A tough one to start. Robin Hutchison and I look after B2B at Square in the Air. At least I think I do.
Gallons of tea. A to do list that never gets shorter. And the picture of Winston Churchill which sits next to my desk. ‘KBO’, as he used to say: ‘Keep buggering on!’
In the days when I was allowed loose on B2C, not long after I’d joined SITA, my former employer Ladbrokes recruited us to help promote their sponsorship of the PDC World Darts Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace. It was an Olympic year and I persuaded my village blacksmith to make an Olympic torch in the shape of a giant dart. We then convinced a very sceptical Adrian Lewis, the reigning world champion, to pose for pictures outside the venue as the gas burner powering the guttering flame hissed ominously next to his face. The no doubt flammable gold paint hadn’t yet dried and he ended up looking like King Midas. Had king Midas hailed from Stoke on Trent. And that’s why I now do B2B!
I used to play and now watch as much as I can, whilst passing on what little I know in the form of coaching to my youngest daughter’s under 11s team, for whom I umpire too. I’m a Derbyshire supporter for my sins and follow every ball on ESPN Cricinfo when I can’t be there, which is most of the time, sadly. In the unlikely event that I got a call-up, I’d be pretty confident that I could throw down the required number of legside wides to make an illegal betting syndicate a fortune in the last over. Always happy to help.
Alive or dead too, I hope. Maradona was my favourite player growing up. He was mesmerising during Mexico ‘86, which I devoured as a ten-year-old. He beat teams single-handedly, including England, sadly, and we could do with that right now. I still watch this video of him warming up at Napoli from time to time as it combines my interest in football during the era of uncomfortably tight shorts with trashy European pop music. It’s worth noting that he doesn’t at any point have his laces tied up.
I really like Islay whiskies and Bunnahabhain takes some beating. But a friend and I have a barrel waiting patiently in the dark for us at another friend’s distillery and we’re hoping it may be THE one. Time will tell. My favourite dram of the year is a 15-year-old Glenfarclas when I turn off my computer on the last working day before Christmas. It’s Christmas pudding in a glass. I think people should drink it in any way they prefer. I’m not prescriptive. I like mine neat, or with a little water, which brings out extra flavours.
My hero as a child was Ted McMinn, an entertaining if unorthodox winger who played for Derby and my family’s team Rangers. I watched him score a worldy on his debut against Manchester United in a snow-storm whilst standing on a milk crate at the Baseball Ground. In the days when taking a milk crate into a football ground was considered normal. Years later a friend organised his testimonial match after Ted tragically had to have his leg amputated. He had just cycled from Glasgow to Derby using his other one. I persuaded him to let me write his biography and we launched it at Ibrox. Here’s us in the trophy room, watched over by the legendary Bill Struth.
I’d like to have been a fly on the wall in the Downing Street garden on the afternoon of 27th May 1940. France has just fallen and the Foreign Secretary Halifax is convinced we need to sue for peace with Hitler and Mussolini. Nobody knows what was said as they walked around, or what Churchill had over Halifax, but the new Prime Minister persuades him that Britain needs to do its duty and stand up to facism. The world would have been a very different place had he not. Sadly, it is the same garden in which Boris Johnson hosted cheese and wine parties when the rest of us were in lock down. I guess freedom remains a fickle thing.
Here’s a praying mantis on a leaf in Greece, where I went on holiday. They’re cool customers and have a very calm and considered approach which would be useful on client calls. They can rotate their head 180 degrees and the female often eats the male after sex. I don’t see why she can’t just have a cup of tea and a fag like everyone else.