Winning is better than just “taking part!”

Young stylish businessmanSince the dawn of the professional era in sports the focus for the spectator has generally been on the spectacle of the event, whether it be football, motor racing or even darts. And as media has become more sophisticated and accessible there is hardly a gap when sport of some kind is not available to be watched and enjoyed.

So you can imagine the outcry across pubs and sitting rooms across the country when ITV decided that switching from the last tension-filled game of the French Open final wasn’t a priority so they turned it off. A “spokesman” was quick to point out that things had gone “… over the scheduled broadcast time etc etc” … but cynics may suggest that there was some technician sitting in front of a darkened console, who was not interested in tennis, who merely just flicked a switch according to the roster he had in front of him instead of actually thinking about the result of his action – after all, public relations aren’t his responsibility.

Perhaps there will be a different, tennis-loving “techie” on duty at ITV while Wimbledon is on.

Gone are the days too, when the result of a match tended to be played along the lines of the Olympic Creed, “The most important thing … is not to win but to take part …” This won’t sit well with many supporters of some teams at the World Cup in Brazil. You won’t get much of a smile from Roy Hodgson’s lads by telling them that it was only a game, and wasn’t it nice to take part?

Professionals who strive for success in any field will tell you that winning is everything. Even in the hospitality trade, success is measured in results and successful results usually translate into profits. Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers can show you many examples of this truth. You can make the best soufflé in the world but if you’re not selling it for a profit it’s not contributing to your success.

Occasionally some strive for success without proper planning or attention to detail and then are found wanting. Like the holidaymakers who thought that climbing up a mountain in the Nevis Range was a bit of a stroll and had only packed their enthusiasm. They had to be rescued. If you happen to find a pair of flip-flops on the side of a Aonoch Mor sometime, they will be the ones a rescuer chucked away in anger as he had to carry their owner down on a stretcher.

But planning and strategy, while vital in any business, can be a bit like smoke-and-mirrors if you’re not careful and want to give the impression of prudential management, while in reality nothing changes. The prime example is the FIFA Exco (sport, again) who have decided that the recommendation of the Ethics Committee should be adhered to and that the awarding of bonuses should be banned. So they have stopped taking bonuses. Instead they have given themselves a 100% pay rise.

One punter commented, “Nice work if you can get it … but why do we even have FIFA Exco members being paid a salary? Oh yes, it’s for the love of the beautiful game.

Bins, beer and regulations – it’s tough being a politician!

Don’t you just hate dodging bins and bags that are left out all over the pavement waiting for collection? It’s dodge this one and step into the road to miss that one – all as a result of the regulations (don’t even mention Brussels) imposed on the consumer. You can’t do this and you must do that in an effort to recycle or eradicate waste. After a long campaign it appears that plastic bags are now going to be charged for at the supermarket – at 5p a pop – in an effort to deter people from using new ones each time they shop.

They say that the money raised will go to charity. But, small and medium sized businesses with less than 500 employees will be excluded in order to protect independent retailers. What happens when these retailers get so busy with extra customers seeking to avoid the charge-per-bag that they have to hire more staff to cope and then exceed the magic 500 number? But I’m sure the regulators have thought that one through.

Image: Denis Slogar

Image: Denis Slogar

I wonder if Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers are having to start suggesting to their customers ways they can provide packaging that meets all the regulatory requirements but still keeps the customers happy and prevents their purchases from falling on the floor at some inconvenient time?

Having dodged all the bins and bags on the way to work, can you imagine the irritation commuters faced when they had to dodge a hoard of press photographers sprawled all over the pavement outside a pub in London the other day? The gentlemen of the press were excluded from entering as some politicians were in there – no other punters either mind, just the politicos and their entourage as they sought to put on a brave public face in the wake of the election results. Nick & Vince were all smiles and even had some froth on their lips from the different brews they were sampling, mild and bitter.

The pub had possibly agreed to host the event on the off-chance that the press corps would surge in afterwards to take shelter and fortify themselves for the next stage in their busy day of seeking news once the main players had departed in their limos. I suppose the landlord of the Queen’s Head in London had told his stocktaker to factor-in an empty pub for the chaps do their photo-op in, ‘but make sure the keg of bitter is fully charged AND that the press lads have plenty of snacks and ale available for afters!’ It just didn’t seem to be as jolly an affair as when Nigel visits a pub, though.

