Juventus– A Rolls Royce, a Spiv, a FIAT and a Vauxhall Victor!

8 Feb

Good Morning,

In the early 1960’s, each and every morning a rather smartly dressed gentleman would get into his car and drive in towards the centre of London. This journey would take perhaps half an hour from his large house on the outskirts of the city, yet it was a journey which he looked forward to on a daily basis.

He was absolutely regular in this journey– like a metronome— leaving his house and arriving at his destination at precisely the same time each day. He would also exercise the same sort of precision for his return journey each evening. Part of the reason for such preciseness was to ensure that the right people saw him on that journey each morning, which is why he would wave at more or less the same people from his car each and every day.

The car concerned was a gleaming Rolls Royce which was his pride and joy and which he saw as the ultimate status symbol– demonstrating that he had “made it” from somewhat humble roots to a position of wealth.

Once he had reached the city centre, he would park the car in exactly the same spot each morning at precisely 9:15 am. He had secured a small courtyard attached to another building which faced directly on to a busy street for the sole purpose of parking the car in that courtyard every day. Once in the courtyard, with the car facing nose first out into the street, he would secure the yard by way of a heavy metal chain which would be drawn taught across the front of the yard and then secured by way of a large padlock to a  metal Iron girder which was part of the fabric of the adjacent building.

With the prized car secure behind the heavy chain, he would then walk a couple of blocks to his place of business, safe in the knowledge that the car was as safe as houses in its very own pend.

He could have driven his car directly to his place of work, but he took the view that when you earn your living selling lower priced new and used motor vehicles in what was the emerging world of the motorist, it did not do to show the customers that you were making sufficient money to be able to afford a brand new Rolls Royce.

It was all very well for friends and neighbours to see him in the car– even better for business partners and competitors– but not potential customers– and hence the two blocks walk to work.

If you look up the definition of the word Spiv, then it might be said that our man with the Rolls Royce was a spiv. When we think of a spiv, then you imagine Flash Harry from St Trinian’s or Arthur Daly. The mode of dress, the slightly shady background, the desire for a flash lifestyle– all of that type of thing may well be indicative of a Spiv.

By proper definition, a Spiv is someone who lives by their wits, who may be a petty criminal, who may sell you dodgy or counterfeit goods or goods of questionable authenticity.

However the derivation of the word Spiv is likely to have come from the word “Spiff”– which was a term used for a bonus paid to drapers assistants for selling excess or out of date stock. Later the same term would transfer as a bonus to be paid to car salesmen when they had reached a certain target.

Equally, the word “Spiffy” meant someone who was uncommonly smartly dressed for every occasion.

While there was- and still is– nothing to suggest that our man with the Rolls Royce was in anyway involved in criminal activity or the selling of dodgy goods– if we go by the definition of the smartly dressed bloke who lived on his wits and who could turn a profit out of every second breath, then there is no doubt that our man was indeed a Spiv of the highest order as defined by the standards of the early 1960’s.

The same,however, could not be said for the young man who watched our spiv park his car in his treasured courtyard at 9:15 each morning.

No, he was far from being a spiv– at least in the flash dress sense. However, when it came to living on his wits then perhaps he could show our man with the roller a thing or two– or at least so he thought.

This man was considerably younger than our Roller driver. He was still in his late teens when he had taken the bus to London from his native Glasgow and he was there barely a fortnight before he noticed the man parking the Rolls Royce in exactly the same spot at precisely the same time each morning.

Our Glasgow boy had had a decent education, but was not interested in any kind of University Education nor following many of his friends into the shipyards or any other type of apprenticeship back home. Instead he headed for London intent on adventure and making the kind of money that could not be made in any heavy industry job.

Having enough money to find a boarding house for a few weeks, he quickly succeeded in finding a job in a department store– but this was only a means of securing immediate money while he waited for the right opportunity to come along– and he thought that the man with the Rolls Royce might be just that opportunity.

Once he had satisfied himself that this man parked the car in the same place at the same time each day he began to formulate a plan, the first part of which was taking a week away from the department store under some sort of false pretense— so that if all did not work out he could return to work.

