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4th August 2014

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.

The World Cup is over, sandwiched in between ten days in Portugal and a week in Tenerife. Now back to football.

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My first game of the season was Hartlepool's friendly at home to Sunderland which fell nicely after an afternoon at Catterick Races. Racing has taken a back seat this summer thanks to the World Cup but you can't beat a sporting day like this.

Steady if unspectacular changes at the Riverside and more incomings needed if any chance of a serious promotion bid. Rangers have strengthened on the field and should have enough to complete stage three of the return to the top division in Scotland, a division but for malicious unwarranted actions they should never have left.

Pools add a couple of former Boro players to their squad; they'll be changing their first team strip to red before long. Oliver is away with his parents on holiday this week, so a chance to get a few jobs done. Most important a trip up to Durham to see Cameron and pick up tickets for Derby v Rangers. Also spoke to the home club to get a car parking space.

Really looking forward to the game, not so much the match but the occasion and travelling support that will no doubt match last season's magnificent night at Hillsborough.

jeff winter
Match number One of God knows how many games I will attend this season, Hartlepool v Sunderland at Victoria Park.

Tuesday and Catterick Races, two winners and a forecast but a small loss incurred on the day, well small by my standards!! On to Pools, 5,617 including 3,252 visiting supporters who cheered like their lives depended on it, typical of the north east, great supporters, shite football teams.

The first 60 minutes were mundane, typical friendly, then the Mackems made 11 substitutions. Yes a completely entire new team, looked like their Under 21's but they were really up for it, unlike the older pros.

They ran in three goals, pity these youngsters are never likely to ever see first team duty, their futures are likely to be on loan at the likes of Hartlepool and that's what's wrong with our football. Gus needing instant success to keep his job will have to spend a grossly overpriced 14 million on the likes of Borrini rather than give Carl Lawson or Andrew Cartwright a chance!!

jeff winter
The last race for me at Redcar on Wednesday afternoon before heading to Victoria Park. Story of the afternoon another big priced winner that I wasn't on!

Funniest bits of the night in the press box was the stadium announcer stating that the 60th minute substitutions were the entire Sunderland team being replaced by another eleven players, sack him, he should have announced them individually. Ha ha.

Also update on the funeral of recently deceased Pools legend, transvestite Lawrence who evidently had, as was his want, changed his allegiance before his death to Crystal Palace. He was dressed in the Eagles kit in his coffin and during the ceremony, 'Glad All Over' was belted out. Sheer madness, wish I'd been there.

Visiting supporters will miss him, as he usually sat in the away end in pastel colours with a "nice" view of stockinged leg on show!! The Vic will never be the same again!!

jeff winter
As good as its gets for me musically, Heather Small in action at the South Tyneside Festival in South Shields on Sunday afternoon. I've paid a fortune to see her in the past, this time it was for free, but still as brilliant as usual.

Motor Neurone Disease is a debilitating illness that took the life of former Boro hero Willie Maddren and 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. So during the month of last November to try and raise funds for the society that works so hard to help people suffering from the disease it made a comeback before being removed at Ibrox stadium along with the hair on my head. The charity account is still open and I am still hoping people will contribute. Please help me help them.

jeff winter
Looking in fine condition with Dale Swift on board Lady Ibrox before her comeback run at Beverley on Tuesday.

Switched TV when I got in from the game, Commonwealth Games opening ceremony from Glasgow. Great to see Her Majesty there and the national anthem being played. Oh how that must hurt the people who normally half fill the stadium. Who was the dickhead from the council who felt the need to scream into a microphone??

Back to the football, match referee at Hartlepool was old colleague Nigel Miller, aged 54! Lovely man, an athlete whose fitness was always top class.

Under the European laws on ageism the former ref's retirement age of 49 can no longer be implemented, so as long as an individual can pass the fitness tests and is assessed to be performing to a satisfactory level they can stay on forever.

Some might say that nothing beats experience but the retention of ageing officials lessens the opportunity for others to come through and get experience!!

In the long term this is very harmful to the game in my opinion. The top guys are motivated only by money in many cases. Who can blame them?? Give up a 100,000 a year, would you?? I stand by what I said when I reached retirement age, time to go and give the next generation a chance.

jeff winter
Tuesday afternoon and Catterick races in the sunshine.

Thursday and an evening at the Darlington Civic, the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, then back to normal a Sportsman's Dinner near Oldham on Friday evening followed by an overnight stay before going to Spotland to watch Boro's friendly against Rochdale. My favourite ground as I rarely had a good game there, though many might say that they were a lot of other grounds that fell into the same category.

jeff winter
How appropriate, the 1690 bar at Beverley racecourse on Tuesday afternoon, unfortunately we weren't in there celebrating a victory for Lady Ibrox.

