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...meanwhile back home the fight to raise funds for MND goes on.

22nd January 2014

Motor Neurone Disease is a debilitating illness that took the life of former Boro hero Willie Maddren and recently former Rangers star Fernando Ricksen has been diagnosed with the same disease.

When I was refereeing I was well known for sporting a goatee beard. I brought it back during the month of November to try and raise funds for the society that works so hard to help people suffering from the disease. Please help me help them.

Article continues below...

The final match I attended in 2013 turned out to be yet another defeat for Boro, at home to Brighton. Typical inability to create and unable to defend corners. It could have been worse if I'd travelled up to Stenhousemuir only to have Rangers game postponed.

On a personal front family problems but at least that meant Oliver staying with us for almost two weeks; loved it but the 6.30am early morning nappy changing and feeding to give mother a chance of getting to work on time was taking its toll and couldn't wait to get on holiday.

First though my final gig of the year. Whilst enquiries to speak are coming in thick and fast this was hosting another big event on my own patch.

Marton Country Club in Middlesbrough was the venue for the second Up Close And Personal promotions charity sportsman's dinner. This time Barry Mcguigan, Dean Windass and comedian Lea Roberts, music from the Peverell Brothers and tons of fundraising all in one night.

This time for Sara's Hope, a north-east based charity that takes children and their parents away for a week's respite care. 380 attended and were very generous so hopefully a tidy sum was raised. Five hours sleep, then off to Newcastle airport for flight to Miami via Heathrow.

Check out The 'Christmas Cracker' Sportsman's Dinner for Sara's Hope Foundation by clicking here.

jeff winter
Waterside gaff in Fort Lauderdale currently on the market for 28 million dollars. Think I'm going to have to put my speaking fees up!!

Long slog made the worse by an arrogant old French woman who thought she owned the plane. She kept kicking our lass under the seat as she wanted to stretch her legs out. Didn't understand my English warnings but seemed to take notice when I referred to her as a "vache" and "couchon", silly old fucker. Could be another case for CSI Miami by the time we get to the other end!!

Smooth transit onward to Fort Lauderdale and booked into Hilton Marina for two night stay. 10.00pm by now or 3.00am in old money, but both gagging for a drink, even at hotel prices. 18 for a wine and a beer!!

jeff winter
Not the sort of sign you see too often in the UK!!

Saturday and instead of freezing my bollocks off at a game it was a day out in FL. Jumped on trolley bus down to the beach after breakfast then onto Olas Boulevard before a 90 boatride from the waterfront to see where the rich and famous live. One gaff by the water recently went for 28 million dollars!!

Pint of Guinness post river cruise at much more sensible price, still it's going to be an expensive holiday or as the Yanks say, vacation!!!

jeff winter
Another couple bite the dust!!!

Feet throbbing after walking so short trip to local restaurant was the plan. There was a fish restaurant about 100 yards from the hotel right on the waterfront, only problem was that it was across two inlets so it was a twelve dollar taxi ride to get there. Well worth it though, Canadian mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce followed by king prawns then key lime pie. Our lass had about twenty crabs legs and hopefully she handles me a little more gently than she did the limbs of the sea creature.

Talking of limbs, back in the hotel on the weather channel other parts of the US were getting a tornado and there were reports of "downed tree limbs blocking roads". I think that's branches to you and me.

Love these terms; getting used to "awesome" and "big job" and we've only been here a day. Talking of big jobs with all the food we're eating I'll be doing a few of my own.

jeff winter
Views to kill for.

Sunday and onto the cruise ship for two weeks around the Caribbean. I hadn't been anywhere with free wi-fi and still didn't know the previous day's results. Got a text to see if I was going to the Rangers game on Boxing Day. Might be a bit difficult!!

Another text from comedian Garry Marshall. Just in time as 3.00pm at lingfield was 10.00am here and I only got up at 9.00am. Clerk's Choice was the horse running but I was to have to wait a few days to find out the result.

Shuttle to our ship and first job was to get them to print me a copy of Britain Today, Sunday edition and a chance to check Saturday's football results. Fuck me, Boro won at Millwall.

jeff winter
Loyal subjects the world over, God Save the Queen.

Smaller version of the other Holland and America ships we've been on, indeed the smallest liner I've ever been on, less than a thousand passengers. As we departed FL we saw Allure Of The Seas that has 4,500 plus over a thousand staff!!

Our statement was ideal with full sized bath instead of normal tub that Oliver would barely fit in. Safety drill then an hour round the pool with first Bud then first Scrabble game with the "cheat" who makes up the rules as she goes along. Winning all the way until last letter where she pinches it by one fucking point.

Decent meal then first visit to the casino, forty dollars up!!

jeff winter
St Lucia, days after the flood. The football pitch is still in mud.