Having, done that, he then set about a full week’s worth of research. He watched the man park the car and then followed him to his car showroom. Once the man was safely inside, he then went back to the street where the car was parked, and simply watched the world go by, taking note of the passers by, the shoppers, the office workers and so on. He made himself familiar with all the big office blocks within a two block radius, all the shops round about, the tube stations and so on. Most importantly, he satisfied himself that the man with the Rolls Royce did not return to his car until precisely 4:50pm each day– presumably leaving his showroom at 4:45pm and walking for 5 minutes to collect the car.

He never wavered in terms of the time he arrived or departed– and this was the final clincher for our young Scot– his plan was a goer!

The following day, he went back to the departure store and advised that it was with regret that he had to hand in his notice and leave that employment immediately. This news was taken stoically by his line manager and within minutes the young Scot found himself back on the street.

He now spent the rest of the day making some specific purchases that were necessary for his plan, and even once they had been purchased, he had to take them back to his digs to perform some personal customisations that were vital to the whole scheme. By lunchtime Sunday, his props were ready and all he could do now was wait for the man in the Rolls Royce to turn up on the Monday Morning.

Sure enough, at bang on 9:15am on Monday, the young man was on hand to see the Rolls Royce come up the busy street and reverse into the regular parking spot. He watched as the driver drew the chain taught, affixed the padlock to the metal girder and walk off to his car showroom.

Maybe it was tension or excitement that made the young man follow him all the way there, but that is exactly what he did. In fact, he waited a full hour after the car had been parked before he started putting his plan into action.

Accordingly, at 10:15am on that first morning he started out on a course of action and a money making venture that, not only had he never tried before, but one he had never heard of anyone else trying before.

The Young man stepped over the metal chain and from what to all and sundry looked like an artist’s portfolio, he pulled a double sided V board with magnetic edges and placed it on the roof of the Rolls. The V board was placed there perpendicular to the length of the car and parallel to the street. The young man then stood on the street, waving a bunch of tickets and started to shout to no one in particular:

” Roll Up– Roll Up buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a beutiful Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Mark II exactly like this one!” and he went on ” Look at this car ladies and gentlemen, it has a 6.2 L V8 engine, top speed 114 mph, power steering , electric windows, blue instrument interior lighting, full leather upholstery and all mod cons including a handbrake warning light for the forgetful. It has a top speed of a fabulously illegal 104.7 MPH and goes from nought to sixty in a mere 10.9 seconds and this particular model will cost you just about £7,000 to drive clean out the showroom– but for just £5 you can buy a raffle ticket from me and in less than 4 months time you could be the owner of this fabulous vehicle! Come on — what do you have to lose except just £5– and in return you could own the same car as the rich and famous!” 

In 1962 the average house price stood at £2,670 and the average yearly salary was £799. A loaf of white bread would cost you 11.5d (4.5p) and a pint of milk was 1 shilling and 4d- or6.5 pence. A copy of the Guardian newspaper was 4d or 1.5p in today’s money and a pint of beer was 2 shillings and 4d or 11.5p.

Accordingly £5 was almost one third of an average weeks pay– but then again the wages in London were higher than the rest of the country and in this particular stretch of London street there were many people who earned a higher than average wage!

The V Board on top of the shiny Rolls Royce spelled out the car’s specifications and its list price but stressed in big bold letters that “A car just like this could be yours for just £5!”.

On that first day, our young Scot sold 116 raffle tickets at £5 a time between roughly 10:30am and 3:30pm– roughly one every three minutes– and pocketed £580!

At precisely 3:30pm, our boy packed up his sign into his portfolio and headed off before our Spiv returned to his vehicle absolutely none the wiser  to the incredible goings on.

The following day, the same thing happened. The driver parked his car, headed off to his work and within the hour the V board was back on top of the Rolls and our boy was back selling raffle tickets. Trade was brisk– brisker than the day before as the boy grew in confidence and was able to get small crowds to gather round and buy tickets in groups. By close of business ( 3:30pm) he had collected some £700 plus.

When questioned about when the draw would be made, the young man simply said that the draw would be in a minimum of 4 months as clearly he had to sell enough tickets to cover the cost of the vehicle. This explanation seemed reasonable and was accepted. Further, the boy advised” that the result of the draw would be posted right here ( on this mini car lot ) and the winner would collect the vehicle from here.” Again this was accepted.