What the England Football squad will have plenty of though – their stocktaker has seen to it – is their favourite sauce and butter, if they want it. Gone are the dietary restrictions imposed by the previous coach. Roy has rescinded the ‘no sauce’ ban and ketchup is back on the list. Some of the lads also like fast food and it appears that’s okay too. So hopefully, with their concentration off “what’s for dinner, coach?” the games will deliver the desired results too.

Roy might even throw in some of the prize-winning pies from The Chestnut Horse to keep the boys on track. Jon Allen has just won the “Pub Pie of the Year” with his Welsh cob pie (Wayne Rooney would like that). The pub has 42 pies on the menu – all named after breeds of horses!

How does Tom Kerridge get to be a judge at these events, lucky chap?

Give me a pub team anytime! (… so says Roy)

Image: Felipe Dan Reis

Image: Felipe Dan Reis

Any place that runs speed-eating competitions would probably have their stocktakers tearing their hair out over pre-ordering quantities for the event. Especially if the world champion competitive eater is expected in town. But in order to be recognized, she’d probably have to wear a notice saying “I’m the Champion” because the petite, size 8 mum-of-four doesn’t look like she could shovel away a 5000 calorie burger in six½ minutes! The “Stellanator” consisted of six slabs of meat, slices of cheese, six fried eggs, 12 slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pickles, grilled onions, peanut butter, jalapenos and then there was the bun (top & bottom) to keep it all together.

It all started off as a way of proving someone wrong – as one does – and things escalated from there to 9 lb burritos, 54-inch pizzas and more. I’m still trying to get my head around how she manages to work her way through a 12 lb sandwich and 1 lb of fries in 53 minutes!

The question many ask is, “Why?” But Mollie Schuyler does it for the money. In January she scooped £17 800.00 for guzzling 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes.

Money also seems to be the motivation for becoming a professional football player. You’d think that earning 200 grand a week would be enough. But no, Yaya Touré “wants his cake and eat it” too! But Manchester City insist that they did give him a cake to celebrate his birthday. I didn’t realize that birthday #31 was such an important milestone.

Who would be a football coach? Especially when your star player is miffed because no one (allegedly) gave him his birthday bumps? And especially if you’re Louis van Gaal, the new coach of Manchester United when the National Coach has said that he could beat Man U with a pub team if he had six months to prepare! And he’d probably only have to pay them in pints and crisps, too.

But for that matter, who’d be a politician when things go wrong for some of them the way they did this week. You had a leader who didn’t know who he was there to support, nor who was running that particular council – all caught on two separate occasions on TV and on radio. Awkward.

Or the politician that organised for steel band who were all set to play their tunes and entertain the crowds when they discovered that the political party that had contracted them wasn’t who they wanted to support. “Pack the drums away, lads, we’re outta here!” I wonder if they had to return their fee?

Jon Rutter would be the first to tell you how imperative careful planning and good strategy is in running a successful pub, restaurant or club. Sportsmen and politicians could do well to take note of his principles and ethos – if they did, they’d end up with the cake they wanted, knowing what candidate they were there to support and they’d have had music to dance to as well.

The beautiful game showcase kicks off in Brazil in 21 days time – hopefully the hosts have their careful planning and good strategy all in place. 

All it takes is teamwork …

SeatsIt’s only a ten minute drive along the A56 & A57 to get from Old Trafford to The Etihad but even though they’re in pretty close proximity to each other, the similarities in atmosphere within the two giant clubs ends there! ‘City’ are already talking about conquering Europe while Man-U ex-captain, Roy Keane is urging his old club to ‘get tough’ and is also suggesting that some other personalities need to step up to take responsibility for the Club’s showing over the season and not lay everything at Moyes’ doorstep.

A lot of what Keane says can be translated into one word, “teamwork.” Clearly, City was the more successful club of the two from Manchester that gelled as a team and they have the results to show for it. A disjointed team, for whatever reason will result in below average performance and sometimes even cause the whole shebang to leave the rails completely.

Sometimes the main players in a team forget that there are others who are also part of the same team, just not as prominent. Like the chap who carries the drinks, or the one who arranges the bus for the team to travel in, or the person who makes sure that nothing gets left behind in the change-room when the players go back to their hotel. They’re all part of the team but most people don’t even know they exist. And if their particular function breaks down, it impacts on the whole team – sometimes as a minor irritation and sometimes with catastrophic consequences.

