The first article I ever had published was in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. It was in a Tuesday column called Oi, Ref!, which took a light-hearted look at the world of football. To be honest the article wasn’t published as I’d sent it – mine was only a short piece but the team at Oi Ref! added to it and padded it out a bit. Still, it was nice to see my name in print.
Here is the article as it appeared. I should point out that all of the good ones, Wise, Leboeuf, Stone, Butt, Gazza were mine and I was responsible for only a few of the rubbish ones.
Searching for the Right Combination
Stuart Pearce and Richard Gough might not yet be prepared to contemplate it. But the time inevitably comes when footballers enter the twilight of their careers.
The time when performing on football’s biggest stage becomes as arduous and embarrassing as Jerry Hall appearing on any stage.
Some players get out while the going’s good, becoming pub landlords, chat show hosts or media pundits. Others opt to wind down their career clocks in the lower divisions.
Which set Oi Ref! – with the help of its one avid reader, Joe Young – thinking about suitable clubs at which our current stars could be put out to pasture.
Dennis Wise at Morecambe seems a good starter and Wellington would be a tasty choice for team-mate Frank Leboeuf. Steve Stone wouldn’t be a dead failure at Gravesend and Nicky Butt would more than live up to his name at Southend.
And how about Gazza for Bamber Bridge? Here’s your starter for ten in the headline stakes: “I’ll sign for Bamber,” Gascoigne
Closer to home Gary Speed might go for Notts – either Forest or County – and Daniel Cordone could be a snip at Barnet.
(EDITOR’S WARNING: They get progressively worse from here)
And what about Warren Barton at Blyth Partings (I told you) or midfield man Rob for Leigh?
As for Sunderland they could sign for Leek – especially Paul Butler – as it is a kind of pudding.
And the list goes on –David Seaman for Marine, Tim Flowers for Barrow, Thierry Henry for KING-stonian and anyone from Boro forNuneaton.
We think we’ll retire while we’re ahead… but don’t tell Psycho.
Soon after this I had my first full article printed in the Newcastle United magazine, The Mag. My debut by line was in a piece about the time I was selling hot dogs from a barrow outside St James’ Park. I now have hundreds of published articles to my name, but the Oi Ref! one is still special.