Fareham Town’s weather woes must have seemed a million miles away for midfielder Bradey Norton over the Christmas period.
The Reds have not been able to stage a home game for nearly three months due to a combination of a collapsed drain in one corner of their pitch and the incessant rain.
And with a big freeze predicted, things are unlikely to improve in the near future.
Norton, however, spent the Christmas period in the Caribbean working on P&O Cruises liners for his employers SportsStar, providing coaching sessions for the holidaymakers.
While most of his team-mates were constantly getting soaked Bradey was working in temperatures of more than 80 degrees.
‘This was about the 10th time I have been lucky enough to do this,’ said Norton.
‘The company I work for has the contract with P&O Cruises to provide the sport and dance sessions for the kids.
‘In the past, I have been to the Mediterranean, the Norwegian Fjords and the Canary Islands.
‘We have a cabin on board the ship and also get the chance to get off in all the ports we visit.
‘Experiences like swimming with dolphins are very special.
‘I have to admit I found it pretty cold when I stepped back off the plane at Gatwick!’
During term time, Norton’s job involves him providing sports coaching at local primary schools.
Norton was at Pompey as a youngster before spending three years at the Hawks’ Academy.
He earned himself a one-year deal under Shaun Gale at Westleigh Park but chances were few and far between in the senior side.
Norton then went out on loan to Gosport Borough before moving on again, this time to AFC Portchester, only to pick up a hamstring injury in his second game.
It was a frustrating time and Norton moved on to Fareham at the start of last season.
He scored the goal that gave them a 1-0 win at Andover on the final day of the season and kept the Reds in the Wessex League premier division.
Since then, manager Matt Parr has left but Norton has nothing but praise for his replacement Steve Stone.
‘Steve is doing a terrific jobin the most difficult of circumstances,’ said Norton.
‘We have not been able to train on grass because of the weather but he has still managed to make the sessions interesting.
‘He has been creative and at times have had to use the steps in the main stand to train on.
‘Steve is always there an hour or so before setting everything up.
‘And in my opinion there is no way we will have to repeat a great escape from relegation.’
– KEVIN RICKETTS