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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
The James Beattie column
James Beattie


I was the hottest shot at the club this week.

All I hope is that it transfers itself to my boots.

We had a few days off this week, thanks to the international matches, and our chairman, Rupert Lowe, took us off clay pigeon shooting near Oxford.

It's something we have done before, and it's a good day out.

Rupert normally wins - probably because he gets the most practice.

But not this time. I proved to be the Richard Faulds of the day, with 23 out of 24.

Many footballers like fishing for relaxation
Many footballers like fishing for relaxation

The chairman's consolation was that he was on the winning team, along with Matthew "Annie" Oakley.

During the course of a season, we don't get too many days off, and when we do, we like to spend them in different ways.

Some players like Paul Telfer like to get out on the golf course.

He's a pretty good player, with a very low single-figure handicap and you wouldn't want to play bandits like him and Claus Lundekvam for money.

We all get our kicks in different ways, and when I've got some spare time, I like to go fishing.

It might not be rock and roll, but you would be surprised at the number of footballers who like to relax with a fishing rod in their hand.

Piranha pet

Wayne Bridge is a keen angler as well, and Blackburn manager Graeme Souness has been known to sit on the river bank with Jimmy Case for company.

I've fished ever since I was a lad, I've got all my own gear.

Call me a big softie, but I can't kill the fish I catch. I put them back, and that cost me the biggest fish I ever hooked.

In fact I caught a five-foot shark big game fishing a couple of years back and I put that back too.

It's amazing what hobbies your team-mates have got.

Oakley also has a fishy hobby.

He keeps piranhas. He had a special tank built for them.

Marsden is fanatical about Elvis
Marsden is fanatical about Elvis

They are evil-looking things, he feeds them on minced meat but they prefer live earthworms.

Lundekvam has a yacht, which he keeps in Norway.

He doesn't see it much during the winter, but he sails it all over the place in the summer, up and down the Norwegian coast, and he's even sailed it down to the Mediterranean.

Chris Marsden is a mad Elvis Presley fan.

He paid a homage trip to Elvis's home, Graceland and bought a souvenir replica driving licence, with Elvis's picture on it.

We went on an end-of-season trip to Las Vegas in May, and at every opportunity he pulled this driving licence out, whether anyone wanted to see his ID or not.

As if anyone would confuse his dome with Elvis's lush head of hair!

Wednesday is a big night for us all in Southampton as we stage the England international match at St Mary's.

We're not in action on Saturday as we play Aston Villa on Monday.

Hopefully, I'll still be firing on target.

Southampton striker James Beattie writes for BBC Sport Online


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