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“It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light”

On this day in 2010, I signed for AFC Bournemouth who at the time had just been promoted to league 1.  

When I got a tweet this morning reminding me that it had been 13 years today it brought back so many happy memories. I spent a bit of time with my morning coffee reflecting on everything that had gotten me to that day, and the incredible journey which followed.  

Not many players get to achieve what I did in my career. I am so grateful for the experiences I had – good and bad.  

As you may know I have made it my mission since retiring from the game to help as many people as I can reach their full potential through improved nutrition, fitness and mindset.  

It got me thinking about the young man I was back then, and what it could have been that helped me to stand out and achieve what so many dream of.  

I was not a special talent, I did not have lightening pace, nor was I the strongest on the field. But what I did have was a strong mindset and a willingness to work hard.  

I gave 100% in everything.  

There is a saying ‘It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light’ 

Looking back, this was something that I lived by without even realising it.  

Even back when I was a youth team player at Burnley, I was extremely professional away from the club. I never went out drinking with friends, I made sure to get to bed early and I prioritised my training and recovery.  

Yes, since furthering my education I know so much more now that I wish I had known back then, but I always did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time.  

When I was a scholar, mindset and mental health was rarely discussed. I was doing things back then which I didn’t realise was a thing or had a name.  

I would practice visualisation daily – at the time I labelled myself as a daydreamer, but I am so glad that I stuck with this practice as now we know just how effective and powerful it can be.  

I would also talk to myself and tell myself positive things. I now know this to be affirmations, but at the time I would just encourage myself when no one else was there to do it.  

Throughout my career I consistently did extras on the training field and in the gym. I would endure ice baths when they weren’t compulsory. At home in the evening I would practice yoga and make sure to stretch my body in order to recover properly for the next intense session or game. 

I prioritised rest and sleep (at the expense of my poor wife who did every night feed for our two daughters) 

Fast forward to me being 26 and completing a diploma in nutrition. I was not required to do this, it was my own quest for improvement that led me to start investigating different ways to gain an edge.  

Over a ten year period I worked my way from the conference league (playing for Kidderminster Harriers FC ) all the way to the premier league – the most competitive league in the world.  

What I was doing in the dark was putting me in the light. 

I just wanted to write a little something today to encourage everyone who is working hard behind the scenes right now.  

You may not be getting the recognition you deserve in the moment, but don’t let that deter you. Keep going and remind yourself of the bigger picture of what it is you are working towards.  

You may not be able to see it now, but you will look back one day and be grateful for the sacrifices you made.  

If I can do it – so can you!! 

25 Responses

  1. Fantastic to read this Marc. Always love your positivity.

    Thank you. 🍒🍒🍒

    1. Isn’t it just Birky?? Shows what a great man he is off the field too UTCHEZ 🍒

  2. Marc you are such an inspiration. Such a good philosophy. One I really need to remind myself of sometimes

  3. Great words Marc. I honestly can’t believe it was 13 years ago. You’ll always be a legend at the 🍒, especially for THAT goal. “That’ll do it” ….

    1. Cheers David. I really can’t believe it was 13 years ago either. Will never forget all you incredible fans and how much I loved playing in front of you. Have a wonderful week 🍒

  4. I was just talking to my son in law over the phone about self improvement, then your tweet popped up. Couldn’t be anymore on point. Marc thank you for getting your point across so well, I feel sure he and many others will be emboldened to press on in their lives learning, improving, striving and sacrificing from the dark to the light. You are a great example.

    1. Thank you for your lovely message Martin. I am so pleased that it resinated with your call to your son in law. Pushing ourselves everyday to be the best version of ourselves is what life is all about. Have an amazing week 🙂

  5. Fine words deeds and persistence Marc. What a great story – yet unfinished. Reminds me of young Jack Stephens.

    To happiness and success in the future.

    1. Thank you John 🙂 Life doesn’t stop that’s for sure. We’ve all got to keep pushing and keep dreaming.
      Wishing you and the family lots of success and happiness for the future too.

  6. Agree totally with you Marc. Greetings from Wimborne. Visualisation is a great way of concentrating on a task whether it be sport or conversations.

  7. A lovely read Marc. So glad you came on the 🍒 journey to the top with its ups and downs. Admired you in the pitch, but so great off it too, as your story shows. Missed but never forgotten UTCIAD. Wishing you all the best as your non-playing career continues. #Puuuuuuugh

    1. Thank you for your lovely message Dawn, it is much appreciated. I will never forget you either. Thank you for all the support. Sending lots of love to you and the family.

  8. That’s a great read Marc, I have been a supporter since 1967 so was privileged to witness the whole Eddie era. Your words make so much sense. Hard work. Dedication and belief.

    For that incredible team and squad I’d say a good dose of humility and an absolute lack of entitlement.

    Your time here was a joy and it’s so good to see what you have done/ are still doing since you stopped playing

    1. Thanks mate, I really do appreciate the message. Hard work and dedication is a non-negotiable in all aspects of life if we want to be successful and reach our goals. Hope you and the family are all well.

  9. What a brilliant inspirational story Marc!

    Always believed that “it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you’re prepared to get up” even on the count of 9!

    I’m determined to make a positive impact by helping
    reduce child obesity by using the global power of football! #footballbitesback

  10. Marc,
    So glad you can look back at your footballing career, and at everything else you have accomplished, with a continued wish to inspire. You have certainly been inspirational, and both my husband and I feel that your efforts turned you into the best footballer we have EVER seen in a Bournemouth shirt, maybe even beyond that. You were, and are, awesome. We are so grateful to have been privileged enough to watch your Bournemouth career from start to finish. Thank you so much for hours of first class entertainment. Going forward, keep being the amazing person you are. You will always have a place in our hearts. Puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh!

    1. This message has made my day ❤️ Thank you so much for your kind words, it is much appreciated and a huge honour that you see me as the best footballer you have seen in an AFCB shirt. Hope you and the family are all well and you fans will always have a place in my heart too.

  11. Good luck to you, Marc. Absolutely loved watching a bargain signing from Hereford making a fool of multi-million pound international defenders on a regular basis! I took great joy in singing ‘Marc Pugh’s too good for you’ at them.
    I was a teacher for 25 years and your message of positivity and resilience is really important for kids. I need to remind myself of it sometimes too!

    1. Thank you for your lovely message, it really does mean the world to me 😊 I think we all need daily reminders to remain positive through the good times and the bad. Have a great evening mate.

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