Raul on the mend

Wednesday 27 January 11.08am:

I think about reading that my favourite front-man, Mane is a different type, is returning for Wolves earlier than first thought. Raul Jiminez – no relation to my mate Tony – is proving the doctors wrong, something else I know something about, will be back and I only wished it would have been tonight for their trip to Chelsea. He is a player I love, the Mexican who is a player who would have been delightful to play with as an inside-forward as he is brilliant all along the front line and has that fantastic quality that is his unselfishness. He can make a cross-field pass from over his shoulder – without looking to Traore – and somehow get on the end of his cross, and since he has been out with a fractured skull Wolves have looked lacklustre or Jiminezless. He is a player young players should watch and if I were a manager I would give my young players a tape of him to go home and study as they’d learn more that any coaching. Welcome back, although it won’t be until March and then it’ll take young a long time to get anywhere near ack to your best as you’ll be very conscious of just where you put your head as these elbows today are more dangerous than the Ron Harris, Tommy Smith, Norman Hunter or my friend Peter Storey those hard tackling characters from our time. And then there was our back four at Stoke City who never get mentioned but I’d back Smith, Bloor and Pejic against any of them, with Alan Bloor, as a great player also, being as tough as teak, which seems strange coming from the Potteries with that old saying “A bull in a China shop.”

I look forward to his return as he is a joy to watch and when he gets hit, which is regularly, he dies not look for an Oscar. This is another bugbear of mine in today’s game and when I saw what the salaries were in that Chelsea dressing room yesterday they are entitled to never go down, my goodness, how can you be ninth in the league and be on nearly a million-a-month?

I receive a morning “keep well” from Joy in Cornwall, who keeps reminding me that they get a vaccine down there yet here am I so very vulnerable yet ignored. This morning after a long night of going from bed to settee, a trait of mine, as I’m so into Netflix and those great series at the moment going from one ball to another with Jason Bull, Michael Weatherly, a star in the making I napped in that other series where he looks a certainty to go to the very top. I can only think it’s a lot to do with Mark Harmon, once voted the Sexiest Man on TV, and played Ted Bundy whose case I followed being from Seattle, and now produces as well as stars in NCIS a great show, but BULL takes it by the horns and this show is tops. I am coming around now through Alexa, just finished two black coffees and one hot eater, and these last few morning kick off with Whitney Houston’s Run To You which I might have mentioned earlier as another fav of mine Kevin Kostner sits there watching, as her Bodyguard, her sing this song imagining she’s singing to him. Wonderful song, but wat would you expect from you young girl from the Warwick family?

I play it a couple of times and I feel inspired and to inspire me more I ask Alexa for Russell Hitchcock the fantastic voice of Air Supply who I found in Seattle and the voice I think my second wife fell in love with when I thought it was me. He wasn’t her type, he’s only tiny, but a voice is far dynamic than a foot I suppose, and by that I mean a footballer, as I ended up with Ann at the end of my career. I think she came to a match at Wimbledon on a night I bumped into my old buddy Denis Waterman who was with another failure, Rula.

But my man from Air Supply allows me to forget all of those torrid mistakes, one marrying Ann and two going back to Chelsea, although I would not have be doing a podcast with the funny Rhodes-Brown on Sunday and then there was Dale Jasper, Mickey Fillery, Micky Droy, Colin Pates, Johnny Bumpstead – there’s three players there worthy of more international caps than I achieved, but that counts for nothing. Being judged by how many caps reminds me of Terry McDermott shouting to his mate Kevin Keegan who attacked me at the entrance of the tunnel at Chelsea, “Tell him to put his medals on the table boss” after a Chelsea and Newcastle match. Funny that, because I never saw Terry join Stoke City when they were 14 points adrift at the bottom in January and get them out of trouble?

It’s great playing for big clubs, he disappointed me because I liked him as both a player and bloke, but that was hitting blow a very low belt.

Or a cheap shot!

These people who get “jobs for the boys” make me chuckle because they couldn’t get one on their own. I put in for the job at Stoke City and had I got it I would still be in the game because I would have started with Waddington beside me – are you listening Frank – and gone from strength to strength. I have absolutely no doubt about it and when I sit and listen to one of my all time fav. players Glenn Hoddle (who made his debut against me at Stoke) on TV it makes me puke as he had the best job on earth and employed someone who wasn’t on the same planet as Miss Betty Shine my lady of the afterlife, who said I cried out to her while in my coma – how I need that sleep – being a fantastic Healer of many people, which is different, as I would have employed her for that, but getting into the head of someone like Paul Gascoigne (who I love) is like asking a couple of my old Chelsea team mates to break into a five pound note. I mean, in simple terms, how can you mess up the England job, and a couple of clubs, although he did brilliantly well at Swindon, and then sit there and tell millions of viewers what’s going on?

Gets me!

Talking about ‘breaking into a fiver’ we were talking the other day, Tony, JB and I about Dave Sexton introducing the “fiver ball” a totally ridiculous bit of coaching as he came in and out of the blue sort of about getting it around the halfway line and hitting one over the two centre-backs and if it led to a goal he’d give the scorer a fiver. Now then, a fiver was probably three pints of lager in those days so this led to Tommy Baldwin saying after he scored from a Johnny Hollins afford, “Don’t think you’re getting fifty bob” which creased me up but he meant it because Holly tried it almost every time he got it. I call it football suicide as if you hit that ball a hundred times and JH did, after a couple of goes any Number 5 worth his salt would suss it and take a step backward, say like Van Dijk today and just coolly collect it on his Robins.

If I were a manager I’m afraid I’d fine a player, or sell him though I wouldn’t have a player like that in the first place.

Can you imagine the Brazil manager coming in one morning and telling Pele, Tostao, Gerson, Jairzinho and Rivelino to play the “five ball” in Mexico ’70?

It’s laughable!