kids say it these days either – but I’ll take that as a compliment anyway.

Talking of old mates, I was also informed by said stalker that my name came up at the annual Class of ’92 Christmas dinner at Hotel Football last week.

When the lads were asked who the worst trainer they had played with was, they all said me apparently, as all I did was mess around and kick footballs at people – knowing full well the manager wouldn’t chastise me.

Funny that as, just a couple of weeks ago I went to an event with the SFA where a certain Mr Scholes was in attendance, along with Darren Fletcher and Craig Brown, to host a training session.

Much of what I heard Scholesy say seemed very familiar  and I couldn’t believe that I was actually paying good money to be lectured by a man who had learned so much from yours truly over the years; though they do say imitation is the finest form of flattery.

Title race

Having been involved in a few title races with Manchester United down the years I’m a firm believer that If you get through the Christmas period unscathed and are still in the hunt come January then you’ve got every chance of winning the league.

And with Liverpool having such a comfortable lead at the top of the table going into the busy festive schedule I’d be surprised if they weren’t still in full control of their own destiny when January dawns.

Of course with so many games over a short period of time there are still plenty of points to be played for and it’s a time of year I rather enjoyed each time it came around.

I know managers and players often bemoan the fixture congestion but from my experience,  I’d much rather be out on the pitch playing in meaningful games every few days than on the training field – just ask Mr Scholes.

Hoops provide perfect birthday gift

Scottish Premiership

What better way to spend my 21st birthday than watching Celtic beat Rangers in the League Cup final to win the first trophy of what I’m sure will be many this season?

I actually watched the game in my local and was highly embarrassed when BT Sport decided to show one of my goals against Rangers as part of their pre-match build-up, though fortunately for me, without the mullet and the tight shorts, few people made the connection between Choccy of the ’80s and that of today.

As well as seeing the Hoops get a win over their great rivals, the game was also a joy to watch in terrible conditions, which made for a real spectacle in something of a blood and thunder affair at Hampden Park.

What made it even sweeter was that Celtic’s goal came from their only shot on target and would almost certainly have been ruled out for offside had VAR been in use.

Rangers threw everything at Fraser Forster, but the big man played the game of his life to keep them at bay and send this former Hoop home from the pub very happy if a little longer in the tooth.

United must look for positives

Ole Gunnar

I felt it was a case of two steps forward and one step backwards following Manchester United’s draw with Everton on Sunday, especially after the impressive wins over Spurs and Manchester City that went beforehand.

Of course we all expected something of a bounce with club legend Duncan Ferguson on the dugout or more accurately prowling the touchline; but even so, a point did feel like something of a disappointment.

I thought my old side looked dangerous and could have easily taken the points, and how Everton’s goal wasn’t ruled out for a foul on David De Gea, especially with VAR looking on, I’ll never know.

But it’s all about looking at the positives and I suppose two wins and a draw against Spurs, City and Everton is more than most of us expected and gives the players something to build on going into Christmas.

Choccy’s Christmas Message

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy and peaceful holiday season whatever you find yourself doing.

Here’s hoping you all have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year, if that’s your thing, and as I always like to say at this time of year; look after each other and don’t do anything that Choccy wouldn’t do…


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