I LIKE to use this page to tell you about one or two things happening behind the scenes at Oxford United.

The Oxford Mail already have Dave Pritchard informing you about things on the pitch, so if I can, I’d rather try and give you an insight into how the club works off it.

This week we have been preparing for another important game, away at Rotherham.

It is a match where will test our fantastic recent form against a side who are also going great guns.

We travelled up yesterday and will be well-prepared as always.

Rob Dickie misses out through suspension and we will just wait and see what happens with a couple of little knocks plus Matty Taylor’s recent illness.

But away from the training pitch, we have been doing some great work this week on mental health.

It is a subject which is probably only now starting to get the attention it deserves within football.

Gary Bloom, our psychotherapist, is helping us set up a true culture of openness and understanding right the way through the club.

The academy were already well ahead on this because there is a duty of care to our young footballers.

But why should that stop when a player becomes a professional?

Surely there are pressures and strains for any player, or for the staff?

This week we had a two-day course on mental health and well-being, attended by academy and first team staff plus some of our outstanding young players.

Some supporters may say ‘well they should all be out there


But mental well-being is just as important as the physical element.

It is very difficult for anyone to do their jobs properly if they are weighed down with problems.

The fact that my wife, Ann Marie, helped deliver the course is almost incidental.

She is an MHFA instructor and director of BMR Health and Well-Being.

Having been around football for a long time, she found it really interesting to discuss the topic with those within the game.

The feedback was amazing.

People on the course said their understanding had gone from 2/10 to 9/10.

That is a fantastic start for what we hope will become an integral part of making this club a true leader in spreading the word about the importance of mental health.

ON Wednesday I was invited to the Oxford United golf day at Studley Wood.

Some might suggest that me not being at the training ground while my wife was there was coincidence!

The day was good fun and for once I thought I played quite well.

I was therefore surprised to find out that Chris Cadden, who along with Josh Ruffels represented the players, had beaten me!

I’m not a sore loser at all, but did feel it necessary to look at his scorecard in great detail.

I did this in my nice warm office while he was outside in the rain doing ten extra laps of the training ground…