Monday and first port of call the small Half Moon Cay island in the Bahamas, tender ashore then on the beach and swimming. Idyllic, especially when reading of gales and rain back home. Only 15 Brits on our ship, but people watching and listening to the Yanks is good entertainment. The gobs on them makes me look quite reserved!

Text from home whilst sun bathing informing Blue Sea of Ibrox entered to run at Market Rasen on Boxing Day.

The island is evidently owned by the cruise company so they put a barbecue on at lunchtime which broke up the swimming and laying on the beach. Anniversary of my mother's death. Here's to you mother. xx

jeff winter
Another small lunch, took 50 minutes to arrive but well worth the wait.

Another Scrabble beating, this time by two points then dinner then a comedy show. The Yanks will laugh at anything, this guy would get crucified back on the after dinner circuit back at home! Casino and a five dollar profit.

The next two days are at sea, so basically chilling, reading, puzzles etc. Sometimes living the life I do it's good to do nowt!!

jeff winter
The statue of Sir Garfield Sobers outside the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Weather was good so doing nowt was even better. Actually won a game of Scrabble and my winning run in the casino continued, only a loan though as I'm sure that I'll give them it all back!!

Christmas Day and instead of chasing round family I just waited by the pool hoping that perhaps I might get a text and a photo of my Grandson; still waiting!!

jeff winter
Now that's what I call fresh, from the sea to the grill within minutes!!

Good start to Boxing Day - phoned up to place an each way bet on Blue Sea of Ibrox and my account balance suggested that the tip from a few days ago had won. So free bet on our horse who was wearing blinkers in public for the first time, hoping that they might focus her attention a bit.

It's not the same waiting by the phone to hopefully get a signal to listen to the commentary, having said that probably wouldn't have gone if I'd been at home, would have watched it on TV before going to the football.

From the commentary our horse ran a cracking race, sounded like she made a mistake at second last which probably cost her third place or better. Fourth but not knowing how many runners don't know if she was in the money. No good being in the sun without full information in front of you. Certainly sounded more promising than last run and her ultimate aim of being a chaser is still the target.

jeff winter
This was our mode of transport in the Dominican Republic.

Thursday and our next port of call, St John in Crux Bay, British Virgin Islands. Tender ashore then look round small harbour town before discovering the Tap Room, adjoining the local brewery. A pint of Summer Island ale slid down smoothly as I benefitted from their free wifi.

Half time in the Boxing Day games both Boro and Rangers 1-0 up and Pools 1-0 down. Off to the beach at Trunk Bay for a couple of hours then back to the pub, expecting to tune in and get the full times, but tight bastards only allow one free log on per day. Will have to wait till tomorrow to see the full times.

Only eleven runners at Market Rasen so each way bet down but should get a tiny amount of prize money and I mean tiny as well. It's disgusting and doesn't help defray the costs of having horses in training.

At least with the wifi connection all outstanding texts and mails came through with Christmas Day pictures of Oliver - well worth the wait. Wife had got me a calendar with the little fellah on each month, quality!!

Back on ship by 4.30 ready for 5.00pm departure. Tomorrow's another St John, this time in Antigua. We've been there before many years ago.

Met a couple at dinner last night, he's a Brit and his partner isn't she stressed, Southern Ireland!!! They work in Grand Carmen dealing with child abuse, which is evidently prevelant over there. At least their weekends are spent in good weather.

jeff winter
Another one bites the dust.

The last two night's shows have been very good but tonight is a Yankee illusionist type so we'll give that a miss. Alcohol levels in the state room topped up with wine purchased ashore and bottles of Stella from happy hour, happy days.

After my first losing night in the casino we woke in Antigua to get Britain Today and find out that Boro had held on. Two wins, two clean sheets, fuck me I'll have to stay away!!

Pools got a point at league leaders Chesterfield. As for Rangers they didn't even get a mention!!! Update on Irish team playing in Scotland but no mention of Britain's finest!!

Shared a taxi with a decent couple from Florida, went to Shirley Heights then Nelsons Dockyard before heading back to town. Absolutely gagging for a beer but bar's wifi not working so still don't know how the famous Glasgow Rangers game finished.

Bought her in doors some more tabs at 1.50 per packet. If she's going to kill herself she might as well do it cheaply!!

Bumped into some passengers from the Queen Mary. That ship would be no good for us, far too posh!!

jeff winter
Spending a day in Paradise in Grand Turk.

Wheels coming off in casino, another losing night wiping out previous profits.

Friday woke up in Isles des Saintes, Guadeloupe. French and they take euros, hopefully find wifi. Britain Today informs me that inevitably Malkie McKay has been fired at Cardiff City, foreigners that haven't got a clue about football are going to kill the game. Changing colours, changing names, sacking football people and giving their mate's jobs. Recipe for disaster.

