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Inside Story: Matt Ritchie on babies, massages and why he steers clear of cards on the coach

Posted: Fri 26 Feb 2016
Inside Story graphic of Matt Ritchie

Inside Story: Matt Ritchie on babies, massages and why he sticks clear of cards on the coach

Image by: AFC Bournemouth

My partner and I are expecting our baby on the 16th of March, so it's a very exciting time in our house.

In terms of preparation, everything is ready. The nursery is done so we are just waiting for the little one to come out now.

We have both wanted kids for a long time. My missus had a university degree she wanted to finish first, but now that's done we felt the time was right.

The talk of babies has been quite apparent in the squad of late, with Cookey and Dan Hodges having had theirs and Kingy waiting.


It's funny how we have seen characters change here over the years as babies have come in.

In the past the talk in the dressing room was more about what everyone was up to on the weekend. There was also probably a bit more immaturity in the group!

But now, rather than talking about who is the best on FIFA, the lads are worried about getting home and sorting the kids out. A lot can change in a short time!

We have arrived at our hotel in London ahead of the Watford game tomorrow and it has been a pretty good trip.

On the coach a lot of the lads often play cards, but I steer clear of that - it's dangerous!

There are a couple of big hitters in the squad, so it's best to keep away from the back of the bus.

To be fair, I have quite a good table on the coach. Feds is in front of me, he always likes a moan and bangs on about how good Australia is (yet he hasn't been there for 10 years!).

Surs is usually embedded in his laptop next to me and then I have Franno opposite, so we usually have a little chat.
MR in

It's a different story when we get to hotels, though, as I am a lone ranger.

Since it's been feasible and the club have allowed us to have our own rooms, that's what I like do. It's a nice privilege as I like to have my own space.

Once I am settled in I usually go for a massage, which I have just done, and then get my dinner in and do spins with Tinners.

Most of the lads go for massages after dinner, but it's usually a bit busier and you don't get quite as long as you would like.

Going before also means that after dinner I can get back to my room, relax and have an early night.

I've got a bit of stick off the lads recently for doing an interview on Sky Sports midway through having a massage in the pavilion.

I was pretty relaxed and zoned out because Pat has just given me a head massage, then the next minute I was on Sky! It was a strange experience. 

I do like my massages and we have some really good masseurs here, which also helps. Although Pat's jokes aren't the best.

He comes out with the odd cracker every couple of weeks, but I spend a lot of time with him so I have to give him a little chuckle every now and then to keep him going!

Anyway, we are all really looking forward to the game tomorrow. We know how much Watford have changed and improved since last season.

So it's going to be a tough game, but we have prepared very well this week and will be ready for them - see you all there!