Well, someone dropped the ball at Jamie’s Barbecoa Butchery recently and the whole team felt the impact. But, it only came to light after a freedom of information request was submitted (I suppose some things don’t liked being aired to the public). It revealed that the establishment had received a ‘hazardous‘ assessment and closed down to remedy the situation. This is not the first time this type of problem has plagued Jamie – last year his Portsmouth branch of his Italian chain paid £17 000.00 after pleading guilty to breaching the Food Safety Act.

Many establishments will agree with Jon Rutter and his team of professionals when they say that their stocktaker is definitely part of their team. They work in the background and most folk aren’t even aware that they exist. But without them the wheels of an operation can come off rather rapidly. Stocktaking services provide all the figures needed to keep up to date with exactly what is happening at the premises. Specialist stocktakers ensure that the their extensive experience avoids unnecessary wastage or losses (whether accidental or otherwise) and recommended action is passed on to the client to keep everything running smoothly. Just what a team needs! 

Some restaurants have had a team member suggest installing fish tanks as they can create an ambience of peace and tranquility. Others have tanks so customers can choose their own particular fish or crustacean to have prepared for them. One hotel in the Maldives has gone to the other extreme and has their restaurant built under water to give diners a view of the free-swimming fish, turtles and other sea creatures all around them.

The hotel is inviting the guests to “dine with the sharks” … hopefully the sharks don’t get confused and start thinking the ‘tank’ is showcasing diners for their benefit.

A Scotsman, an Italian and a Dutchman all walk into a football club …

 

Image: Sanja Gjenero

Image: Sanja Gjenero

Jon Rutter and his team will attest to the fact that running a business successfully can be tricky. It’s a bit like a juggling act, get one thing wrong and the whole lot can come crashing down. Whether it’s a pub or restaurant, guest house or hotel there’s a fine balance that has to be maintained for success to continue.

Or a football club.

Everything can be running smoothly, with great results and satisfied customers and in the case of some establishments – even the shareholders can be happy, and that’s no mean feat! The successful club can go from season to season only really upsetting the opposition. Scribes and newspapers can constantly be singing praise and running out of superlatives to use in describing their prowess. Then the manager retires.

In any business, the changing of the guard often leads to change and frequently comes in for criticism. If he’s wise, the ‘new broom’ uses the successful formula employed by the ‘old broom’ to move forward and gradually introduces change. David Moyes didn’t appear to have read that script though. Anyway, he had a decidedly “glazed” look about him after his session with owner Mr Glazer yesterday and even though he was technically on his bike, he was chauffeured from the ground only to later remark that he “was surprised” at the outcome of the days events. It’s interesting to note how many journalists out there are now writing “I told you so” pieces – but they were pretty quiet for the last few months.

And even across the pond in New York, the news of Moyes axing has got the SEC buzzing about the share price. Now that Moyes is history the shares have risen substantially and they argue that the news of anything substantial that could affect the share price, the Listed Company has a duty to advise the shareholders first, and they didn’t. I would have thought that the writing had been on the wall for a while. Clearly, a management change can affect shares.

In the place of Moyes, in steps Ryan (not-without-his-own-controversies) Giggs. One wonders whether there’s a book running on how long it will be before Sir Alex is back (the chewing gum manufacturers will be pleased if that happens). Is the Glazer family going to settle on the Scot, on Ancelotti or on van Gaal?

What is definitely settled is that Jack Sparrow likes beer and red wine! This “Jack” is Norie MacKinnon’s pet parrot. He also loves Status Quo and wears a hoodie (of course he does) when he frequents the pub, the Stewartfield Farm in East Kilbride. Stocktakers for the Stewartfield don’t need to add parrot food to the landord’s list of bar snacks because Norie says that Jack also fancies a bit of curry to nibble on. He also likes riding in the open-top car.

Scot Norie also mentions that Jack “won’t speak to command, but he does have a good vocabulary.” Now that also sounds a bit like Sir Alex at post-match Man. United press conferences.

“Does my bum look big on this bar stool?”

vegetablesA recent Oxfam report indicates that the Netherlands is the best place to eat. But before all the gastronomes rush to cross the Channel from the country in 13th position (Britain) the report is not referring to the quality of the restaurants. No, the study is taking all kinds of other factors into account like access to food and produce, affordability, and diet-related diseases etc. It’s referring to ‘healthiest diet.’ Other countries in the top 12 were Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Australia, Luxembourg and Portugal.