After two weeks the young man had made a small fortune for extremely minimal outlay, but then faced a worrying altercation when he unexpectedly faced two beat policemen who were curious about his activities. However, he had prepared for such an event, and simply explained that the car belonged to Mr X of X Motors whose main showroom was only a couple of blocks away. Further Mr X had bought this wee courtyard to highlight the latest in prestige vehicles such as this Rolls Royce, and that his raffle pitch was no more than the latest selling technique which they were testing.

The two Policemen looked slightly sceptical but none too concerned given the explanation provided. The Young man knew that if they checked the registration of the vehicle and the ownership of the courtyard where it was parked the policemen would indeed be directed to the same man who also happened to own the car garage along the road.

As it happened the two policemen left without even checking but did warn the young man not to cause a disturbance with his sales pitch, and not to encourage crowds to linger and block the pavement! And with that the law was gone…………

With the two local bobbies pacified the young Scotsman was free to continue selling his raffle tickets with impunity– and that is precisely what he did for the better part of three months!!!

His average takings were approximately £750 per day working a 5 day week bewteen the hours of 10:30am and 3:30pm.

After 3:30pm he would take his money back to his digs ( he now rented an apartment of his own in the vicinity ) and in the later part of the afternoon he would walk around the local area or slightly further afield in search of someone else who had a prestige car and who was as fastidious in their daily habits as the driver of the Rolls.

He knew that eventually he would have to move on from his current pitch as the time was approaching when he would have to announce who the winner of the raffle was– and of course as there was never going to be a real raffle in the first place, he did not want to be standing there when it dawned on anyone that there never would be a winner– just a whole load of people who had lost a fiver!

Then, one day, disaster struck.

The man with the Rolls Royce decided to leave his showroom in the middle of the afternoon to attend a family function. He left his office and walked a couple of blocks to where he always parked his car and was amazed to find a V board sitting on top of it and a young man appearing to sell raffle tickets for that very same car!

Now, our spiv man was no fool. He knew fine well that the car was secured as usual behind the heavy metal chain and there was no sign that anyone had in any way tampered with the car except to put a V board on top of it.

Bursting with curiosity, he stood in a door way for something like half an hour and watched as the young man standing in front of his car sold a raffle ticket every few minutes or so to a passer by after giving them the spiel about the car and the raffle.

After watching for half an hour or so, the Rolls Royce owner sauntered up towards the young man and stopped to listen to his sales pitch.

Now, what our spiv didn’t know was that the young Scottish fella had seen him and  of course knew exactly who he was and that he was the rightful owner of the vehicle behind him. The young man had been somewhat astounded to see him walk round the corner at an earlier time than usual and was clearly caught on the hop. However, he also realised that if he simply upped sticks and legged it, he would be drawing attention to himself and that such a course of action might not be a good move in the long run.

So- he carried right on selling when he noticed the man stop in a doorway in order to watch what was going on!

Accordingly when the two met face to face, the young Scot asked brazenly ” So do you want to buy a raffle ticket mate? You could win a lovely car like this?”

To the young man’s astonishment, the well dressed gent said ” Go on then, give me two tickets” and promptly produced a £10 note which he appeared to hand over with some glee!

The ticket seller somewhat nervously handed over two tickets and put the money in his pocket along with the rest of the days takings. However, rather than walk away, the older man looked at the youngster and in a sort playful jolly way said ” Well, I am going to go to that cafe over there for a cup of tea, and if I may say so, I think you should pack your things up here and then come over and join me! Oh– and if you choose not to join me, then please make sure that you are not here again tomorrow or any other day as I will go to the police– although I stress I really don’t want to do that and would prefer you to come for a cuppa!”

And with that, the Rolls Royce owner walked across the street and went into a cafe.

Slightly earlier than normal, the young Scotsman packed up the V board into the portfolio and for a moment he considered turning on his heel and disappearing into the crowd. He had made a substantial sum of money over something like 11 weeks and could have lived high on the hogg for a while on the back of that,but somehow he felt inclined to take up the offer of a cup of tea in the cafe opposite– just out of curiosity if nothing else.

When he walked into the cafe he found our Spiv sitting with a pot of tea in a seemingly relaxed fashion. The young man ordered and ice cream soda and simply sat down without saying a word to the tea drinker.

