It shouldn’t happen to a host

A difficult first half at Burnmoor CC. Gary Bennett was the guest and the club was busy. Around 80 people were in the back room and in the lounge the club were also hosting a special meal night. Every electric socket in the club and the kitchen were on overload. Then we turned on the amp. The microphone – bright yellow, on a long wire and tightly bound in cellotape – was switched on. Within 5 minutes we were in darkness, then light, then darkness. In fact probably around 10 times in the first half – right up until the kitchen stopped serving. I now know how David Speedie felt going down that tunnel after being sent off with Benno on a cold dark night at Roker Park…

I was invited to a Boxing Evening at the Roker Hotel as a top table guest. My friend, a Sunderland legend who booked me, rang at 3pm to tell me I’d be doing the auction and assured me that it was not a black tie event. I arrived early and asked the receptionist how many would be attending – “it’s a full house – 350+.” Gulp. I popped up to my room to have a lie down and get myself fresh for my slot. Imagine my delight when I awoke from my kip, looked down from my bedroom window and spied the first guests arriving – in black tie get up. The top table of Sunderland favourites was then announced to rapturous applause and had to walk the full length of the room, from the VIP bar to the stage at the opposite end of the room – “Ladies & gentlemen please welcome… Gary Bennett (roar), Bobby Kerr (roar), Martin Scott (roar), Phil …errr Hourigan…(deathly silence).

At another event we had a Portsmouth top to auction, supplied by Harry Redknapp and signed by Primus. I couldn’t remember his first name and asked along the top table of former Sunderland professionals, around eight of them, none of whom could recall the name either. The question reached Len Ashurst who helpfully walked the length of the top table to helpfully suggest “just call him the boy Primus – that’s what we say in football.” Thanks Len!