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8th April 2014

One of those strange weeks with no live football or racing to go to. Very unusual. The only race meeting at Sedgefield on Friday unfortunately clashes with me travelling to a speaking engagement in Manchester. At last though a chance to get up to date with some outstanding admin and other jobs.

Not Monday or Tuesday though because they were my Oliver days, looking after the little fellah is the highlight of my life, that's for sure. Ask any Grandparent and they'll tell you the same. Monday though saw me taking the battered motor in for repair, could be without it for up to ten working days, so stuck with a little Kia as my courtesy car.

Monday night went up to Sunderland, not to see the West Ham game but to go to the theatre. Strange sat in a restaurant and walking through town with everyone in colours going to the game. Even stranger, some Rangers fans might think, was that it was the musical themed on the music of Rod Stewart.
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It was actually a very good show and got home without knowing the result of the Mackem's game. Watched their taped game and as the relegation trap opened I thought back to the conversation I had overheard in the restaurant, with some of their supporters discussing Championship grounds they hadn't visited. Think that they'll get to see them later on this year.

On the speaking point continuing dialogue with the club that have had a couple of CFC fans who are intent on getting the publicity to ensure that a forthcoming booking does not proceed. For legal reasons I cannot comment further at this stage, but sadly their local club will lose out financially. They don't realise that they can only see the fact that they believe they are doing me harm.

More positively I had contact from this week's event organisers. Evidently I spoke at the same venue for the same club about five years ago. They commented that in their opinion I was the best speaker they've ever had and also that I went the extra mile on the night raising funds for their club.

Regrettably the good news doesn't attract the headlines that the negative does. It does strengthen my view on the earlier problem. Ironically the initial booking that is upsetting a couple of people was made on the strength of an event I had done for supporters of the same club and they had been suitably impressed to rebook me.

Ce la vie, no one had died and life goes on.

Watched the Manchester United game on TV and it was amazing to watch the home side in defensive mood, however they got a decent result when not many give them an earthly.

jeff winter
Wednesday and at last I've got my Cup Final ticket. Hallelujah!!

Wednesday and an excellent day mainly because I picked up my Ramsden's Cup Final tickets courtesy of the sponsors with whom I have contacts via their involvement with Middlesbrough FC. Get in there. Fingers crossed, another bonus is that my tickets are in the Rangers allocation in the west stand. I'm not fussed about match day hospitality, I'm driving anyhow and would rather sit with the lads than be suited and booted.

90 for a football shirt!! That's ridiculous, but in a World Cup year Nike probably know that many will still fork out the inflated price.

Spoke to a couple of local businessmen who are keen to have me host/speak at their venues in the forthcoming months. Ideal, on the doorstep so no hours on the motorways. More and more people are looking at low key events without the sit down meals, keeps ticket prices down and makes it more affordable for the punters.

jeff winter
Unfortunately I couldn't get to the airfield on Saturday morning but Pico and friends triumphantly did the parachute jump raising thousands for Sara's Hope. Respect!

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.

This year from hell continues with my computer going slower than me in a 100 yards sprint!!

Different style totally from Chelsea against PSG, very un-Mourinho like and upon reflection they would have been much better keeping it tight. Whilst their adventurous style was much more entertaining than United's had been they paid late on for their cavalier approach and face an uphill task to stay in the competition.

Whilst watching the game my phone was busy, it's unbelievable that after weeks of concern as mates try desperately for Ramsden's Cup Final tickets all of a sudden as the fame approaches they seem to be getting sorted.

jeff winter
Rangers kick off, my last photo, I'll save my battery for the post match celebrations!

Thursday and managed to get another ticket for one of the lads that travels up to Scotland, three in the car now. News breaking that Sunderland seems to be getting away with playing an ineligible player. Now had Rangers have done that in Scotland we'd be back on our way down to Division Two!

It's actually amazing because there is a long list of clubs that have received points deductions for similar mistakes. If the Mackems do stay up we can expect legal action from any team that goes down instead of them.

Friday and off to Manchester and I think the early stages of senile dementia must be setting in. The venue for the gig was quite distinctive, Buile Park Hall, set in the middle of a park in Salford, the same venue as the previous event I had spoken at for Barr Hill JFC a few years ago. I couldn't remember it at all!

Almost 300 people in the room, including a former Football League referee from Blackpool who I used to work with when I was active. It was unbelievably the first time that I'd ever worked with legendary Comedian Mick Miller, good to work with MC James H Reeve, an avid City fan and broadcaster of repute in Manchester.

As is usual in Mad Chester the wannabe cast if Shameless were in, boisterous and initially a challenge, but one that with the aid of a microphone and a few well practiced lines were soon in order. Ironically those young men on the noisiest of tables contributed the most to the auction which is usually the case.