Friday and Micklehurst Cricket Club, thank God for Sat Nav, situated up a country lane half way up a mountain!! Small club house packed to the rafters with a great set of lads.

Working with Josh Daniels, good fundraiser for the club and good night had by all. With Boro playing at Rochdale, only 20 miles away I decided to stay over. That was fine, but Saturday morning to kill was arduous, at the ground by 11.30am, however as I know a few people at the club a bit of banter passed the hours.

jeff winter
WTF, Don't give me the excuse that your boots split in the warm up Mr Halliday and you had to borrow Tommo's, disgraceful a Loyal Bear in green boots Andy, you should be ashamed of yourself!!

A first chance to see Boro's new striker Kike, surprise, I can't remember the last time we had a forward who could hold the ball up, score goals and actually run!!! Early days but he does look promising.

Still very short in other areas though and with only two weeks to go until the big kick off a few more signings needed.

Great PA announcer as Rochdale as Cyril Smith, oops bad example, highlight of his down to earth approach was the mistaken naming of Jacob Butterfly as opposed to Butterfield. Think a new nickname might have been born.

Chatted to Andy Halliday before the game but was then amazed to see him come out in green boots. He tweeted me to say his had split and he'd borrowed a pair; lame excuse. Bin them and get a blue pair.

Boro looked sharp and led 3-1 ay half time thanks to two penalties. Had it have been a real game Rochdale would have been down to nine men, second penalty looked soft that's perhaps why we didn't get two far more obvious ones in the second half.

Big plus - the pies at Spotland, only 2 and very tasty. Like I need another pie, but it would have been rude not to try one. Nice little phone call form a pal and a 3/1 priced debutant romped home at Lingfield so stake money being built up for Lady Ibrox's return at Beverley on Tuesday.

jeff winter
Derby on Saturday and plenty of Union Flags on show.

Sunday afternoon and up to South Shields just to see Heather Small at the South Tyneside Festival, different class!!!

Monday and Oliver is back from holiday so the early mornings are back again, at least with the weather being glorious its easy to fill the day with the park an easy location to entertain him. As Southampton continue to liquidate their assets at least Boro are starting to belatedly add to their squad as another Chelsea youngster seems set to sign on loan.

Up to Sunderland to see Rock Of Ages at the Empire. At least the sight of a few stocking clad rock chicks dancing on stage helped ease the frustrations.

jeff winter
Oliver gets his early birthday present on Thursday, a new Boro kit.

Tuesday and off to Beverley to see the latest comeback of Lady Ibrox, fingers crossed that the vets have finally got it right and she can return to her former glories. She finished her race without any signs of her previous problems beaten only three lengths in fifth place. Both bank jockey and trainer were very happy with her but my bank balance was not quite so ecstatic!!

Redcar on Wednesday and another losing day at Redcar Races. With 66/1 and 40/1 winners only the bookies were laughing. Our stables two horses running did well, third at 66/1 and Red Shadow getting beaten the shortest of noses at 22/1. So near yet so far.

Straight to Victoria Park and Boro's friendly against Hartlepool. A very healthy away following, the second half played in semi darkness as the power failed. Before it got dark though another impressive stint from Kike and an even more impressive debut from James Husband. We're still short, especially in the form of a creative midfielder. Still there's ten days to go before the big K.O.

Day got even better as I got back to the car to hear that the Tim's had got battered. Happy days.

jeff winter
It's Pools v Boro at the Vic to end a good sporting day, racing, football, then news that the Tims had been thrashed in Poland. Not a bad day!!!

Thursday and another Oliver day. This week is ideal for me with possibly the best still to come on Saturday.

Another new signing for the Boro, its slowly coming together. Took Oliver to get an early birthday present, mind you everyday is his birthday with me. A Boro kit, with WINTER on the back, what number do you want the assistant asked: "I haven't decided where he's going to play yet", I replied.

My brilliant week got better as I had some extra time with Oliver on Friday, it was his Mam's birthday at the weekend so I paid for her to have her hair done which meant I got to look after him. Soft play for afternoon, everyone's a winner.

When Saturday comes!!! Much awaited and that's probably why I had a shite night's sleep. Awake at 3.00am and couldn't get back to sleep. Probably awake out of sympathy for my mates from Fife who were just setting off for Derby.

