Over the years, I’ve been involved in a large number of away fixtures. This means travelling the day before and staying in a hotel the night prior to a game.
More often than not, we share a room with a teammate, and this season I’ve kept the same ‘roomy’ in Danny Ward. Off the pitch, we get on very well and have similar sleeping patterns, so the room situation works well.
It can be a nightmare if you are paired with a player who snores heavily, or stays up really late watching television, or wakes up at the crack of dawn (I like a lie-in on match days).
I’ve had to endure my fair share of different roommates over my career, and some people might find it a bit uncomfortable. Having to sleep in adjoining beds with possibly someone you hardly know can be a bit weird, but you do get used to it.
A couple of years ago, I joined Crawley on loan and I signed the night before an away game against Swindon. The team were staying in a hotel and I drove down there and arrived at 6pm. I’d never met any of the players before and, upon entering my room, I was greeted by one of the lads I was sharing with. As it happens, we got on great and I continued to room with him for the duration of my loan.
I must confess that some players have refused to room with me. This isn’t because they don’t like me, or that I snore, or that I smell. Well, I don’t think that’s the reason anyway.
It’s because I sleepwalk!
If I room with somebody new, then that’s one of the first things I tell them. I try not to scare them and just inform them to shout at me if I get up in the night. Just tell me bluntly to get back in to bed and I should do as I’m told, apparently. So my missus says!
I haven’t done it recently but I’ve had some funny episodes in my lifetime. I have no recollection of my sleepwalking and have to be told what I’ve been up to the following morning.
I roomed with Lee Peacock at Sheffield Wednesday and one night he woke up screaming. He said it was in the middle of the night and he opened his eyes to see me stood towering over his bed, arms wide open as if to grab him, with my face centimetres from his, just staring at him.
Another roomy was Andy Hughes during my time with Charlton. I hadn’t played for a while and I knew I was in the team the following day. I was well up for the game and it certainly showed with my sleepwalking. Andy told me I’d jumped up in the middle of the night, shouted ‘Woody’s ball’ and gone up for a header, before telling him that I was sweating. Football was definitely on the brain.
I’ve done all sorts of strange things in my sleep, from trying to bake cakes to walking down hotel corridors, so whoever is brave enough to room with me probably has to sleep with one eye open. It’s a good job me and Danny Ward get on so well!