Matt Lawrence's diary: My exciting new book project, home schooling and Peppa Pig addicition

Matt Lawrence has played for seven league clubs - including Fulham, Crystal Palace and Millwall, for whom he appeared in the 2004 FA Cup final - during his 16-year career. Now with League Two Gillingham, his diary will appear on MirrorFootball every week.

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Monday, April 16th

After the joy of Liverpool’s semi-final win, I seem to have spent most of the day seeking out tickets.

Amazing how many people I haven’t spoken to in ages that have suddenly become my best friend.

Still struggling, so if anyone out there has a spare couple I’d be eternally grateful. I don’t even mind the Chelski end, as the accent will blend in seamlessly.

Apart from the phone calls, my day started very early in the gym. My fitness is the most important thing in my current situation, so I’m spending a couple of hours in the gym and then moving outside to complete a few running drills.

This afternoon, I had a meeting with my writing partner and my agent to try and get our book idea sent to publishers. So far, we’ve come up with a business plan, synopsis and written a couple of chapters.

Things seem to be progressing in the right direction, but I certainly won’t be counting my chickens. We all know how tough it is to get ideas seen by publishers, let alone getting the go-ahead to finish the work. More news to follow!

Tuesday, April 17th

I had to hit the gym even earlier this morning, as my little girl was sick. One bout of sickness and they need to be off school for 48 hours. Ridiculous.

I’m glad I got to expend a bit of energy at the gym because I spent the whole of today watching Peppa Pig.

Now, at six years old my daughter is probably a little too old for Peppa, but she is addicted to it. It is seemingly as powerful as any narcotic - I’m just not sure which is the more harmful!

By the end of the day I was oinking, splashing in muddy puddles and thinking that Suzie Sheep would look okay if she’d just straighten her hair. There, I said it; I’m out of the bestiality closet…blame my daughter.

My other two kids were a little incensed when they returned home from school to find their favourite meal of gammon was not on the table as promised. I just couldn’t do it.

Wednesday, April 18th

With the 48 hour rule in full effect, I had to have another day at home with my “sick” daughter.

She was absolutely right as rain and really should have been at school. With no real illness evident, we had a no telly rule for the morning and home schooling was the order of the day.

Apart from kicking a ball down a hill badly, I’m not really qualified for anything else. (I’m not sure that American literature degree counts for a great deal!)

Today, though, I donned the tweed jacket with leather elbow patches and tried to educate. We did reading, spelling and a few sums and Peppa Pig was nowhere in sight.

It may just be me, or it may just be my children, but kids nowadays seem so far behind with literacy and maths.

I remember doing long addition and subtraction when I was Lyla’s age, and I sure as hell was no child genius!

I’ll give her some credit, though, she knows so much more about Sikhism, Judaism and Hinduism than I did at that age. Well-rounded individual I may not have been, but at least I could read, write and count.

And there ends my party political broadcast for the NUT/NASUWT.

Thursday, April 19th

Thank goodness the pesky kids could finally all be shipped off to school this morning.

To be frank, I think I’d bored Lyla to tears with my stories of mathematics in the “olden” days and she would have done anything to escape my evil, teacher-like clutches.

That left me free to explore the wonders of the gym at 8am again. The only bonus of a window-less gym is the inability to see the rain lashing down outside.

The lack of natural daylight has increased the onset of rickets, but that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it. For now, I was happy to be in the dry and pumping iron and on the exercise bike. Not together, obviously.

I have now reached an agreement with the club whereby I come and go as I please, as long as I stay fit and healthy. I put down the mini-Martell bottle at the mention of the latter word!

The rest of the day was spent doing a seemingly endless supply of bills and post. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t open the mail for two months.

I did wonder who had removed my car from the driveway and why the hot water was so cold.

Friday, April 20th

With the lads fully underway in their preparations for tomorrow’s make-or-break clash against Swindon, I decided to get in and out of the building before the real work began.

I hit the gym for a couple of hours before jumping aboard the exercise bike for an eight minute blast the physio made up.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but it is an absolute thigh burner. I didn’t so much dismount the bike, as roll off.

I gave my legs a little rest before going outside for an old skool 12-minuter. I’m not sure how scientific this run is, but it sure burns the lungs and gets a good sweat on – that’s good enough for me.

After a quick flip-flop stop at Bluewater, I drove down to my mate’s tile warehouse in Brighton. I ordered some tiles and then we set off to his to pick up his family.

I’d agreed to hand out the trophies at his son’s football teams presentation evening. I’m sure it’s every seven year-old boy’s dream to have a trophy handed out by a non-playing, Gillingham player. Ha ha!

It was a blast from the past being at Saltdean FC, as an old colleague of mine, Paul Ifill, started there as a kid. His Millwall shirt was hanging on the wall and I had a snap by it for old time’s sake.

Saturday, April 21st

I had the weekend lined up with the kids.

It started off with my son’s football training in the morning and ended with my daughter’s play in the evening.

By the time we had all returned to the house from Ellie’s play we were all shattered.

MOTD was on the box so we all settled down on various sofas for a night of football and pizza. Well, pizza for their Dad as he’d somehow contrived to miss every meal of the day.

Before the pizza had even arrived my youngest had succumbed to sleep. I’m not sure whether it was the fact that she was tired, or bored into submission by the football. She was duly carried up to bed.

The other two snuggled up and circled like vultures around the freshly delivered pizza.

Dinner devoured and my boy fell asleep on my lap. His sleep was definitely induced by the bore draw of the Arsenal vs Chelski game.

My eldest made it through MOTD, but we both fell asleep long before we reached the end of The Football League Show.

I awoke with the TV on and the kids sparko.

Sunday, April 22nd

Today was a first in many years.

This evening saw the annual PFA do. I usually make it into the city for the do. When I say “the do,” I am actually lying. In 17 years I’ve only been once. The penguin suit just doesn’t go with the hair!

But, I do manage to meet up in the Punch ‘n’ Judy in Covent Garden for the annual meet up with mates you haven’t seen in a while drinking session.

This year though, I had the kids. We hit the shops in Brighton for school shoes that were needed and then we headed for the beach.

The sun was out, but the wind was howling.

We lasted about an hour on the beach. Pebble castles were built and Zack decided to fling pebbles into the sea. He nearly decapitated a nearby toddler, but failed to take the blame.

“The wind got hold of it, Dad.”

That’s my boy. Every ball that I’ve ever kicked over a stand is followed by a shout of “F**kin’ wind!”

He's a chip off the old block.

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