First of all, let me wish you all a happy new year and good luck in 2014.
It was my first Christmas in 20 years without being involved in football and it was a lovely one.
Did I miss having to leave the family on Christmas Day to go and train? No. Did I miss playing football on Boxing Day? No. Did I help myself to extra portions of Christmas dinner? I sure did!
This year I was the chef on Christmas Day and was cooking for 11 people, well 12 if you count my double helpings.
I thought it was great meal, even if I do say so myself. I only wish I could get some testimonials from family members! New Year for me wasn’t so great as I went down with a stomach bug and spent the beginning of 2014 being sick.
I’m better now and raring to go for this coming year, looking to achieve personal goals I have set myself.
I hope to become a lot more active as far as media and TV work goes and I will be trying to invade your home via your television. Getting back into the gym is also on my to-do list for 2014, as it is for a lot of people, I guess.
I have not yet become an overweight retired footballer with a massive belly, but if I don’t get back in the gym soon I’ll be on your TV wearing a big baggy T-shirt instead of one of my nice fitted suits. So what has been going on in the game domestically since I last penned this column three weeks ago?
The Premier League title race has hotted up, and it looks like the winner will come from the current top four.
Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool occupy the top four places in that order.
City and Chelsea are the two real form teams, with City taking a maximum 15 points from their last five games and Chelsea 13.
Meanwhile, my old club Oxford United have struggled over the Christmas period with just one win, a draw and two losses.
The festive season is such an important time for points that sometimes clubs never recover from a few poor results. Thankfully, a good start at the beginning of the campaign has left the U’s still only three points off the automatic promotion places, so let’s hope January kick-starts them back to the top of the table real soon.
Finally, I want to say a few words about two of my sporting heroes – Michael Schumacher and Eusebio.
As a massive F1 fan and a big admirer of Michael, the news of his skiing accident really shocked me.
Like most sporting heroes, you tend to see them as indestructible, especially this seven-time world champion who made his name in such a dangerous sport.
My heart goes out to his family and let’s all hope he can make has one last great manoeuvre for a speedy recovery. A true football legend, Eusebio, who died this week at the age of 71, will rank alongside the true greats of the game like Pele, Maradona, Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer.
The top goalscorer in the 1966 World Cup, he was an inspiration to all young footballers.
A sad loss to the world and not just the world of football.