I was interested recently in an internet discussion regarding famous or well-know personalities that people had met. Considering that I’d never really met anyone of that ilk I began to think about the subject. I should add as an aside that I’m really poor at recognising well-known people – celebrity spotting is just a concept that doesn’t occur to me.
My first job on leaving school was working at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham. Being a Test Match venue you’d get to meet some legendary players and I spoke to the likes of Garry Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Geoff Boycott, Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Colin Cowdrey and so on, too many to mention.
During the Tests in particular there’s be a fair smattering of celebrities taking in the occasion. One of the best known I met was John Le Mesurier of Dads Army, Sgt Wilson fame. He was pretty much Sgt Wilson too, cravat, blazer and all – a true gent who was kind enough to have a good chat with this 16 year-old whippersnapper. I almost expected him to come out with ‘I say, do you think that’s wise?’
John Le Mesurier
Back on sporting types, I met former Scotland international, John Robertson one time. (The great one that played for Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough). Visiting my brother-in-law’s garage he stated that there was someone out the back I might like to meet. Robbo was filling in time delivering cars whilst in between jobs so I was pretty staggered when I saw him standing there. You have to understand that he has pretty well legendary status in Nottingham and is part of local football folklore here being a double European Cup winner. I had quite a few questions for him and we had a really good chat. A great and yet very ordinary guy. The first one question that came to mind was ‘What was it like scoring the winning goal against England at Wembley?’! He told me too!
Wing Wizard – John Robertson
I used to see another former Scotland international, Dave Mackay, in one of the local village pubs here and he was always a friendly character. In the same pub I’d occasionally bump into former Celtic player and Notts County manager, Jimmy Sirrel. Jimmy wasn’t perhaps well-known out of football circles but again, was a legend in Nottingham and in the game. He was also great pals with one Alex Ferguson too. I was lucky enough to have a few drinks and a couple of hours of his time one summer afternoon and he related some great stories about football characters such as Gordon Strachan, Alex Ferguson, Herbert Chapman etc., some of which are detailed in the blog below