David Parkin on why bottom of the league are top of the class, a hardy perennial blossoms at the Masters and getting hits with the ghoulies

David Parkin on why bottom of the league are top of the class, a hardy perennial blossoms at the Masters and getting hits with the ghoulies

IF my host at last Saturday’s match between Huddersfield Town and Leicester City had invited me to make himself feel better, then he didn’t mention it.

The West Yorkshire club were playing their first game since their relegation from the Premier League was confirmed by a 2-0 loss at Crystal Palace the week before.

Their lowly points tally and number of goals scored makes the Terriers one of the worst teams in Premier League history.

But not the worst.

That was my team, Derby County, who were relegated with just 11 points in 2008.

But my host, Jason Taylor, commercial director at Orchard, the facilities management and energy group, and other Huddersfield fans and officials I met at the John Smith’s Stadium were far too nice to mention it.

They have had some time to come to terms with relegation during their second season back in the top flight.

But that doesn’t make it any easier.

So I was delighted that conversation around our table over lunch in the White Rose Club centred on the best pie shop in Wakefield rather than a forensic study of either of our football clubs’ recent fortunes.

When it comes to pies, Andy Needham of Approved Foods, Britain’s largest online retailer of clearance food and drink, is an aficionado.

Football is a funny old game, as dear old Jimmy Greaves used to say.

Fans often enjoy the misfortunes of their closest rivals almost as much as they do the success of their own team.

And I’ve always found it a bit odd that certain rules apply in the sport that don’t quite work elsewhere.

For instance when someone in football admits a mistake, is generous or generally does the right thing it is often described as “a classy gesture”.

You don’t need to use this cliche about those at Huddersfield Town.

They just do the decent thing anyway, not for the plaudits, but because it is right.

From chairman Dean Hoyle down, it is a club that does things the right way.

I chatted to commercial director Sean Jarvis after the 4-1 defeat to Leicester and he was charming and enthusiastic when he could very easily have been sullen and downbeat.

That bodes well for next season when the Terriers and their German manager Jan Siewert will be in the dog-eat-dog Championship.

:::

BILLY Foster is a down-to-earth Yorkshire lad from Bingley who admits he was an average golfer who has become a decent caddie.

In a career that is into its 30th year, Billy has carried the bag for a who’s who of great golfers – Hugh Baiocchi, Gordon Brand Jr, Seve Ballesteros, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods.

Just a few days before flying out to Atlanta to caddie for 24-year-old Sheffield pro Matt Fitzpatrick, who played in the 2016 Ryder Cup and is currently ranked 35th in the world, Billy Foster was in Leeds to speak at a lunch organised by Paul Miller of Black Orange Management.

There are loads of good former footballers and rugby players that are excellent speakers but a lot less from the world of golf.

So I was interested to hear Billy, who has a great reputation, speaking at the lunch at Brazilian steak restaurant Fazenda.

He has a relaxed delivery, a wry humour and tells a great story featuring a who’s who of great names from the world of golf

His tales of combustible genius Seve and Colin “Mrs Doubtfire” Montgomerie were hilarious.

It was made even better by the fact he was just days away from striding the lush, magnolia and azalea-lined fairways of the Augusta National Golf Course.

My Dad always used to say you knew spring was hear when the Masters started – all those glorious views of blossom, flowers and greenery was a much needed fillip after the cold winter months.

Billy Foster’s tips to win the tournament are Rory McIlroy, who he said is playing the best golf of his life, Louis Oosthuizen, Jon Rahm, Ricky Fowler – and Tiger Woods.

I didn’t have a bet, not because I didn’t agree with his picks, but so I can watch the final round on Sunday evening and just enjoy the golf and the scenery and seeing the best man win.

:::

I’VE mentioned the talent of my football host, Jason Taylor, before.

He has a certain set of skills – he is an inveterate collector of photographs with celebrities.

He has got photos with all the stars – the Chuckle Brothers, the Krankies, Su Pollard, Nookie Bear.

Three years ago he was at a Huddersfield Town match when his friend spotted former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane across the room.

Given it was Jason’s birthday, his friend approached Keane and asked if Jason could get a selfie with him.

“What is he, f***ing 10?” the former Republic of Ireland international replied.

“No, I’m 45 actually,” replied Jason, smiling sweetly as Keane scowled and then, as others asked him for pictures, he stormed off saying” “You’re just a bunch of f***ing fame mongers.”

Jason said it all happened so quickly there wasn’t even time to offer him a prawn sandwich.

:::

 

LAST week’s blog mentioned a tweet I received from a disgruntled former drummer in heavy metal band Maineeaxe.

Les Charneca, the chairman of events company Barker Brooks which banned me from the Yorkshire Legal Awards last year, appears to have now become a devoted reader.

I’ll take them where I can find them.

Anyway, Les read the piece and dropped me a link to a Wikipedia listing, accompanied by the words: “Well the guitarist did OK!”

Grant Kirkhope, who was born in Scotland but grew up in Knaresborough, was the guitarist in the aforementioned Maineeaxe before becoming a BAFTA nominated composer of soundtracks for video games that have sold more than 30 million copies.

Given that some video games have the budgets – and importantly the sales – of Hollywood blockbusters, that isn’t a bad business to be in.

Some of the soundtracks were for games I had heard of like the classic Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo and a version of the famous Donkey Kong for the old Game Boy console.

There were others that probably aren’t household names.

Like Fart Cat! and Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

Have a great weekend.

 

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