7 deadly sins….Lust

7 deadly sins of football

Cole saga – Chelsea, 2008
The footballer-love-rat splash has been a staple of the Sunday newspapers for more than 30 years. They come, they go. Then – thankfully – they usually just disappear. But sometimes they linger, none more so than the Ashley Cole/Cheryl Cole/random hairdresser scandal of 2008. Perhaps it was the fact that the Coles, in common with many others, had made great capital – and large wodges of cash – out of the public promotion of their wedding (via OK! magazine) and their marriage (witness the excruciating white-suited National Lottery adverts). Or perhaps it’s just a question of presentation. In 2006, Cole spoke out about his own treatment in the press. “People probably think I’m a little gobby shit. -But off the pitch I’m a totally different person. I’m insecure. I try to keep myself to myself: I’m shy and go into my shell.” Fast-forward two years, and the Sun newspaper reported: “Chelsea love rat Ashley Cole had a booze-fuelled night of lust with a blonde hairdresser. ‘He slapped my backside so hard his wedding ring left an imprint,’ says Aimee.” Always nice to see a man getting over his inhibitions.

Bikes….55 META XT


photo courtesy of Bike Radar – mine is covered in mud!


The all black french mountain beast is now 1 year old!

My usual weekend jaunts upto Afan Park have been the best offroad biking I have ever experienced – over the course of a year I have had no mechanical trouble and upgraded only a few items from the stock machine that I purchased online from Merlin Cycles:

  • Lock on grips – the stock items are rubbish – recommended upgrade for any offroad bike
  • 2.35″ Maxxiss Advantage rear tyres, have tried 2.0″ Larsen TT’s which are great for summer use but useless in the wet
  • Layback Thompson Seatpost
  • Custom White Vinyl Stencils – used to prevent cable rubbing and chain chaffing
  • XT SPDS / WHITE V8 flat pedals

In all a great bike, no trouble and the only gripe I have is that the paint wears off the FOX shocks pretty quick due to cable rub so be warned as you will need to get some black tape on them.  I also managed to bend the hanger after crashing a few times, the replacement is around £15 so no real issue there.

The white of the saddle is still white, albeit a little worn but I found that carpet cleaner works well to remove grime from the white leather and stitches – comes up good as new after every wash.

Money….share tip


I like to dabble in a bit of investing / trading / spread betting now and then through my online broker.

Here are some tips and a forecast for some of my portfolio for next week:

  • HAWK.L – going for the end game sale and rerating of SP – 100p minimum next week from current 47.5p  STRONG BUY
  • BARC.L – sublime 280p upto 300p target WEAK BUY
  • XTA.L – goes up and down daily like a French tarts drawers, with good support and resistant points far apart though aiming 700p target end of month WEAK BUY
  • BA.L – kamikaze profits = kamikaze SP, spreadbet down – SHORT

The Apprentice

sir_alanShock!  I got it wrong……….

Watched the apprentice last night and for the last few episodes I managed to pick out the task team losers and also the P45 receivers 4 weeks on the trot!  Turning up in the boardroom young Ben with nice guy James and tenacious Debra – Ben stood a fair chance of going through since the placid(!) Debra looked particularly venomous all night.  Unfortunately, Sir Alan switched off the light at the end of the tunnel for Belfast Ben and this week I got it wrong!

My hunch is Debra is going next week as she is too nice, listens to others and has a lot of fans.

Favourite to win is Howard or Kate.

John Hartson – Wimbledon

john hartson Photo: Gary M. Prior/Getty Images
Nov 07, 1999
My Dons dressing down – Wimbledon, 1999

Many people may not see the funny side to having their Armani suit burned, but John Hartson saw pranks like this as just part of the bonhomie at Wimbledon

* The Guardian, Thursday 21 May 2009

On my first day as a Wimbledon player I decided to come in nice and tidy, with my Armani suit on. To be honest, the label didn’t mean anything to the lads, it could have been from Marks & Spencer for all they cared. I went out to train before the press conference and a few of the injured lads – Ben Thatcher, Carl Leaburn and Jason Euell – decided to have a bit of fun.

At that time Joe Kinnear had paid a lot of money – £7.5m – to take me from West Ham to Wimbledon. Obviously that comes with its own pressures, but straight away that pressure was taken off me by how relaxed the boys were around the training ground. They were obviously very professional on match days and when we trained we did everything right. But, yes, there were plenty of antics.