I see Brendan Rogers has been charged with comments after Liverpool's loss at Manchester City. He's another "never defeated, always cheated" merchant. I wonder which Scottish team he has allegiances to!!

Mark Hughes charged as well, no surprise there either as he's another who likes a moan if things don't go his way. They don't very often but he still keeps getting jobs. If refs were sacked for making as many poor decisions as managers do we'd have no refs at all!!

The island was pretty but not too much to do. Another bar where after ordering drinks you discover that the wifi wasn't working. Back to winning ways in the casino, lasted five minutes in the show, truly awful singer!!

Met a guy who lives in Madrid but hails from Yarm, small world. Mid to late forties but with a leggy Russian babe twenty plus years his junior!!! Good luck to him.

jeff winter
Leaving Grand Turk behind as we set sail.

Sunday and St Lucia, been there before about 18 years ago. On Thursday they'd had a storm and flash flooding, weather back to normal but roads and one village we passed through showing adverse signs of the storm. Like the bridge washed away, a football pitch completely under mud and homes obviously ruined. Still the locals just smiled and got on with it.

Cruelly we were on our way to the real mud baths, of a sulphur variety!!! Cleanses and supposedly helps the skin and the ageing process, perhaps I'll be able to pull a Russian bird, though I think that's more to do with the size of your wallet than anything else.

News from back home. I had been approached by someone thinking of putting together an evening to raise funds for MND at Ibrox, big money for tickets and a bill using a few of the usual suspects and myself.

When asked about my expenses I just quoted the normal central Scottish rate plus fuel and a bed. The response was that they couldn't afford me this year.

Knowing the other guys they were approaching they wouldn't be doing it for nothing and they hadn't raised 4,000 for the charity themselves already. I get the feeling that they wanted me to do it for nothing. Some people take liberties !!!

jeff winter
Final night on cruise with our servers.

Our company on the trip around St Lucia were our next cabin neighbours. Realised my Mrs isn't that bad after all. Mrs Wank was a nightmare - decides to go snorkelling five minutes before we were due to leave the beach then moaned that we didn't have time to go to some poxy ruin.

Best night ever in casino and woke on Monday in Barbados with the tune "Oh I'm going to Barbados, palm tree palm trees" in my head. Wife couldn't realise why I was singing it to the tune and in the tone my loyal website manager loves so much.

The classic London night out ditty of "then I followed through". That will mean fuck all to anyone but I can see Steve Goldby roaring with laughter as he ploughs his way through editing all this. Thanks for another year of hard work and friendship mate.

Britain today informs of another Ashes embarrassment but Boro win again, three on the bounce whilst I've been away and our shitey defence yet to concede. Forget relegation - the play offs are on!! We'll see.

Pools also win away, still don't know how Rangers got on back on Boxing Day. Surely today I'll get to find a wifi that's working in the sunny carribean sea.

Monday and Barbados, an island we've been to a couple of times before. Wifi in terminal and the realisation that Rangers 100% record had gone with a last minute Stranraer equaliser. Well at least the 20,000 traffic dodgers will have missed the goal.

I suppose winning every single game was too much to hope for, that won't stop some whingers from having a go at Ally and the players. Seems like Rangers have taken over the mantle from Boro of conceding late goals.

A couple of hours touring the island saw us land on Sandy Lane where the hotel is 2,000 dollars per night. Didn't win that much in the casino!!

Back to the beach where we decided to have lunch at the lobster bar. A couple of Bank's beers slid down as we waited for our lobsters to die, boil and be got ready to be scoffed. Well worth the wait, a walk into town then onto the Kensington Oval for a couple of photos. Back to the ship and the now usual filling of empty lemonade bottles with rum and other spirits to sneak them onboard!!!

I forgot to mention, last night Ruskie had the shortest tightest dress imaginable adorned her tight little Soviet arse. She must have shaved because otherwise a different type of rainforest would have been on view.

The poor Indonesian waiters were hopping round on three legs. The old Yankee ladies were looking on in disgust and their husbands were growing boners like they'd never had in forty years.

The ship rocked thanks to little Miss Moscow as it was a case of eyes closed and think of Russia. I'll try and get a picture without being thrown off the ship and arrested. Still if it's a sex crime that is acceptable even my local church will be happy to cover up my desire for females over the age of eighteen!

Back on the Scrabble front a rare victory amid accusations of cheating. Excuse me, I was merely using the dictionary to confirm words that I thought existed and I think it is allowable to put 'un' in front of her long high scoring words; also adding 'ed' and 's' is perfectly acceptable. Think she might have been one of them in a former life, always cheated never defeated!!!

