The Captain's Column ... The day I was knocked out. The day I turned into Dan Barlaser. Why I love Jordan Hugill. And the funniest Rotherham United teammates I've ever had
POOR old Bailey Wright.
I’ve been a pro for more than 20 years and his was the shortest debut I’ve seen in all that time.
It was just one of those random things: a clash of heads when he went up for his first header and then he had to come off.
I’m pleased to say he seems fine at training this week as he goes through all the concussion testing.
It’s really frustrating for him. He’s come to a new club and wants to make his mark and now he’ll have to spend a little bit of time on the sidelines.
During my career I’ve often been in the wars and I’ve taken plenty of knocks but I’ve only ever suffered one concussion.
I was knocked clean out by a kick in the face when I was 19 or 20 playing in a reserves game for Sheffield Wednesday.
When I came round, I was arguing with the Owls staff. They were trying to lead me off the pitch and I was telling them: ‘I’m fine, leave me alone, I want to carry on playing.’ I was having a right pop at them.
I can’t remember this next bit but I’ve been told that I was going mad on the treatment table for ages then suddenly I completely switched.
Apparently, I was saying ‘Where am I? What’s happening?’ and had no recollection of what had just happened.
The Blades derby saw us put in another good performance and gain another good point. Everything is going well.
There wasn’t a lot in the game and we defended really strongly. We limited them to very few clear-cut chances and deservedly picked up another clean sheet.
That’s four points we’ve taken off the second-best side in the Championship this season, which is pretty good going.
I was following events from the West Stand. It’s tough at the moment not being involved, but I’m not too bad at watching games these days. I’ve become a bit more relaxed as I’ve got older.
When I was younger I used to kick every ball and go up for every header. Now I watch the game really closely and try to pick up on certain things, like a coach would.
THE Blades derby was a sell-out and yet another memorable New York occasion.
There have been many of them over the years.
My favourite game there was the second leg of the League One play-off semi-final against Scunthorpe United in May 2018.
We’d drawn the first leg 2-2 and it was ‘winner takes all’ on a Wednesday night in S60 with a place at Wembley at stake. I scored the first goal, a header just before half-time to set us on our way to a 2-0 victory. Will Vaulks smacked in a second goal in the second half.
There was a pitch invasion afterwards and fans carried me and some of the others lads on their shoulders. I did a bit of crowd surfing, which was ace.
The Advertiser’s Paul Davis asked me about my best-ever performance at the stadium. To be honest, there’s not one particular game that really stands out.
I was pretty pleased with my form from Christmas to the end of the season when we won promotion in 2017/18. The Scunthorpe semi was one of those matches. I had a run of games then when I thought I did all right.
Actually, I tell a lie; there is one game above all others. It came last season in League One. I can’t remember who it was against but I suddenly turned into Dan Barlaser and started spraying ‘diags’ everywhere! Left foot, right foot ... everything was just coming off!
One of my worst halves of football came at New York when Neil Warnock was in charge and we were halfway through that famous 2016 Championship relegation escape.
Middlesbrough, who were going for promotion, were the visitors and I had an awful opening 45 minutes. God knows how their striker, David Nugent, didn’t score.
The gaffer could have been taken off at half-time but he was brilliant with me. He knew exactly how to handle it.
He put his hand on my shoulder in the dressing room and just said: ‘Sort yourself out, Son.’ He knew he could rely on me to up my game in the second half.
We came out after the break, I was a different player and Lee Frecklington scored a late winner for us in a 1-0 victory that played a big part in us staying up. When I say the gaffer just said ‘Sort yourself out, Son’ ... I’ve left out the swearing!
JORDAN Hugill, another of our new boys, is my kind of player.
He’s a striker who works hard, runs about and puts his body on the line. Once he gets used to how we play and what we do, he’s going to be very good for us.
I liked the way he got under the skin of Sheffield United’s centre-half, Anel Ahmedhodzic, in the New York derby.
If you can get into an opponent’s head it gives you an advantage. The Blades lads were all coming over to Ahmedhodzic and telling him to calm down and not to lose his head. The fans around me were all enjoying what was going on.
No centre-forward could wind me up like that. I don’t bite with stuff like that and I never have done. I have opponents saying stuff to me all the time but I’m just not bothered.
If I started saying stuff back then they’ve got me, haven’t they? I’ve always been of the opinion that actions speak louder than words.
DAN Barlaser is a very funny lad and I’ll miss him now he’s gone.
But he’s not quite in the league of Joe Newell and Jon Taylor.
Those two are the funniest teammates I’ve had in my nine years with the Millers.
Newelly and Tayls used to room together. They were big pals and were like a double act.
Every day they had me and everybody else in stitches. There was always something going on when they were around.
Cam Humphreys would have loved them. Our centre-half has a very loud, distinctive laugh. It’s unique — quite high-pitched — and you can hear it wherever you are at Roundwood.
It’s constant. He’s always laughing. I wish I could be as happy as he is!