” Is that your lunch?” asked the older man

” Yes– sort of” said the Scotsman with a smile

” So” said the Roller owner ” Would you care to explain to me why you are trying to sell my car by way of a raffle?”

” I am doing no such thing” said the young man indignantly ” You will notice that my sign and my spiel takes great care to say that the car being raffled is one which is “Like” this one– your car is nothing more than a demonstration model for advertising purposes”

“Ah— that seems a fair point” said the older man nodding.

” So where is the real car that forms the prize in your extravaganza?”

” In the showroom, I think”

” In the showroom– you think?”

” Yes”

” You only think it is in the showroom?— why do you only think it is in the showroom?”

” That’s what I have been told!”

“Really? Who by?” enquired the older man.

” By the people who employ me” said the young man between spoonfulls of ice cream soda.

” and who are they?”

” Oh I am actually not to sure. All I know is that I am paid by a company called Raffle Autos and report to a man called Gareth but I don’t know who actually owns the company. I was hoping that you could explain a bit more about that!”


” Well are you not employed by the same people? You said it was your car?”

” It is my car” said the older man ” and you know that it is my car and that it is sitting in my parking bay!”

” Well all I know…….”

” Look Son” said the Spiv ” Let me give you a word of advice– something you should remember for the rest of your days”

” Go on” said the young fella

” Never– I repeat NEVER … Kid a kidder son”

” What do you mean?”

” I mean.. for starters… that you are not employed by some imaginary shady character called Gareth… and before you suggest it, don’t go telling me that that this Gareth character is connected to some heavies or something like that and give me a warning that I shouldn’t go asking questions and all that rubbish. I know everyone in this area– it is why I work here. I know who is hooky and I know who is straight. I know who you can trust and who you can’t– and I know for a fact that there is no group of folk in this area — straight or bent– who has the savvy, brains or bollox to pull off a stunt like the one you are pulling– especially with MY car as a model!”

” I am sorry but your wrong……..”

” Wrong my arse, son” said the older man somewhat fiercely but ending with a laugh. ” Look, if I had wanted to turn you in I could have gone and got the Coppers as soon as I saw what you were up to, but I didn’t! Why do you think that was?”

The young man just shrugged– he had been asking himself the same question as soon as he saw the Roller owner.

“… because I am intrigued… and because you are good” added the Spiv. ” How much have you made?”

” Eh …. about £60!” lied the younger of the two

” Son– you have a shocking memory– have I not just told you never to kid a kidder! and listen carefully to my question again before you answer it. I will try again. How much have YOU made?”

The young man paused and thought about the question– thought about his location and who he was sitting with and indeed why. Weighing all of this up he decided to tell something like the truth.

” About £500″

” £500?”

” Yea”

” .. and how long did it take you to make that sum… a week?.. a month?” asked the Spiv taking a sip of tea

” No that is just today!”

” Today!!!!!” said the tea drinker almost spitting a mouthful all over the table” Today??”

” Yes”

“… and how many days have you being pulling this stint?”

“… oh maybe a week”

This last comment was met with a silent stare from the well dressed man….. a stare which he maintained for fully thirty seconds until the young man relented.

“… ok… maybe a month or so”

” and do you make £500 every day?” asked the ever curious Spiv

” yes”

” Bloody Hell….. that is brilliant. Bloody Brilliant son.. well done” said the older man smiling.

” Glad you approve” said the younger man in a slightly mocking tone

“.. and tell me this son, were you really going to declare a proper winner and present them with a new roller or were you just going to ride your luck for a period and scarper?.. and that is not a trick question!”

The young man was wary of answering this and then thought of something

” Wait a minute– why should I tell you anything?” he asked” why do you want to know and what is it to you?”

The Older man laughed ” so you were just going to scarper!” he said laughing.

” I never said that” said the younger man

” Yes you did” laughed the Spiv-” You didn’t say those exact words but your reaction and your manner tell me that is exactly what you were going to do.”

” How do you figure that?”

” Oh just an educated guess”

” Listen, I have made enough money– or can make enough money– to actually buy a Rolls Royce and give it to the winner and still make a profit if I want to…”

” Yes son I realise that but that is not what you are going to do is it? Because eventually I would have found out you were on my pitch so to speak effectively selling my Roller… and you would have to bank on me bringing your wee scheme to an end thus cutting off your cash flow and your ability to keep trading. So, if I were you, the temptation to load your pockets with dough and beat it at least on this occasion would be overwhelming.. it actually makes sense”

” Why do I feel that there is a “But” coming on”

For the first time the older man looked strangely serious.

