Pools legend Brian Honour gives us the inside story on his knee replacement operation and looks ahead to an exciting season at Victoria Park.
Hello and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
Some of you may already know that I underwent a knee replacement operation last Friday morning and at the moment I am recovering from that at home.
Obviously, the damage in my knee was a side effect of my footballing career. In fact, I always remember my mother saying to me “If you keep kicking those left-backs it will come back to haunt you.” Well, I can tell you that those words were ringing in my ears when I was lying in hospital last Friday.
Over the years I think I had about twenty different operations on my knee. If we got knocked out of a cup or had a two-week break for any reason, I would be whipped in to hospital to have my knee flushed out. Eventually, it’s just all caught up with me and years of taking pain-killers, morphine and having cortisone injections has taken its toll.
I am a week on from the operation now and one of things I am looking forward to most is sitting in the press box at The Vic watching games pain-free. I know it sounds dramatic but sometimes climbing the steps to get there was a real struggle and I had load of fans commenting about how badly I was moving. Hopefully by the time that Colchester game comes around I will be in fine fettle.
I won’t lie, I was anxious leading up to the operation. Everyone stresses to you that the outcome is very good and positive but it’s still a major operation. The surgeon told me on Sunday that because I’d had so much surgery in the past (I’ve had wires, plates, screws and all sorts in there) that the surgery was a little more difficult in terms of getting the old joint out as it was so set and stiff. I am glad he didn’t tell me that beforehand!
Fourteen years ago I had an osteotomy, which is a surgical fracture where they broke my leg to straighten it out, getting a piece of bone out of my hip as part of the procedure. That had also made things a little more complicated for the surgeon but thankfully it’s done now and I am on the road to recovery.
Being honest, I hadn’t really realised how bad my leg had become but then my wife Janet came up with the idea of taking some photos and keeping a little bit of a picture diary, if you like. I took some photos pre-op and I couldn’t even look at them because my leg looked so deformed and the muscle was so wasted away. The first thing I did on Sunday was take a photo of my new leg and it cheered me up no end!
Buster is texting me every morning now just saying “rest is best” because he knows that as soon as I get the green light I will be like a lunatic back at the gym! I am desperate to get some proper exercise done but I have to take it easy for the next six weeks and make sure I listen to the advice from my doctors and physios.
I am quite lucky really because Buster and Higgy have said that I can go in to the training ground and do my rehabilitation there, working with Stuart Parnaby as well. That’s a massive bonus for me and I’m really thankful about that, so I am looking forward to going through that and being able to mix with the players and staff at the same time.
As I write this I am sitting with a Game Ready machine on my knee – a compression and cold therapy system – and that’s helped to take a lot of the swelling out. That’s great because the quicker the swelling goes down the quicker I will be able to get it more active but I have to be cautious because my stitches aren’t coming out until next Friday so I can’t do too much. It’s little steps but I’ll get there.
Obviously I was boosted this week when the fixtures came out and the excitement can really start to build for the new season. The only downside is that the first game I looked for was York, completely forgetting they wouldn’t be there! It looks a competitive division though with Blackpool and Doncaster coming down, and Grimsby coming up – and we all know how good Cheltenham were from playing them in the cup last season.
I have been really encouraged by the players that Higgy has been able to sign so far. They all seem hungry for success and have fire in their bellies. Obviously Padraig Amond stands out having scored so many goals last season in the National League – and I like to see players come from that division because you have to be tough and hardened to do well there and it’s similar to League Two.
With Billy Paynter up there as well we look like we’re building a good mix and the type of lads he’s brought in look like the perfect characters to add to the mix. I’m looking forward to seeing a bit of Higgy and Curtis Fleming on the training ground working with them and then seeing that work come to fruition in games.
I’m feeling really positive all round at the moment; I came out of hospital on Father’s Day and found out that my daughter Laura and her partner are expecting their first child at Christmas and I am going to be a grandfather. We’re all delighted obviously and she is planning to find out the sex in July – so I’m crossing my fingers there is a little footballer in there! Hopefully by this time next year, the little one will be toddling about as we celebrate promotion.
Finally, I would like to thank all the fans who have taken the time to send me get well messages and cards. It’s been humbling to receive so many well-wishes from people, I appreciate every single one.
Never Say Die.