Thursday, April 26, 2007

Alan Ball 1945-2007

I am not about to write about the late great sadly departed Alan Ball as if I knew him as a pal or followed his football career closely, for he was a 'World Cup Winner' 12 months before I was even born. However I have read much about him since his tragic death in the early hours of Wednesday morning to feel that without a doubt he more than deserves a succinct journalistic memoir in order to pay my respects.

Alan Ball's loss is as much England's loss as football's loss, judging by all the column inches devoted to him by the press since he collapsed of a heart attack at his Hampshire home on the 25th April at the age of just 61.
Ball will always be remembered for the part he played in England's only World Cup triumph. He was the youngest member of the team that lifted the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley in on the 30th July 1966.

Born on Victory Day, 12th May 1945, Ball overcame early rejection in his career when Bolton told him he'd never be big enough to play football.
He joined Blackpool in 1962, and six weeks after the World Cup, Everton paid a then record fee of £110,000 for the all-action aggressive midfield maestro. He then helped the Toffees win the League Championship in 1970 before being transferred to Arsenal in 1971 for £220,000, another record fee at the time.
In 1975 Ball won the last of his 72 England caps, skippering England to a 5-1 demolition of Scotland at Wembley.
He signed for Southampton in 1976, before joining the North American Soccer League in 1978.
In 1980 he returned to England and had brief spells with Blackpool, Southampton and Bristol Rovers before hanging up his boots in May 1983 after 975 first-team games.

His managerial career never touched the heights he enjoyed as a player. He managed seven clubs in 19 years including Southampton, Manchester City and Pompey.
Despite the ups and downs he never allowed his enthusiasm for the game to waver. He loved football and he loved life.

In 2000 he was awarded the MBE for services to football.

Ball's other sporting passion was horses. He was a racing aficionado. He would talk endlessly about horse racing, and could often be spotted among the crowds on a summers day at Goodwood or on freezing winter days at Fontwell.

Off the pitch Alan was a devoted family man. He was married to his childhood sweetheart Lesley for 37 years. They had three children - Mandy, now 39, Keely, 35 and son Jimmy, 31.
Tragedy struck the family in 2004 when Lesley died of cancer aged 57.
Alan Ball had also suffered personal tragedy back in 1982, when his father died in a road traffic accident.

Alan Ball was a gentleman, a real man's man and his place in the folklore of the game and the heart of the nation is secure. He will be sadly missed.

Sincere condolences go out to his family.

Alan Ball - Rest In Peace.

*England's current players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect for Alan Ball in their first game at the new Wembley against Brazil on the 1st June.

Friday, April 20, 2007

London BAR King - 'The Tattershall Castle'

As I sit here writing this post the sun is shinning, and in doing so it is also showing up my 'dirty looking' apartment windows.' On reflection I don't remember having seen my window cleaner for a good two months now, maybe more!
He is always banging on your door if you owe him a few quid, which doesn't bother me surprisingly, as he is quite a character and a betting man too.
He often gives me a horse to back which is a dead cert, although as everyone who enjoys a flutter knows - there is in fact no such thing.
However he bets big boys dosh and he wouldn't give you a donkey to back unless he had heard a whisper for it from someone on the inside.

The seasonal good weather means only two things to many. Firstly, the gyms are packed with once a year male members trying to lose their man-boobs, before they dare to unveil there shiny white torsos for the first time in six months, along with that group of fitness obsessed middle-aged women, who have been going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week forever, in the feint hope that once more this Summer they can get away with wearing a belt for a skirt and a crop top to expose their belly piercing!
Grow old gracefully I say, and that's coming from my goodself, a once upon a time gym fanatic and qualified fitness instructor.

What is it with women that when you ask them what social activities they enjoy the 'gym' is always in the top three, with the other two being swimming and pilates!

The 'gym' was once upon a time a home from home for men, where they could go to effectively preserve their masculinity and lift some weights in between chatting to other guys of the same ilk about 'man' things.

Secondly the tanning salons are empty as people try to achieve the 'real deal' even in April.

But in my world good weather means the opportunity to enjoy a bevy outdoors in the sunshine, be it in a beer garden or your own garden.
In my eyes take the opportunity now....who knows when we will see any good weather again....tomorrow, in a week, in a month!

Alternatively how about having a glass of something ON The Tattershall Castle.
Moored on the Thames, this refurbished old paddle steamer is a good place to go if your looking for a change of scenery and venue.
Drink up on the deck while the heat of the sun allows, whilst enjoying the panoramic backdrop of the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, then toddle off down below as the sun sets and it starts to cool off.
For those looking for a 'big night in' there is also a night club on board which stays open into the early hours.
Ideally located, 2 minutes walk from Embankment tube station, 5 minutes or so from Charing Cross mainline station, and only a 10-15 minute walk from the boat itself into the West End or Soho.

'The Tattershall Castle' makes for a great meeting place. It's very informal and relaxed, and with the sun on your back, a beer in your hand and the great views of London, it is a must-go venue for an early evening or post-work libation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

'The Lady & The Tramp' - Pounds Sterling OR Poundstretcher!

