Time to rechristen Wimbledon as ‘Murrayville’
I’VE never met Andy Murray, but I suspect, like many of us, his success, the way he has conducted himself on and off the court, made our moments and thoughts just a little bit more hopeful. They did mine. There’s no greater tribute I can think of.
I was at Dunblane that hideous day in 1996 when he was an eightyear-old waiting to go into the gym as his school chums died there. He has talked little about it and all the more credit to him but, horrendous and unfathomable as it was, I am sure that day has played a part in inspiring him.
I don’t know for sure why he points to the sky at the end of matches, and he hasn’t explained, but the deaths of those 16 children and their teacher are surely part of it.
If his body has finally defeated him as a sportsman it won’t have triumphed over his will. But this isn’t an epitaph. There does need to be some lasting commemoration to his achievements – I was thinking, rename Edinburgh Airport, but that’s hardly fitting – and certainly not a statue or a street name or a stand at Easter Road. Something exceptional and inspiring. Rechristen Wimbledon, that fusty old, upmarket spread, as Murrayville?
I hope he makes it through to the final at the All England Club. If he doesn’t then thanks, son, for what you did and gave us and I look forward to your next adventure.
Salt and shake
IT’S time to update that old Andy Warhol quote – or meme as we call it nowadays – about everyone getting to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. Anyone with a laptop and access to that great digital wasteland can post their own idiocies for the barely sentient to comment on, usually in lower case, without punctuation and use of a spell checker. The latest celebrity, in the loosest interpretation of the term, whom I came across a couple of days ago while ladling out indiscriminate online abuse, is butcher-turned-steakhouse chain owner Salt Bae.
He’s also known by the humbler name of Nusret Gökçe, when he takes off his black-lensed glasses and mixes with the hoi polloi, although as most of those are virtually enslaved on construction projects in Dubai where he hangs out he won’t have had much contact.
He got his nickname from the pretentious way he delivers, yes, salt, holding his arm like a cobra clutching a handful of the crystals, then bouncing them off his right forearm on to the meat. I dribble down my chin at dinner but am I an internet sensation? You would think he would be closed down for health violations rather than applauded but, no, celebrities, usually overpaid football players, queue up to have seasoning and sweat delivered from on high to their overpriced steaks. Manchester United players, as well as Beckham, Maradona, Messi and others get in line to be selfied with Salt. The French player Franck Ribery was heavily fined by his club Bayern Munich last week for a profane-laden rant after he was filmed sitting down in Dubai to a 24-carat gold encased steak (no change left to tip from £1,000). And
if you don’t know what gold tastes like then you can’t afford to find out.
Critics, Ribery expounded in one of his milder raves, were just pebbles in his socks.
Ribery is no stranger to controversy.
A few years ago he was charged with paying for a 17-year-old prostitute as a birthday gift to himself (paying for sex from an under-18-yearold is a crime in France) but the charges were later dropped when it was accepted he didn’t know her age.
Both Celtic and Hibernian are presently in Dubai for a bit of winter sun and bonding, separately of course, but if they have eaten at Nusr-Et then we haven’t heard, perhaps because they’re not famous enough for the Salt ‘n’ Shakedown.
Wall to wall advice
WITH the US Government still largely in lockdown over the issue of building Trump’s border wall with Mexico, a 2004 speech at Wagner University, by the then simply serial bankrupt businessman, has emerged. “Never give up ... if there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it, but get to the other side of that wall” Trump extolled.
Encouraging news and surely a fail-safe defence for the migrants massed at the border.
They saw it coming
APOLOGIES for once more bringing up the name. In a 1958 Western series called Trackdown, in the episode called The End Of The World, a conman breezes into town and grifts the people, persuading them that the only way to save themselves from fiery oblivion is to build a wall round the place. The man’s name? You saw it coming. Trump.
No tunnel vision
IN the latest twist in the Brexit bourach, Transport Secretary and thoroughgoing numpty Chris Grayling hands £14 million to a fledgling company with no boats and no port contracts to transport freight across the Channel, the busiest waterway in the world and one subject to squalls and unpredictable weather.
Meanwhile, in a tunnel not far from Ramsgate, all is climatically calm, freight is being carried 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by rail to and from the Continent, getting on for two million trucks and a million-plus tons of freight a year. This has clearly escaped Grayling’s notice because he hasn’t even talked to the operators to see if they could fit in the odd batch of pemmican, gruel or survival blankets. It couldn’t be because they are French, could it? Périsse la pensée.
Buddies set ball rolling for Mahrez
I SEE in the new website Football Scotland there’s a piece about eight famous transfers that might have transformed Scottish football, had they happened.
Johan Cruyff, then 33, to Dumbarton? Apparently, it was too cold and blowy down at the Rock for him to perform his famous turns.
And Ronaldinho would have come to St Mirren on a short-term loan but ... the player was up for it, but a scandal over a fake passport nixed that.
But there is one true superstar who was at Love Street, the Paisley team’s ground, but got away.
In 2001, a 17-year-old Riyad Mahrez spent two-and-a-half months on trial, scoring four goals in seven games. But still no offer was forthcoming from the club.
It was February, it was snowing and too cold for the young Algerian – he later described it as abuse – so he feigned an injury, left his hotel by the fire escape, nicked a bicycle, cycled to the station and from thence to Glasgow Airport and Paris, the Premier League title, Player of the Year and now Manchester City star.
Clearly, it was that Buddies “abuse” that made him.
Celebration time as Andy Murray shows off the Wimbledon men’s singles trophy in 2013. Injury is forcing him to retire, but he hopes to make it to this year’s Wimbledon before quitting. And talking of quitting, Donald Trump, left, gave some advice in 2004 about people who come up against a wall