Good day ended badly though, Ruskie at dinner in jeans, okay tight fitting white ones, but she'd raised the bar so high!!! Even worse as we were still in port the casino was not yet open!!!

Back on form Tuesday morning as paper informed of a convincing Rangers win at Dunfermline. Super Ally saved until next misplaced pass upsets someone on the terraces that's never kicked a ball in their life.

Today we're in Port Elizabeth, Bequia, part of St Vincent's. Tender ashore for the last day of what's been an awkward year for me. Realisation of exactly how some of those nearest and dearest to me really feel!! Don't worry I'll have the last laugh, Bollocks to them Oliver makes it all worthwhile and only another three weeks till I see him again!!!

2014 and obviously Rangers will have won the league weeks before the end of the season. Can Boro mount a play off push? Will our horses start winning?? All to be revealed!!

Quick mooch round the shops then water taxi to Princess Margaret beach, so named cos the late royal used to pop over there from Martinique. If its good enough for royalty it's good enough for Big Daft Jeff.

Three hours on the beach, swimming and enjoying a sixty minute full body massage for 25. They were bringing live lobsters from the pods on the beach, boiling them, grilling them and serving them on the golden sands. New Year's Eve - this is the way to spend it!!

First text offering best wishes comes from Fetish Bob from Hartlepool, so called because, well work it out.

Back to the ship and a bit more sunbathing before preparing for the last meal and bet of 2013.

On the menu tonight surf and turf, lobster and steak. I'll be growing fucking tentacles before long!!

Unfortunately we dined late and by the time it took for our meal to arrive it was obvious they had ran out and were microwave defrosting more lobster, recipe for the shits or worse for a few days. Not happy!!! Should have had the fresh stuff in the beach!!

After dinner went into theatre and the majority of the aged passengers looked like they were waiting for a funeral to start. Fuck em, we had a good night.

New Year's Day, obviously missed breakfast and almost lunch as well. At sea so no rush. Another day sunbathing, twelve months ago to the day we were in Antarctica, so certainly warmer this year.

Find out Boro have drawn at Bolton, decent point away from home. Arrive in Dominican Republic for penultimate stop before end of the cruise.

On the quay were these natty motorbike drawn little buggies, that's the mode of transport for today. Ferried off up to the waterfall, then the beach. We stumbled upon a private beach were drinks were inclusive. Thank you very much. The presidents beer on the house, rude to say no.

Another swim in the sea then back to the ship, where for the first time we did afternoon tea. Also got told to dab my face with green tea bag, evidently it stops my beetroot impressions that I've been doing since we got out here.

Sat talking and realised that the next two weeks in one place is something we haven't done in over 15 years. We either cruise or do split centres or if Europe only take one week breaks. Hopefully there will be enough different bars and restaurants so we don't get bored. Going to be a hardship having to start paying for food!!

The final port of call - Grand Turk on the Turks and Caicos group of islands. Never left the port area, best shops and a free pool surrounded by loungers.

We copped for a very comfortable double bed with shade. Landmark beer very similar to Corona served with a slice of lemon. Very nice too, wifi so back in touch with the outside world.

Rangers had won 1-0 at Airdrie - bit different to the 6-0 when we were there on a Friday night earlier in the season. Found out that Boro had lost a two goal lead at Bolton with yet another last minute goal.

Hull are preparing to send a second string side to Boro in the FA Cup. I hope we stuff them - don't like Bruce, never have done. Totally overrated like many of the ex Manchester United players who get jobs gift wrapped. Total disrespect for the FA Cup.

OGS has taken over at troubled Cardiff City and evidently he's odds on not to last 18 months!! Nothing to do with his ability but more about the crazy Welsh club owner.

Final day at sea after ninth winning night out of twelve in the casino, surely I won't blow the profit on the final night? Managed not to so finished in front!! Good final day but ready for land now though.

Woke Sunday to find out that old wonky nose's second string were in fact good enough to knock Boro out of the FA Cup. With Leicester also knocked out my first game when home is likely to be the Foxes v Boro on fourth round day.

Also text advising that Blue Sea of Ibrox entered to run at Doncaster on Wednesday.

Are you planning a Speakers Evening or fundraiser? You can be assured that as well as speaking I will give maximum help to fundraising on the evening with my auctioneering skills, contact me regarding availability on

Just a thought, nowadays many smaller organisations have stopped doing Sportman's evenings mainly due to the economic recession and the increasing costs. If your club doesn't have the numbers to support the traditional speakers evening then why not book me for a one man show? I regularly do these, my normal After Dinner slot followed by a Q & A session and fundraising activities. I can assure you there is more than enough content to fill the night.

Have a good week.

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