24th July 2017


We played our final game of the tour against North Carolina on Saturday night, or 12.30am UK time on Sunday.

If we thought the heat was bad against Richmond, this was something else. It topped 100 degrees during the day and it was still roasting when we kicked off in the evening.

It was the humidity which made it really difficult and it was a tough 60 minutes for the first group that played, including myself.

We had plenty of chances to win the game, but it was one of those nights where the ball just wouldn't find the back of the net.

It was a great workout though, exactly the reason why we came to America for pre-season.

Overall I think the tour has been a great success. We've worked extremely hard with double training sessions on a number of days and the games have been competitive against opposition who are midway through their season.

The boys have also gelled well together and welcomed the new recruits like Erwin Mulder, Roque Mesa and Tammy Abraham into the fold.

Yet again there was one negative from the game against North Carolina. And yet again it involved my roomie Tom Carroll who was the only player to be booked for a second game running.

Obviously the talking to and the 100 lines I gave him in the room after the last game didn't work, so I think I may have to organise some anger management counselling for him because I think he fancies himself as the hard man of the team.

But a Vinnie Jones, Nobby Stiles or Tommy Smith he is not. Mind you, there is a similarity to Nobby when Tom takes his false teeth out before going to bed (only joking Tom).

The gaffer gave us a bit of time off after the game to let our hair down a little after a tough 10 days.

The good mood was short lived though after we found out British Airways had cancelled our scheduled flight back to Heathrow. Fantastic.

Apparently the club only found out by chance it had been cancelled and travel manager Rob Young pulled out all the stops at the last minute to get us home.

It meant the club had to charter a plane to fly everyone from North Carolina to JFK in New York. From there we had to split the group up and take two separate flights to Heathrow.

Of course, it didn't all go to plan after Leroy Fer left his passport on the charter flight. There was no way they would let him fly to Heathrow without it, even though the club had a photocopy of it at hand.

Two hours later and countless calls to see if they could find it on the plane or the bus that transported him to JFK it eventually turned up, exactly where he said he left it.

Ten minutes more and Leroy - with his DJ decks to accompany him - would have probably missed the check-in and heading to Amsterdam instead to get a new passport.

Anyway, I'm writing these notes at JFK Airport before we take off, so I hope to see you at the other end.

Then all I've got left to do is break the bad news to Tom that he can't come home with me when we land. I hope it doesn't break his little heart because he's a sensitive soul.

Thanks for reading. J K Rowling look out.


Catch up on Leon's previous four diary entries below

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four