But the report indicates that the Dutch show tendencies towards obesity with nearly 20% of the population having a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30. In case you didn’t know, the ideal BMI is between 18 and 25. But just how the average person measures this is not made clear … “he looks like a 23 to me.”

“Never! Much closer to a 20… hardly any wobble at all!”

The good news for those who are watching their calorie count is that the JD Wetherspoon chain have made it easy to pop down to the pub and have a meal of under 500 calories. They haven’t limited the calorie count on their drinks yet, so it’s up to the diner to watch that part of their intake. Their dishes sound quite appetizing – not at all like a friend who was on a 500 calorie-per-dish diet and remarked that the pile of leaves on his plate served up by his missus didn’t look like it was enough to keep a slug happy!

Hopefully the kitchen staff in the Wetherspoon pubs have one of those ultra sensitive Blumenthal-style scales that measures everything to the grain. All they need is someone in their eating area whipping out their own Propoints scale and checking that their Caeser salad (sans bacon) is not a fraction over “the allowance for the day” and then kicking up a fuss. One wonders whether ‘calorie count’ is in Jon Rutter’s stocktaker’s brief when they comment on profit margins and discuss ways of maximising value.

More good news (of sorts) for punters is that the Government plan to extend opening hours beyond the final whistle when England play in the World Cup. (Remember the concern a while back about closing times and the relationship to when England play their matches in Brazil?) The curve ball regarding the relaxing of the hours the pubs can stay open is that the Whitehall spokesman said that they have allowed for England being in penalty shoot-outs. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that!

And for those pubs who don’t have sports channels to share football or other sports with their customers, Money-Makers have come up with some ideas of pulling in more business. One is that you could install a cinema room in your pub to keep the kids happy and occupied while mum and dad socialize with friends (… or weigh their salads). Another idea is to introduce ‘tribute dishes’ that let you share favourite meals or cuisines that famous people enjoyed. These, and other ideas have already been implemented by some establishments and they can attest to their success. Reports are that some of these moves “stimulate customer interest and also generate strong emotional attachment to the pub.”

If England have to go to penalties at 1 in the morning it would be hard to imagine what the “Roy Hodgson tribute meal” might be. The “strong emotional attachment” to certain pubs might backfire on the landlords!

Break with tradition! How about resolutions all year long?

Rutters logoWho ever heard of taking stock before due time? And isn’t it traditional to do it at New Year? But  sometimes circumstances dictate that things are done differently. Take Alastair Cook for instance, he and the team have gone into the change room needing to look at their business plan for the next phase of their activities. This out of necessity (and almost a desperation) at losing the treasured urn in Perth in dramatic form with the manager, the coach and the members of the group evaluating what has gone before, where they want to be and what to do to get there.

Jon Rutter and his professionals do much the same things with their teams of players. They look back on what’s happened too and work with their clients to strategize the next stage of an overall business plan to achieve an end result. “The Ashes” of their particular field – a Michelin star, a higher rating in a tourist guide, an endorsement by a renowned chef, a glowing review by a food critic or even becoming “the place to be” for celebrities to hang out!

But successful businessmen will tell those who want to stretch beyond where they find themselves that only doing an annual “stocktake” at the end of each year in the form of a series of new year’s resolutions is a bit like relying on Mystic Meg or Camelot … a very remote chance of hitting the jackpot but not always a sure thing! Those individuals with the operations that seem to always be leading the pack will quietly tell those who care to listen that their “position” is due to constant motion so that they are never still, never satisfied, never complacent, always ready to learn and re-evaluate.

The golfer Gary Player, on being questioned about his golfing success and skill said that the more he practised the luckier he got. Another South African golfer, Ernie Els after winning a championship, accepting the trophy and winner’s cheque was seen heading to the practice tee with his coach and proceeded to hit 500 balls before retiring to the shower and the celebrations. On being questioned why, told the interviewer that he wasn’t totally satisfied with his technique and wanted to correct it while it was still fresh in his memory. Stock taking?

