David Parkin on career envy, a racing winner in the Dales and a sales success

David Parkin on career envy, a racing winner in the Dales and a sales success

GIVEN that the last time I went to a Test Match I saw one wicket fall all day, I hoped I might see a few batsmen out at Headingley last Friday. On top of watching Jonny Bairstow achieve an emotional 140 we saw 15 wickets tumble during the day as England were bowled out and then proceeded to skittle through the Sri Lankan team. And the company was good too, with Eversheds main men Robin Johnson and Paul Cotton great hosts for a relaxed day sitting in the East Stand. The atmosphere around us was jovial – other than the odd bit of tutting from Yorkshire members annoyed at fellow spectators getting up to get a pint or answer a call of nature during an over. I’m assuming they were Yorkshire members – the Millets anoraks and Mother’s Pride sandwiches in ice cream tubs probably gave them away. I don’t know what they made of our pre-prepared lunch in Eversheds-liveried cool bags. Although a salad of olives, artichokes and oranges was almost a step too far even for my experienced palate. But washed down with a good pint of Black Sheep bitter and anything tastes good. It was good to catch up with Robin Johnson, an international dealmaker extraordinaire, but a man who is as loyal to his smaller Yorkshire-based privately owned clients as he is to the many multi-national corporations he deals with. It is a skilled balance, but he achieves it with an enthusiasm that defies long hours, jet lag and and not enough time spent with the family. He once told me he envied the “good...
David Parkin on shooting for the moon in a balloon, dodging flak and an entertaining approach to risk

David Parkin on shooting for the moon in a balloon, dodging flak and an entertaining approach to risk

WHAT do you get if you put multi gold medal winning decathlete Daley Thompson, rugby league great Kevin Sinfield, World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore and pioneering Victorian mountaineer Edward Whymper into a hot air balloon together? Well, a great charity night out for one, and secondly a fiercely competitive debate as the advocates of these sporting heroes attempt to use their verbal dexterity to keep them in the imaginary balloon basket when only one can stay there. You don’t really know what to expect when you gather a quartet of sporting and media personalities and let them loose in front of an audience of business people. Athletics great Steve Cram, rugby league favourite Jamie Jones-Buchanan, mountaineer Alan Hinkes and journalist and broadcaster Martin Kelner didn’t disappoint at the annual Yorkshire Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate on Wednesday. The Balloon Debate concept is quite simple if you’ve seen it work before. It is based on the imaginary idea that four sporting heroes are in the basket of a hot air balloon which is thousands of feet in the air but losing height. Only one of the four sports people can remain in the balloon basket if it is to reach the ground safely. The four speakers try to persuade the audience to keep their sporting hero in the balloon over a series of three rounds until a winner is declared. Never mind the sporting heroes, all of the speakers at the Queens Hotel in Leeds boasted serious pedigrees too. Steve Cram CBE is recognised as one of the finest athletes of his generation. He is a World, Olympic, European and...
David Parkin on mixing business and pleasure, networking as an art and football failings

David Parkin on mixing business and pleasure, networking as an art and football failings

SO there I was at a rugby club beer festival talking high finance, high fashion and in high spirits. I’m really warming to the idea of business development opportunities at beer festivals, but I think I need to go to a few more before I’m completely sure. Historic Leeds rugby club Leodiensian RUFC held their annual beer festival last week, better known as Leosfest. I was a guest of, FDYL, once known as Finance Directors Yorkshire Ltd, but now revelling in the freedom that abbreviation brings. The FDYL team, who we are working with on an upcoming event, are a talented and entertaining group to spend time with. Neil Muffitt, James Roach and Mark Raven boast strong pedigrees as finance directors and great knowledge and contacts which has seen them build up a network of FDs and financial controllers ready to take on assignments ranging from part-time and full-time to interim roles. The Muff, the Roach and the Raven: it sounds like an adult version of an Aesop’s Fable. Guests at the event were a diverse crew – from a plastics entrepreneur with a line in good jokes to a financier who had put funds into a high street retail chain. It was good to see Tim Brear of Harrogate-based financial planners Brook Dobson Brear as the conversation and beer flowed in the early May sunshine. I wandered inside the club house to replenish my glass and complimented an older gentlemen wearing a rather flamboyant paisley shirt. “Is it Duchamp?” I asked. “No its the best former table cloth in the business,” bellowed the plastics entrepreneur, who was sitting...
David Parkin on fairytale sporting success and why Mr Benn is his polar opposite

David Parkin on fairytale sporting success and why Mr Benn is his polar opposite

LEICESTER City’s unlikely Premier League success has highlighted that sporting glory is not just confined to football in that East Midlands city. Leicester Tigers have been a force at the top of rugby union for many years, the city’s basketball team have won the English division and local boy Mark Selby was crowned World Snooker Champion last weekend. Contrast that with a much bigger city also beginning with L about 100 miles north of Leicester up the M1. Sporting success is at a premium in Leeds. The Leeds Rhinos, who gloriously won the treble last year, are currently propping up the Super League after a dismal start to the season. Yorkshire Carnegie are a well run club in the second tier of rugby union but struggle to get anywhere near the crowds of their league neighbour. And Leeds United. It’s not so much football as pantomime most of the time at Elland Road under eccentric and erratic Italian owner Massimo Cellino. He’s probably spent more money in employment tribunals than on players so far this year. But there is a bright shining light on the sporting horizon in the compact form of boxer Josh Warrington. He’s an unbeaten featherweight who most pundits believe is two fights away from fighting for the world title. And if his Matchroom promotional team can deliver it, he’d love that fight to be outdoors at Elland Road where his beloved Leeds United play. I met Josh last week ahead of a lunch at the Foundry restaurant in Leeds organised by my old chairman from TheBusinessDesk.com, Chris Jones. Chris’ friend, Nick Ryle is raising money...