Many of us enjoy visiting our local non-league club at the weekend and during the week. We finish work, watch the match and head home ready for a new day. But what about the players who have to fit in their work commitments around the football? How do they do it?
The Echo will be speaking to non-league stars from across south Essex this season about how they juggle two of life’s most crucial aspects – work and football.
This week we speak to Billericay Town captain RICHARD HALLE, 32, who netted the winning goal for his side on Wednesday evening.
My pre-match routine starts on Friday night, I have a stretching programme I follow then I have a nice hot bath to relax ready for the game tomorrow, I have a bit of a lay in until about 9.30am most days. My girlfriend Carla is really understanding and allows me to chill out before I have to start getting ready for football. I have my cereal and watch Soccer AM, I used to have a bet or two, but I’m not allowed to do that anymore with the new betting laws!
I leave home about 12.30pm, meeting my travelling partner (and assistant manager) Alex Fiddes to travel to the ground. I like to get to the ground at about 1pm to start my preparation for kick off at 3pm.
As captain I’m also in charge of our player fines so I collect the fines the players have accumulated over the previous week!
We had a really tough game against a really good Dulwich Hamlet side who have had a good start to the season. But I thought we deserved our 2-1 victory and showed great character to come back from 1-0 down, so to win was fantastic!
Dunny (Callum Dunne) and Seedy (Njie) were fantastic for us with Seedy grabbing the winner for us! After the game I have an ice bath, and wear my Skins in preparation for our midweek game at Leatherhead!
My dad was at the game and he watches all home and away matches. He is friends with Scottys (Ryan Scott) and Dunny’s dad so after the game all the boys catch up and have a beer which is really nice. We have a great set of lads an all get on really well so the banter is always flying around!
A regular Saturday evening would include a night out with friends or spending time with my family.
I like to have a lie in but then I go to Virgin Active, in Thundersley, with my girlfriend and our daughter Olivia to have a swim, a stretch and spend some time in the sauna. We like to go for lunch somewhere and then do a bit of shopping at either Westfield Shopping Centre or Bluewater!
In the evening we go to our families for a nice Sunday roast.
It is an early start for me as I am back to work at the King Edmund School in Rochford – where I have taught PE for eight years.
I’m up at 6am as I get into work for 6.45am to 7am ,but as I have just had six weeks off I can’t really complain! After my day at work I come home and chill out for a few hours before I leave for training at 5.30pm.
We train for a couple of hours, working on team shape etc, a stretching programme and then on to a three-team five-a-side tournament. We then work on our core stability before a team meeting. Then we shower and all eat dinner together, which the club provides for us.
We love it as we all get to spend time together off the pitch which I think is really important.
Tuesday is very similar to Monday. After work and before I go to bed I follow my stretching routine and have a nice hot bath before packing my bag ready for our game against Leatherhead tomorrow.
I finish work at 2.10pm so I can plan work around football. I travel up to meet the team coach and we make our way up to Leatherhead.
I had a really good feeling about the game and we started really well – dominating the first half. We were all very disappointed to go in at the break 0-0. Again we played really well second half, creating lots of chances and limiting them to very little.
On around 70 minutes we were awarded a penalty! I'm the club’s penalty taker so I stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to give us the lead. We should have added to our lead but we couldn’t. We played really well and I was over the moon to score the winner goal.
(Glenn) Pooley was great for us tonight but so were all the boys and we are gelling really well with things looking very positive for the season.
We have a massive game on Saturday (at Witham Town) so the preparations start straight after the game with an ice bath, skins and a good stretch. The coach journey was one full of spirit as you can imagine after a good midweek win.
Our attention now turns to our game on Saturday!