We were coming back in from training and there was this almighty fire hanging out of the window. I was thinking, “Jesus Christ, the dressing room is on fire!” But there was no fire alarm going off and everyone seemed to be laughing their heads off. As I got closer to the dressing room I saw that it was my suit that they were actually burning. I just couldn’t believe it and, of course, it was all the clothes I had with me. I had nothing to put on after the training session so I ended up wearing a pair of Wimbledon training shorts to the press conference that day. I never got the suit back, I never got the expenses back, but that was all just part of it.

I don’t know who did it and I guess I’ll never find out. That was the Wimbledon way, what happened in the dressing room stayed in the dressing room. It wasn’t the kind of place to get angry. If you got angry or started throwing fisticuff s about the place you were soon pinned down and tied down and all sorts of stuff.

It was just the way the boys were and you had to take it in good jest. Whenever there were new signings after that I was one of the first to get involved. I couldn’t wait for the next signing so I could get in on the fun. We used to play all sorts of jokes – moving people’s cars from the car park and stuff like that. I was the only one who had their suit burned, though. That was just Wimbledon and even the chairman used to get involved.

Sam Hammam would come in the morning and the lads would have him up on the treatment table and they’d ruffle his hair and pull his trousers down and hide his shoes. Sam was just bonkers and you’d be looking around thinking, “well Jesus Christ, if your chairman is getting involved then everybody gets involved.” It wasn’t the kind of thing you kept quiet from the manager, the chairman, the tea lady or the kit woman – everybody was just on a roll at Wimbledon. That’s just the way it was.

It worked, too. It was the best team spirit I ever worked in. I played with Celtic under Martin O’Neill, we had some great times there – winning trophies and playing in Europe. But my days at Wimbledon were the best two years for morale and spirit I’ve ever had in my life.

7 deadly sins….Sloth

7 deadly sins of football

Terry’s fine mess – Esher, 2008

For most of us, parking tickets are a serious annoyance.  To John Terry, who earns in the region of £135,000 a week at Chelsea, they are a minor irritant.  Terry has had his fair share of injuries over the years, but he was fit and healthy in March 2008 when choosing to ignore a nearby 50p-an-hour car park to leave his black Bentley in a disabled bay outside Pizza Express in Esher.  The centre-half dined inside with his wife, Toni, and one-year-old twins for around two hours before returning to his car, signing a few autographs and removing the £60 fine notice on the windscreen.  He had earned £1,600 in the time he had taken eating, minus the cost of the meal.  An apology was subsequently offered.

7 deadly sins….Gluttony

7 deadly sins of football

Jones throws party and dwarf – Chelsea, 1994
Ah, Christmas parties. The silly hats, the cheap wine, the dwarf-tossing … In the early 90s the Chelsea squad made the mistake of allowing hardman stopper Vinnie Jones (now Hollywood star Vinnie Jones) to organise the players’ festive festivities, which combined the traditional venue of a west London pub lock-in with a somewhat more off-the-wall idea. “The idea was to pick up a dwarf and hurl him as far as you could,” said the Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino. “I had a go, but I can’t remember how I did. They were heavier than I expected.”

7 deadly sins….Gluttony

7 deadly sins of football
Clough’s champagne moment – Nottingham Forest, 1979
Brian Clough didn’t really bother analysing the opposition, so when he called his players for a team talk at their hotel the night before the League Cup final against Southampton in 1979, most wondered what was going on. They soon found out. Clough, sat happily next to a crate of champagne, locked the doors and told the players nobody could leave until all of it had been drunk. When John O’Hare complained on the grounds that he only drank bitter, Clough left the room and returned with 10 pints. Tony Woodcock had to be carried to bed. As always, the judgement of such a stunt would only be passed after the game itself. Forest won 3-2, with Woodcock scoring the third.

7 deadly sins….Envy

7 deadly sins of football

Clough overlooked by England – The FA 1977
There’s an enormous romance surrounding the fact that Brian Clough never managed England – ostensibly the ultimate example of the one that got away. Yet in reality, he was never close to getting the job. When Don Revie quit in 1977, Clough was interviewed only as a PR exercise, and the man who did get the job, Ron Greenwood, was so certain to do so that the FA did not even bother to interview him. The FA chairman, Sir Harold Thompson, was an intractable bully who had no intention of appointing someone who might make life difficult, like Clough. Those inclined towards devil’s advocacy might point out that Clough hadn’t won a major trophy for five years when the job became available. But even if this had been after Nottingham Forest’s two European Cups, and even if Clough had cured cancer in the meantime, Thompson would have had none of it.