In this competitive world of “hospitality” whether it’s an upmarket hotel, an exclusive club, a restaurant chain or an ice cream van at Blackpool, no one is in it to be just mediocre. No one wants to be in the same position today as they were a year ago because that’s really just going backwards. From the customer perspective that’s boring and it’s probably unprofitable too. The business owner, together with his stocktaking team would be well advised to assess and revise strategy, tactics and execution in order to be ahead of the opposition. In order to be feted and to receive the accolades of customers and peers alike. It is inconceivable that anyone works so that they can fail. Setbacks can and do occur but it’s the stocking process that identifies and then remedies the shortcomings that’d keeps the business rolling forward.

So let’s hope Alistair Cook and the lads have the type of “stocktakers” a good restaurant has … The type who can pick them up from a setback and work out the right process to recover lost ground and then ultimately recover their statu – Custodians of The Ashes! The “Michelin Star” of the cricket world! The Aussies did. After their dismal performances in England a few months ago,  general opinion had them capitulating again and England retaining The Ashes till the next time at least.

Team Oz didn’t wait till the traditional time of year to reassess, they bucked convention and called the professionals together, took stock, and acted.   It seems that a three-month reassessment worked for them. If it works in the cricket world, why not hospitality? Or indeed, any industry? Old Year’s eve may be too late for that “resolution” …

It would be unfortunate to be caught on a sticky wicket with ever widening cracks appearing, making the task of batting even more and more difficult.

4 weekends till Christmas … your lights up yet?

0599-christmas-1100026406-10232013Only four more weekends till Christmas (or five if you’re into Hogmanay)! Time to arrange for the holidays is rapidly slipping away. By now you would expect all the pubs and restaurants to have finalised their festive menus and some may already be fully booked for the ‘Big Feast’ whether it be on Christmas Eve or even on Christmas Day. Decorations have been popping up on lampposts and over mantels all over the country and the music mix you hear in malls and shops has changed and the next number one on the Official Singles Charts are all being punted, depending on the preferences and taste of whoever happens to be managing the playlists.

And ‘Taste’ is such an individual thing – what appeals to some will be offensive to others. Like the photo taken of Roy Loxton. He was minding his own business, doing his work and someone asked him if they could take his picture. He said yes and the snap appeared in the local newspaper. Someone complained that a pic of Mr Loxton at work, as a gravedigger, in a hole, smiling, was in ‘bad taste’ so his work from the one funeral home has been slashed. 

But nothing can beat the Aussies when it comes to ‘tasteful’ Christmas decorations this year. David Richards and his family made a comeback from his defeat to the USA last year to regain the Guinness World Record with his 330 000+ Christmas light display on his house. His array of twinkling lights costs him £1,400.00 a month to run – but at least he doesn’t have any heating bills as the average temperature in Canberra at this time of the year is 25° (still a lot cooler than the temperature the England team are facing on the cricket field though). Part of the fallout for his success and notoriety however is that some of his neighbours haven’t spoken to him since 2011 when he won the last time. Wonder why?

It’s probably just as well that clubs, pubs and restaurants don’t go too over the top on the decorations seeing as there are more stringent rules and regs. than in Oz. Can you imagine the nightmare the poor stocktakers would have to go through if they had to account for extra fairy-lights and a bumped up electric bill? And how many people REALLY successfully keep last year’s lights for this year – I wonder how many stocktakers have become adept at untangling green wire while trying hard not to break the delicate bulbs for their customers?

Jon Rutter and his team of stocktakers have been working hard to make sure that pubs and clubs are all stocked up in time for next week’s second Ashes Test so that keen cricket followers can sit back and enjoy the game, although how they’re going to deal with the 11 hour time difference is not clear. And Australia has 5 different time zones to make it even more confusing.

So when they bowl the first ball at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday it will be 11:00pm on Wednesday night in London. Extra stamina for the second and third sessions between lunch and stumps is required.

Fighting talk!

Every householder is, in reality, an amateur stocktaker. A person who checks to see what they have, what they need and where to get it at the most economical price without leaving any waste. A person who needs to get the most out of every pound and, hopefully, have something left over (profit margin). Perhaps that’s over-simplifying a noble profession that is essential in today’s business world, but it’s all about budgeting and using money wisely – whether in a business or at home.

Image: Adrian van Leen

Image: Adrian van Leen

So the war that has erupted between consumers (home-stocktakers) and suppliers (supermarkets) has probably been simmering for a while now. Tesco has weighed in by accusing each household of wasting £700 quid a year on chucking food out. So they have launched “a campaign” to help curb our profligacy! Meanwhile, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) have retaliated by turning their ire onto Tesco and telling them it’s all their fault for packaging and presenting products in the way that they do and making it impossible for careful shoppers to buy only what they need.