” Because you didn’t figure on me being me…. and me being able to see things that you can’t.”

” Oh Yea– such as?”

” Such as the fact that your scheme is almost perfect— almost perfect as a temporary money maker….. but temporary all the same, and bloody difficult to repeat. You would have to find another pitch, with someone who parks a smart motor in a public place and who will leave it there each day for a sufficient amount of time for you to set up your medicine show. And that is something that is not easy to find if I may say so.”

” There will be one somewhere” said the young man

” Maybe” said the Spiv ” But why go looking for something that you have already found?”

” What do you mean?”

” I am saying why move on from where you are just now?”

” What? You would let me stay?”

“Of course! Why not? You are not doing me any harm are you– except for putting a V board on top of my motor? But you are missing a trick!”

” How?”

” Because if you don’t allow anyone to “win” the car then the passing public will get wary and will stop believing in your “raffle waffle”. Whereas, if you actually have a winner then even the cynics will believe your spiel and they will be more likely to take a punt and buy one of your tickets!”

The young man thought about this and saw the point that was being made

” But that relies on me actually paying for a Rolls Royce every 3 months– whereas right now I have had to buy nothing and could just walk away with the money….if I wanted to— though I am not saying that I would do that”

” Yes and that is a crime of course…. ” said the older man

The young man had no answer to that. He had never committed  crime in his life and was in two minds about his original plan of drumming up some money and moving on. He did have enough money to buy a car for the winner. His musing allowed the older man to go on

” However, selling raffle tickets for a fabulous prize which has not yet been bought is not a crime— so long as you actually have the loot to deliver the prize in due course”

“So why did you buy two tickets and invite me over here if you thought it was all a scam?”

” Because it is a very clever scam, because I was curious, because I needed to protect myself and to save your sorry ass in the event of anyone asking questions in due course!”

” What? How do you figure any of that?”

” Right son– just listen to me. You had no intention of giving any one a Roller– you would just have disappeared leaving my nice car sitting in that spot for all to see– reminding God knows how many folk that they had been conned. Eventually someone would have put a brick through my windscreen or something… and I can’t have that can I? Further, eventually someone would have gone to the Police and they would have come to me as the demonstration car is registered to me and sits on a piece of ground that I own. Word would have gotten out that loads of people had been conned in a car scam and that the guy who owns that car dealership round the corner was somehow involved… and I can’t have that can I?– might be very bad for business!”

” Right– I can see that” said the Young Scot

” Next, I have  a proposal for you that makes you and me money– endless money if you think about it.”

” Go on” said the Scot who was now all ears

” well I could win the car with the tickets that I have bought— technically that would male your scheme legal but barely believable– who is going to believe that I was not in some way in on this scheme from the start? That could save your ass but it would be bad for business as you would definitely have to pack up and move on and it might still be bad for business for me.”

” Right”

” So I have an alternative suggestion: You continue selling your raffle tickets for another three weeks– at £500 per day you will have collected £7500 in that period. You pay that sum to me and then you announce your winner with great fanfare— have them photographed with the car etc etc. Now lots of people will not actually want to drive that car– it does 14 miles to the gallon son and is expensive to run. All the people you have sold tickets to are not motorists– they are pedestrians who have come into London on the tube or the bus– they wouldn’t know what to do with that car. So you offer them the alternative of £6,000 in cash.

Now either way, I have sold my car for £1500 more than I paid for it or I keep the car, pocket the spare £1,500 and you have a punter who is £6,000 better off. You have kept all the money that you have made in the past month– which at £500 per day should give you £10,000.

After that, you start again with a new raffle but this time with a big splash of photographs showing the previous winner with either the car or their cheque for £6,000. Those who bought a ticket before will do so again– and those who were sceptical about the whole thing– and there will have been some– will be tempted to try their hand this time…… what do you think?”

The young man could see the brilliance in this plan but also saw what he thought was an obvious flaw

” Aye and what if the winner actually wants the car?”

However the Spiv had thought this through.

