By Jamie Carragher
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Additional info for Carra: My Autobiography
She was told I had spina bifida – a birth defect that affects the spinal cord. She was too religious to consider abortion, no matter how disabled I'd be. 'Our Lord told me to have the baby,' she still claims. She's very holy, my mum – at one time in her life she considered becoming a nun – and had already suffered two miscarriages before I came along. She's since had three sons – her holy trinity, if you like. That's a reward for extraordinary resilience and faith. She made all of us attend Mass every Sunday when we were youngsters, and she's still sure someone above has been watching over me from the moment I was conceived.
His response to my laughing was to belt me with his snooker cue. I'm always on my guard when we're playing pool now, just to be safe. My dad's family might have been home to some eccentrics, but Mum's side, the Vasallos, who were originally from Malta, were just as lively. Her dad, Paul, worked on the boats, and often returned with all manner of different goodies from his journeys abroad. The family even had a pet monkey at one point. My mum's mum, Ellen, is my only surviving grandparent, and I know how much pride she takes in all her children, and her twenty-one grandkids, and her six great-grandchildren.
This incident obviously provoked laughter, but generally these games were taken as seriously as Champions League qualifiers. ' It's the opposite of the fluffy romantic notion that says 'it's not the winning but the taking part'. Lombardi later tried to distance himself from the sentiments behind his famous line, concerned things would be taken to a dangerous extreme by more cynical, ruthless coaches. Perhaps he'd heard about my dad's antics. Whenever I hear the saying now, I think of my dad's career as a manager.