As well as raising money for the club we also raised funds for the trust set up following the death of a local twelve year old who had died recently. That puts everything into perspective!!

Good piss taking out of the United fans but I escaped intact after a very enjoyable evening. Mick Miller was comedy gold, including his legendary "Noddy" story!!

jeff winter
Woke up on Saturday morning to the view of the Theatre of Dreams from my hotel bedroom window in Manchester.

Back to the hotel for 1.00am for some kip before a footballing weekend, starting with the return of the Mac at the Riverside. Nothing in the game for us but important for Derby County. Unfortunately I could not make it up to Shotton Colliery to watch Pico and friends do their rearranged parachute jump, postponed last weekend due to fog. This time it went well and thousands were raised for Sara's Hope. Top guys, respect to them all.

Off to the Riverside, don't know if it was because I arrived later at the ground but there was a bit more of a buzz around the place, helped by 1,100 visiting supporters. Another afternoon watching a team bound for the playoffs that weren't anything special at all, just what could have been if we'd been a slightly above average team ourselves.

I think I could have played in goal for either side as both keepers had very little to do. Lee Tomlin was a disaster in the first half, wayward passes and when he was presented with a clear cut opportunity he side footed it to the keeper. Perhaps he should have gone to Celtic, the SPL is probably his level!

One bit of quality, Boro score and that's it, three points in the bag and yet another clean sheet. Karanka's Boro could be there or thereabouts next season with the right signings but I doubt very much if it will entertaining to watch. Steve McClaren was unhappy with his team after the game but he was grateful for the excellent reception the Boro fans gave him pre match and suggested that was the only highlight of the day.

Biggest own goal/gaff of the day was the unannounced minute's silence that threw everyone in the stadium into confusion. Post minute the stadium announcer informed us that it was to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hallgarth school in which my own daughter was wounded, thankfully not resulting in the same fate that befell 12-year-old Nikki Conroy, who died on that sad Monday morning.

Forgetting how close the incident is to my heart, the fact that the club mismanaged the show of respect so badly was abysmal. I hope that lessons have been learnt and that in the future more thought can be put into matters similar to this one.

jeff winter
Magnificent banner, magnificent support pity about the shitty team!!

Couple of small interest bets in the National but they, like my football bets for the day, did not come to fruition, so off into Yarm to drown my sorrows and enjoy a nice meal at the local Italian, Santoro's.

Sunday and awake totally unnecessarily before 6.00am. Not leaving for Edinburgh until 11.00am. Its Ramsdens Cup Final Day.

Numbers were good travelling from the north-east, but because of the uncertainty of getting tickets many had made independent travelling arrangements. That left three for my car, just as well, as the courtesy car provided by the crash repair centre could not have taken anymore. I was virtually sat on the back seat, there was just about enough leg room behind me for Oliver to squeeze in but at 18 months old I decided that he'll have to wait a little longer for his first Rangers Cup Final.

The second leg of a possible treble and the achievement of the Charles Green minimum league and cup double for Super Ally. James, Ken and myself of board and apart from getting stuck behind a caravan or two a smooth run up to Musselburgh for a memorabilia drop before hitting Edinburgh and getting a good parking spot close to the ground.

Very helpful police and traffic warden made the job easier. Though did wonder if the car parking dictator was setting us up by saying yes then doing us after we'd gone!!

Headed for the Masonic Hall on Leith Walk, as we passed a pub a familiar voice was heard, Cameron, already well on the way to being totally wasted. Call me old fashioned, maybe its cos I'm always driving but I just don't see the point of getting so arseholed that you can't even remember the game.

He was not the first, indeed another couple of friends of mine were wobbling a bit in the Hall and as usual the Leven lads were doing disappearing tricks with copious numbers of glasses of spirits various. I fully appreciate that alcoholism is a statutory requirement on the CV of any Scot, but some youngsters were going too far.

Include in that category the barely looking eighteen year old who was sat in the row behind us in the ground. Completely ratted and just sat there spewing through his hands onto his clothes and even worse down the back of the seat that someone had paid 20 to sit in.

Hibs save money by not having stewards because of their ticket scanning turnstiles but these fail to spot and refuse entry for those that are clearly pissed out of their heads. You'd get arrested in England, in Scotland there wouldn't be enough cells!!! Mind you perhaps it helps to endure watching the current team if you are drunk!!

jeff winter
Sunday and its Ramsden's Cup final day, 90 minutes away from glory!

Prior to that at the Masonic Hall a very warm welcome from smartly dressed committee men; its nice to be nice. Signing in and unfortunately the village idiot got involved and very nearly got a slap for being officious over the signing in procedure that the lady and gent sat behind the desk were clearly more than capable of dealing with.

