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.

Planning: the art of being a good tourist (or publican)

People in Manchester were a bit bleak this last week. Either about the news that Sir Alex was calling it a day at Old Trafford, or because City were blown out of the competition by Wigan. And Mancini loyalists were also hit with the news of his departure. Rumour has it that the Chairman said, “I don’t know what we’d do without you, Roberto, but from tomorrow we’re going to find out!”

The team from Rutters will probably testify to having to help their customers plan for either the celebrations or the mourning – depending on which part of the city they covered. One wonders what sort of memorabilia will become available now that Sir Alex has moved on and what items will be worth hanging on to … those old photos of the dugout taken of some argument he had with a ref or when players got switched might start to be worth something as time goes on. Especially if there are any signed programmes or shirts hanging about. Hopefully there won’t be any rip-offs offered to visitors who travel to see the Theatre of Dreams. You know, those fast talking types that accost people before they get near the real place. Those ones “letting you in on a bargain,” as often happens to tourists.

One tourist, Mr Bannister (he wasn’t from Manchester but from Birmingham), got ripped off in Italy the other day. He decided to treat himself and his party to the experience of gelato in Rome. He was a miffed when the bill came to £13.50 each. He felt that a total of £57.00 was a bit much for a cold snack for four people. The question is always, why do people always take advantage of tourists? Do the locals pay the same as the tourists? Of course they don’t, they’re not stupid. So by implication, tourists are stupid! No, just uneducated. Uneducated as to where to get the best deals. Like which pub to visit to get great food at fair rates. Or how to buy the genuine “Man U” kit at the best prices – not from the hustlers over the road from Old Trafford.

One wonders why people going on holiday don’t do some homework before they reach their destination. Much the same way that landlords use their stocktakers to explore all the avenues and alternatives open to them. It just makes sense when you’re on a budget, to get the most out of your hard earned cash. Granted, some budgets are more than others, but a budget nevertheless.

Large & small gelato – bought in Rome last week for non-tourist prices

Large & small gelato – bought in Rome last week for non-tourist prices

Take the gelato in Rome, for instance. Poor Mr Bannister and his family shelled out 57 quid, while in the same city other tourists paid 10 (that’s £8.50) for the same thing, or €1.50 (£1.27) for a small version. And they were able to do this because they had taken some trouble to do some planning and research before travelling. But on top of that – they asked the locals. Instead of just being a “tourist,” they embraced the experience and talked to the people who live there. Asked questions. Found out about them and they lives they live.

So when the friendly people of Manchester chat to visitors to their city, and show them around, they’ll get to see the haunts that the locals frequent (depending on which club supporter they’re talking to). The “Del Boy’s” of this world won’t thank them though, they’ll still be on the lookout for the uneducated ones.