Both sides have trollied out statistics and reports, with figures, to support their arguments. “… one survey indicates …” “… alarming figures show …” etc etc. Just an observation here – no one has EVER asked my opinion for a survey, nor have they ever approached any of the many people I know. Where do they get their figures? How do they come up with “15 million tons of food is junked” … why not 14.326 million tons? Or “customers chuck away 40% of apples” … why not 42%, or 31%? The numbers just seem to be too neat. It’s probably a very good thing that most pubs have professional stocktakers like Rutters doing their stocktaking. At least they know where they are. Pity the pub that uses a “survey group” to do their stocktaking – Thumb-suck Incorporated!

A fight of a totally different nature could also break out when Sir Alex releases his autobiography. It seems that the rule of “keeping things that go on in the changeroom, in the changeroom” don’t apply to him anymore. There might be some folk mentioned in his book who might like to give him a bit of the old hairdryer treatment themselves. Among lots of other revelations, he apparently goes into great detail about what he really said to this one and that one.

Sorry chaps, you’ll have to delete all those recorded after-match interviews he gave – he didn’t really mean what he told the press at the time. Posh was the underlying reason for Beck’s cut above the eye (Sir A was annoyed with how David changed when the two started walking out together), and the reader will get the low-down of how he froze Rooney out when he played away from home, again. Plus it promises to deliver a whole lot more insight into the workings of the coach’s mind and events in his long career with Man U.

Another fight won in County Durham even with energy suppliers all across the UK announcing price hikes. Victory for Licensee Leo Gillen in his legal battle with Npower over a backdated £38 000 electricity bill.

The energy company could not be reached for comment. They’re probably out there conducting another survey.

Don’t tell the Poles, but we’re off to Rio!

If you thought stocktakers only pop in to the pub occasionally to count the bottles in the back, or analyse the till slips you’d be wrong. While helping owners to devise strategies of how to maintain the balance of stable profits while keeping their customers sweet at the same time is challenging, Rutters are also involved in community affairs. They played a part in the “Beautify the Dip” initiative the other day. Some children from the local school presented their ideas on what they saw as ways to jazz up the area.

I’m sure Jon Rutter and Hertford Junior, together with the Committee will put more thought into their beautification project than was shown by the Pontypridd council who, without community involvement, decided to lay some new paving. All in all, a good idea. The problem was that the new paving was so crazy that pedestrians couldn’t distinguish where the pavement ended and where the kerb was, and 20 shoppers were injured or hospitalised after tripping up.

Another victory for “beautification” seems to have been won in the Yorkshire Dales too. Some wind turbines that haven’t worked for years but have been left to spoil all the photographs of the area have finally been removed, much to the delight of the local residents and those in the tourist industry who can now rightfully boast in their brochures of an “unspoiled landscape.” And the opponents of the wind farm project will no doubt say, “I told you it wouldn’t work!”

The other thing that probably won’t work in the UK is the idea that Nicolas Nauman, head chef at “Eat” in Brooklyn, New York has introduced to the restaurant. Once a month there is a four course meal during which no conversation is permitted. The chef justifies this by suggesting that the enjoyment of the food should not be spoiled with conversation or other noise and will give diners an opportunity to enjoy their food in a way that they might not otherwise have. One wonders how to order – is it a “set menu” so that the whole evening doesn’t dissolve into gestures, pointing, eye-rolling and eventually frustrated arm waving? Clearly, not a venue one for one of Gordon Ramsay’s TV shows.

Image: Marcelo Mokrejs

Image: Marcelo Mokrejs

One would also hope that last night was not one of the restaurant’s “silent meal” evenings with a couple of England fans dining there. In silence. But surreptitiously following the Wembly match on their mobiles held on their laps. It would have been a bit disrupting to the rest of the dining room, and Chef Nick in particular, when England scored against Poland and secured their place in Brazil, with the silence being shattered with screams of, “Yes, yes, yes – Gerrard you beauty!

Wembly erupted! Noise from both lots of fans, fireworks (tsk, tsk), chanting, flags et al. Roy Hodgson must have shed a stone in sweat and by chewing his nails off (he DID say he’d died 1000 deaths) and now England are rated 22/1 to win the World Cup. Hopefully the odds will shorten, but it would be wise to put the tenner on now.