Quick pint, picked up additional ticket required for James, then embarked upon the five minute walk to the ground. I should know by now not to trust Scott's estimation of time and distance, I think he bases it on Usain Bolt's speed. Never mind into the ground and despite Spewy Lewis behind us it was good to see the brilliant banner in our normal away end and as usual three sides of the ground full of Rangers fans.

As seems to be the norm I get seated close to some dickheads who by the questions they were asking their host clearly were attending their first Rangers game in a very long time, probably since the last Cup Final.

A couple of English accents and as well as not knowing our players they knew fuck all about football either. One stating that it was an embarrassing decision when Stephen Smith took a yellow card for the team by blatantly body checking an opponent after yet another Show Boat Pony's error. My comment that he obviously hadn't ever played the game brought no response.

Pre match the atmosphere was electric, the fans up for it, expectant of the second leg of a possible treble. The first half though was the worst 45 minutes of a Cup Final I have ever witnessed in my life. As per usual the opposition got eleven men behind the ball and as we know when that happens Rangers don't have the pace, width or creativity to break the opposition down.

Half time and we witnessed the fact that the future of Scottish football is in safe hands. Okay it can't be easy for 13-14 year olds in front of nearly 20,000 people but their collective inability to score goals when running unopposed from the half way line doesn't say much for the coaches responsible for them.

jeff winter
Saturday at the Riverside and Derby bring 1,108 supporters to the Riverside as the game kicks off. Their chant to the Boro fans of "Your support is fucking shite" in terms of numbers couldn't be argued with!!

The first sixty seconds of the second half produced more action than the whole of the first half. Hopefully Ally had got stuck into them but the improvement was short lived and as the game progressed Raith suddenly started to believe in themselves realising that Rangers could not hurt them. They were quicker and were starting to look the more likely to break the deadlock.

Rangers were clueless, the aforementioned referred Moshni is a fucking liability, good in the air, but on the deck he is not the world class superstar that he thinks he is. He's actually an embarrassment and as the quality of opposition improves next season he has to be jettisoned to a non league side in England were his ability might find its level.

Daly has had his day, mind you what the fuck is he doing playing upfront against Raith Rovers? With respect to them they're not Bayern Munich. Fraser Aird couldn't run past or around his man, Nicky Law a shadow of the player from earlier this season. Don't get me going about Ian Black, never liked him, did we when he was at Hearts, now he's one of our own we tolerate him.

In fairness he could be punch drunk from the number of times he's been kicked this season, but he offered little. His petulance in kicking the ball at the referee saw him very lucky not to be sent off. He wouldn't have been missed. If only Raith had scored in normal time it would have at least of saved us of another half an hour of ineptitude.

jeff winter
Return of the Mac to the Riverside on Saturday afternoon, as his side slipped to defeat perhaps he was wishing he had Massimo Maccarone to throw on for late drama.

A Nicky Law effort that hit the cross bar was as close as we got before Raith's winner. Felt a bit sorry for them, receiving their trophy in an almost empty stadium, at least I think that's what happened as I'd gone by then with 15,000 other Rangers fans.

Credit to Raith on the day, they wanted it more. That is the reality and we now know that against a far from leading light in Division One we hadn't a clue. Many changes are needed for next season if we are to get back to the top Divison. Does that include the management?

I am loyal to Ally and in fairness to him he is only doing what he was taught under Walter but there needs to be a change of style, wide players with pace pinging crosses into the box has to be the way forward.

Winning with style is what the fans deserve. Rangers make Boro look like Barcelona, making reference to my home town club makes me remember that the defeat is also denying us a pre season Ramsden's Final between the two clubs I love. Bollocks and a three hour drive home.

All I needed after that was to turn the TV on and have to listen to Lemmon put himself in the shop window for the Norwich job!! Of sorry I forgot he's happy at a very stable club. Mind you as much as it's so, so easy to dislike him he did actually sound as if he knew what he was talking about, well at least when he acknowledged the talents of Stephen Naismith. Remember when we had players of his quality!! I even long for the Steven Whittaker and Kirk Broadfoot, well maybe the last one is stretching it a bit too far.

Dundee United up next and the realisation that the season could effectively be over by just after 2.30pm next Saturday. Mind you against a team that won't set out to contain us we at least might have room to attack them, oops that's if we discover pace and width in the next few days.

jeff winter
After a heavy session following the march in Scarborough, Scott and his new friend take a little nap. How cute!!! The bear that is not Scott.

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.


Tuesday night sees Boro entertain Birmingham City, Wednesday its Catterick races and Saturday an early start for neutral Ibrox for the Scottish Cup semi-final against the Arabs.

Have a good week.

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