All hail Mr. Kevin Braddock. (writer for 'The London Paper')
After another lifeless day at the 'orifice' I was on the chuffer home assuming the bog standard bolt upright posture, among the sweaty armpits that filled the air and with my faced pressed to the glass door. Bored of the panoramic grey concrete landscape that was illuminating my journey I dared to open very carefully, with elbows tucked in, as if doing dumbell raises in the gym, today's copy of 'The London Paper' (10 April '07) that had been thrust into my sweaty paw at Victoria Station.

I was instantly drawn to his editorial headline (on page 25) announcing 'Rich Girls Don't Care Too Much For Money.' So after a few minutes of intriguing reading I knew this was well worth sharing.
But to avoid being accused of plagiarism I have 're-worked' the article to give it a more closer to home feel on my part, so as to share with you my own worldly but humble experiences of the article in hand.

Recently a fiery debate has reared its head in the press on the subject of who should pay on a first date, or should I say who doesn't pay?
Well while the debate rages on, let's examine the subject in more depth.

Dating is an old-fashioned expression for taking a chick you fancy out on the town, getting them fully loaded, pretending your interested in anything they are or better still their folks are, even if it is fly-fishing, and to declare that you are in touch with your femine side, so you don't mind doing girlie things.... all as long as in the morning you get to say that icon of all idioms......'there is a cab number by the phone, do what you feels right.'

Dating is not about taking totty home to meet your folks!

Lads: face it. Money talks when it comes to dating.
I have never met totty that has EVER 'admitted' to me anyway, that money doesn't matter. But not all totty is looking for a company director's salary!
Now this is where hope springs eternal for yours truly.

Starting a relationship on a 'financial budget style safeguard' is a a non-starter, and a sure fire way not to make it to second base.(Comparable with missing a penalty in the last minute of a cup semi-final).
You never get to go there again, and it lives within you perpetually.

Expecting women to pay, especially on a first date is like turning up to see your favourite team play the most important game of the year, only to find you have left your season ticket in last nights jeans.
Or equally complaining your date has turned up in high heels and a skimpy micro skirt
instead of a maternity dress and builders boots - No fun, no game, no chance!

But are we missing the point about money & wealth.
What the issue hides is a potentially 'awkward' conversation that draws one into the subjects of status, schooling, success, and therefore possibly being fairly or unfairly categorised on the basis of class.
Any mention of any the above subjects could lead one to an early night home alone!

If you want a relationship in which money is not top of the agenda then the answer is blindingly simple; date someone who is posh, or someone who is unquestionably filthy rich.

Well not long ago I went out with a lass who was in my world anyway seriously top totty, we are talking fit, designer clothes & shoes, expensive jewellery, all year round 'bona fide' tan, beautiful apartment here & abroad, convertible sports car.....oh and a great personality, no really & truthfully.

She wasn't interested in me for my wealth, prospects or breeding potential. I don't have any.
But to my astonishment she used to prefer to come round to my tiny one bed flat, rather than veg out in her gorgeous apartment where you needed a walking escalator a la airport style just to get from one of the living rooms to the downstairs cloakroom.
At mine we'd sit on the floor watching tv together, chill out, share a couple of half decent bottles of vino, talk title-tattle before finally hitting the sack.

The reason this 'Lady and the Tramp' relationship ended had nothing to do with cash - it was just I was keen, in fact very keen but she was not keen on the very fact that I was so keen - so let's just leave it at that!

The up shot of that relationship was that I was able to ascertain ways to seduce posh girls - or indeed rich girls - should the opportunity arise again.

The rules are as follows:

* Firstly, have no ambition or money (or at least appear that way, in a kind of audacious manner or bravado).
* Having long hair or at least unkept hair combined with a few days excess facial growth is an advantage.
* A well chewed roll up is a must, as is the smoking of illegal substances.
* Don't work and show no interest in the value of anything or even attempt to understand the meaning of wealth.
* Don't mention the subject of 'culture.' You don't do museums, art galleries or period furniture auctions!
* The less salubrious your dwellings the better. Hygienic is adequate.
* Don't be intimidated or overwhelmed by the prospect of weekend breaks to cities and/or resorts you can't even pronounce, let alone pinpoint on a map. Remember you went to school because you had to, not out of choice. Go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
* Last but not least try to be good fun, congenial, and easy going. This can be accomplished in numerous ways. Learn to play an instrument, however shoddily, take up amateur dramatics, write poetry, or at least leave romantic annotations lying around on post-it notes.

I have on one or two occasions for newly acquired totty of course,(now ex-girlfriends) been known to leave brief notes, not shopping lists, more chic romantic expressions of affection, on household mirrors written using lipstick in my own handwriting.
Inexpensive but incredibly effective, added to the fact that they were not my mirrors nor my lippy, so the clear up factor was er......not my problem!

All the above 'rules' guarantee that you fundamentally have no future earning potential no matter which way you try to dress it up.
Stick to these basic rules and a 'Princess' will be yours.

How else can you explain how Pete Doherty charmed quite literally the pants off the once, not so long ago 'attractive' Kate Moss, one of the World's wealthiest models?

Recently I put my class based seduction technique on the back burner and have begun to try and woo a cute chirpy check-out girl at a local Poundstretcher store. She refers to me as 'luv or 'mate' and I'm on the verge of asking her out for a meal to somewhere exclusive - 'Spud U Like' perhaps. The kind of venue that endorses ripped jeans, worn trainers, spiky hair and bottled suntans.

Like it or not money talks, providing the money is talking to the right individual.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007