WHEN Mick Rathbone comes home from a long day at work he doesn't have time for hobbies - but when your job IS your hobby who cares!

The 38-year-old North End physio, who once wanted to be a vet, has enjoyed football from his days as an apprentice at Birmingham to an eight year spell at Blackburn.

This love affair with the game could have been cut short six years ago when at the age of just 32 a bad knee injury forced him to quit playing after four years as a Preston full-back.

But this didn't spell the end of Mick's involvement in the game. Instead he went full circle, going back to his first ambition - medicine - to do a physiotherapy degree at Salford University.

Now after a short time working at Halifax he's back and never been happier as he treats the squads' aches and pains.

Mick, who lives in Blackburn with wife Julie and three young children, said: "I can't complain. Although I'm not playing anymore this morning I've been kicking a ball around the training ground - that's not a bad job is it?"

But what's it like having to tell a player that he's badly injured and faces a lengthy spell out of the game?

Mick said: "They're always frustrated. A lot of them are low and you have to try and cheer them up."

And although he's loving every minute Mick said there's two little girls in Blackburn who aren't quite so happy.

He said: "My two daughters support Blackburn and they've been after kits. I brought them some North End strips home and they moaned about it.

"I just said think yourself lucky, three years ago you were walking around in Halifax Town kit!"

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.