All in a day’s work for a sports nut
Our World | On 27, Jul 2011
This piece is about sport. Great sport. Three pieces thereof, that it has been my privilege to witness, while (so called) working. Having said that, it’s hardly a chore for a fan like yours truly.
Cricket: In the West Indies
I’m composing this piece on a flight to Antigua and the in flight entertainment happens to be featuring a TV programme on the sensational West Indies cricket team of the late 70s, early 80s. Now, Antigua happens to be the home island of one Sir Vivian Richards, the ultimate cricketing alpha male. Enough said really.
However, my cricket feast was at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica. It was the first test between the West Indies and England in early 2004. We flew over on a chartered plane from Montego Bay for the Saturday, the all important 3rd day!
The weather could have been better. However, we saw plenty of play and, if you’ve not been there, Sabina is like watching cricket in a multi storey car park. Nothing but concrete, Red Stripe and fried chicken.
If you’ve been to Lords and enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch on the nursery pitch – well, it’s absolutely nothing like that. In fact, Sabina is a million miles away from that. And we love it for the rock’n'roll cricket it delivers.
Incidentally, England won by a distance on the 4th day, courtesy of Steve Harmison’s heroics – by which time we were safely back in the delicious luxury of the Ritz-Carlton Montego Bay.
Football: Away to Lazio
I’m a Chelsea fan and if you aren’t, well, I apologise in advance…
It was therefore a delight (what I call a “pinch me” moment) to take Chelsea to Rome several years ago when we (they) played Lazio in the Champions League in the Olympic Stadium. I was responsible for the press party. Having almost run over the owner (brother Abramovich) on the way into the Stadio Olympico (almost a career limiting event), the boys proceeded to batter Lazio 4-0, which is pretty good away from home in Europe. The manager of Lazio that day was one Roberto Mancini, with a distinctly haunted look on his face. Now at Man City – enough said.
Motor racing: Just amazing
OK, I didn’t fly there but our clients did, on small planes from Biggin Hill. It was to Le Mans. Think about the 90 minutes of Grand Prix, then think about the 24 Heures du Mans. Just amazing! A number of points in its favour; June, hot, fast cars, parties, fun fairs, bière (note the French spelling), helicopters. Need I go on?
At the end of the race, two cars from the same team finished first and second only a matter of minutes (if that) apart. After 24 hours and goodness knows how many kilometres. You couldn’t make it up.
My then chairman (apparently asleep after the odd Stella too many) turned to me and told me that working for his company didn’t get any better than that.
And on reflection, he was absolutely spot on the money.