5 days in the life of ... Michelle Farrer

England's admin supremo tries to calm nerves in the run-up to last week's crunch World Cup clashes
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Indy Lifestyle Online
MONDAY: I was up at 8am: I don't sleep very well the night before a match. I typed up a set of detailed notes for the staff, and a one-page sheet for the players. They don't like too much information! I had a quick glance at L'Equipe (the French football paper), then we went training at a local ground close to our hotel in Toulouse. In the afternoon, Tina, our family co-ordinator, rang to say the players' families' flight had landed. At 5.30pm, we had tea and toast. I watched a bit of the Colombia v Tunisia game but wasn't really concentrating: I was beginning to get nervous. At the stadium, I wished everyone luck: I normally follow the team out in case there are any last-minute problems. Then I took my seat next to the team bench. Fifteen minutes from the end of the game, I went to the drug-testing room to see who'd been selected: Rob Lee and Alan Shearer. They have to produce a sample, which can take a while depending on how hot it is. I was back in my seat to see Michael Owen's equaliser - it was a fantastic feeling. When the Romanians got their second, I was devastated. After the game, I caught 10 minutes with my husband, who'd flown out. We left the stadium around midnight, and landed back in La Baule around 2am. I got to bed two hours later.

TUESDAY: Up for brunch, then I went with David Seaman and Gary Neville to the press conference and training ground, to sign autographs for the children. At dinner, I went through ticket requests with a few of the players; meal times are often busiest, and it's a good time to catch them. They are a happy bunch. Michael Owen just seemed to take all the attention in his stride; he's very level-headed. It helps with me being female, because I don't push to know everything about the football side of things. I'm always saying "Have you done this?" or "Do you want me to do that for you?" I'm a mum for the younger ones, yes, but with the older ones it's a bit more sisterly. Later on, I liaised with the chef over a birthday cake for our masseur, Steve Slattery, and then we all sang happy birthday.

WEDNESDAY: Off to training, just five minutes up the road from our hotel. My main duty is looking after the players' watches; I'm getting quite good at knowing whose is whose. I've always been into football, and pestered the FA for a job; I started as a secretary and became PA to Bobby Robson. I was a Tottenham fan and my favourite player was Glenn Hoddle, because of what he could do with a football; it was magical. I liked Kevin Keegan and Emlyn Hughes. That was my era. After lunch, I rang my mum to let her know I'm OK. Had a quick break for dinner, and wanted to watch the Spain- Bulgaria game, but I only saw half of it because I had lots of parcels to sort out.

THURSDAY: Started packing my bags for Lens. In the evening, we had training at the stadium, followed by a meeting with Fifa representatives. My job is to go through the kit we're wearing, and discuss the timetable for tomorrow evening. I got stranded at the stadium because the car didn't wait for me, but was back about 10.30pm. I can't really relax: I brought a big blockbuster book, but I've only read one page.

FRIDAY: We went for a walk in the grounds of the hotel, and then I set up my little office. On match day, I've got quite a lot of paperwork. It'll be great tonight, sitting so close to the action; it's a weird sensation, but it does make you feel part of it. I'll be running round making sure people have got what they need: they're getting a bit anxious, and it's nerve-wracking. My husband said to me before I went out "Try to enjoy it".

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