Thankfully not such an early start for me. Pick ups started at 8.00am, Kenny, Sarah and young Simon on board and offski. Kenny twatted his head on car door as he got in, good start!!

Cameron was on the phone from the Hawick bus already. His fourth bottle at 8.15am; going to be a long day!!

Breakfast for Kenny was a lump of duck that looked like a turd, probably was cos this man does eat shit, problem is that a few hours later it cones out and smells of shit. So glad the football season is back.

jeff winter
The banner says it all!!

The fact that we had a female on board didn't improve the language and Cameron's far from subtle suggestions on the speaker phone as to what we should do at the next lay-by helped us to get to know each other. She's been travelling to watch Rangers long enough to understand that she is one of he lads albeit a far more attractive one than my usual passengers.

Apart from planning travel arrangements the main topic of Kenny's conversation was his fascination of the concrete bollards and purple piping on top of them during the miles of M1 road works. Simple things!!

Smooth run down with very few Rangers fans on the road, they must be coming down the M6. Arrived early and parked in club car park and headed for Travelodge where Leven bus was parking. After eight hours on the road Scott was in a grumpy mood not helped by the fact they couldn't get into their rooms and the mini bus back doors wouldn't close.

They weren't worried their clothes might get nicked, more the off-licence situated under the seats. They would need that cos the prices inside their hotel were mental. I got four drinks in and that was 16 gone, also gone was the vodka by noon. Whoever manages that place should be getting their P45, Rangers fans in town and no vodka!!

jeff winter
Yet again Rangers magnificent supporters travel south and win friends with their amazing support and loyalty.

Short walk to the ground and coppers into the spirit of the day as fans borrowed their helmets and posed for photos. Reputation from Sheffield last year must have spread, slowly people are learning that the over hyped publicity of Manchester is not the norm.

Into the ground and as Rangers fans warmed up it was apparent that home supporters were in the minority; nothing new there then. It only took minutes for the locals to be won over as they stood in amazement at the numbers and volume if our support. A standing ovation as the "Four countries, One flag, One United Kingdom" banner was raised.

So to the football and 90 minutes of singing. Rangers started well and Aird missed what was to be our only chance of the game. Time fir a reality check, derby were a kick in the arse off being promoted to the premier league last season, we come from a country that despite all the hype about Strachan building a great future still has a shitey league with shitey teams and players, just look at the supposed champions recent debacle in Poland.

Many of our fans still can't get their heads round the fact that our players are what they are and not the men who have won countless trophies down the decades. That being said over the last two seasons we are probably the most successful club in league football in the world!!! As we know though that's not enough and many still choose to castigate the manager!!

The support though was magnificent although I didn't think it was as good an occasion as Hillsborough, don't know why, maybe because it wasn't a night match, they are always better.

Rangers competed but never really posed a threat, one up front away to derby was understandable but with Miller and Boyd on the books surely Ally will change tactics especially at home. He most certainly has to change personnel at the back.

Moshni has to go. His forthcoming suspension could be a blessing in disguise. He would have been booked and dismissed early on if this had been a proper game. Constantly caught out of position and in possession. First goal his fault, as we meet better opponents he's a total liability, thanks for your passion and involvement but time to get rid!!!

It wasn't a friendly though, full commitment and fortunately the ref was lenient, he had no choice though but to send our "Show boat Pony" off after he lunged himself at Chris Martin. What on earth made him do that? Maybe he reacted badly to the Derby goal scorer telling him that he is Fucking Shite!!

jeff winter
Derby supporters show their appreciation of Rangers travelling army.

Full time and the recognition of the locals at what they described on the social media as the best support they've ever seen. A great day out and for us locals a relatively short trip home. Back in the Boro for 6.00pm.

Boro had lost their final friendly at home to Villareal but like Rangers are unlikely to meet anyone of that ability during the course of the season. Two 2-0 defeats for my teams but not as bad as another thrashing for Norwegian Delia Smith's buoys. The way it's going for them there'll be even more empty seats this season!!

Cameron on the phone for the first time that evening as he dined at Burger King to put a lining on his stomach ahead of what was going to be a heavy night in Derby. Amazingly he rang me again at 10.00pm and was sober and sensible, not two words I normally use to describe him!!!

Sunday and a trip to Hartlepool to watch England Ladies play Sweden Ladies, no sexist comments needed thank you very much. The end to a very good sporting week.


Shock, horror, no racing, plenty of football though. Rangers v Hibs on Tuesday, Boro v Birmingham on Saturday and Rangers v Hearts on Sunday. Here we go - ten months of joy and despair. WATP.

Have a good week.

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