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.


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.

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.