” Look that is easy. If they really want the car then they get the car! With £7500 in my tail I go and get a new one– only this time a phantom or a Bentley or whatever. We park it in the same spot, I drive it about as per normal and away we go again. The car is paid for from your takings, and after that expense is taken care of we agree a profit split.”

” So you are actually saying I get to sell your car?”

” Yes– of course– as long as I make a profit what do I care? can I explain something? I got a discount on the Rolls– yes you can get a discount even on a Roller! Part of the deal is that I drive it about the rather posh suburbs where I live and I let as many people see me in it as possible. I also tell the Rolls Royce People that I will park it in a prominent place and let people admire it– and obviously if I can persuade someone to buy one then I get a wee spiff on the side”

The young man quickly did some maths in his head– at nearer £700 per day in sales over say 13 weeks meant that the takings would be £45,500– If the discounted car were to cost say £6,000 then there were be the bones of £40,000 to split with the Spiv just about every quarter– though of course the Spiv had been told that the takings would be £500 per day.

” So what do you propose in terms of numbers?” asked the young man

” You sell as many tickets as you want ” said the older man ” but you give me £1,000 per month– come rain or shine– I son’t care if you sell £5,000 worth of tickets per month as long as I get my £1,000– I won’t ask for an accounting and I won’t demand a penny more than the £1,000. If you sell only £1,001 per month then I still get £1,000 and you get £1. Further every twelve or thirteen weeks there is a legitimate winner who has their photo taken with the prize– whether it be car or cash– and in addition every six moths we change the car if it has not been won and claimed by the punters. That means that every six months you have to sell  a sufficient amount of tickets to repay me for the car and allow the car to leave for nothing– I will always stake the cost of a new car and show you how much it has cost. When the car is sold, it is done so for a thousand pound profit.”

” Lastly– you will only last so long on that pitch. After a while interest will die away unless people see that there are regular winners. Introduce 2nd and 3rd prizes– watches, holidays, whatever– just make them high end— this will help you sell more tickets. However in the interim i will find you another pitch in a different area. We will not run the two pitches at the same time but will alternate them so that you have a captive audience in two areas. I will also make sure that the whole operation is perfectly legal and cover our backs that way out of my end of the takings.

This might last a year or a decade– I don’t know– all I know is that right now it appears like a brilliant plan and can make us both some serious money. I will not ask you to get involved in my other business interests nor will I in any way become involved in whatever you want to spend your money on– but I will be happy to provide you with any advice and help should you require it?

What do you say?”

Given that the young man had only been in London for less than 4 months this was an offer that he could not refuse. Even if he had been there for years, this was a business proposal that was irresistable… and that is how the boy and the Spiv got together in a business that was to run with huge success with virtually no outlays for well over a decade!

With his earnings, the young man quickly invested in several properties especially in and around the Fitzrovia and Marleybone areas where property prices would soar making him even richer than the raffle income.

The older man proved to be a very astute mentor, and the two became great friends. This remained the case right up until the older man passed away, and yet in all that time they remained true to their agreement where the Spiv received a fixed sum out of every venture and the younger man was free to keep any extra which there almost always was. They never entered into any other business arrangement or shared an interest in any other business– although both would later ask the other to check over their respective business plans.

The younger man would eventually move out of London altogether, buying a rather splendid large house in the Westbourne area of Bournemouth where he would regularly take to the beach with his wife and family.

He was not a drinker, did not smoke, lived a very healthy life, was a good family man, looked after the family he had left back in Glasgow and did a lot for his local community and many charities but throughout his life always saw the ability to turn a buck in the most inventive of ways.

However, he did have one weakness– one overriding and insatiable vice– and that was……. Glasgow Celtic Football Club.

He travelled all over to see Celtic. He was in Lisbon, Buenos Aries, Milan, Seville and many more places besides. He kept season tickets at Celtic Park despite being in Bournemouth and regularly watched Celtic games on TV when he could not attend. He would regularly go to the Pullman club– the local Celtic supporters club which is situated inside the train station at Pokesdown when it opened in 1998– just for the craic and the feeling of being in Glasgow which he always described as home– even though he had left many years before.

The one thing he did not do regularly despite all his wealth was…. drive!

At every opportunity he preferred to walk, take a bus or train and be where people were rather than sit in isolation in a car. He always argued that by walking and taking public transport you could see people and what they were about– and that way you learned about people and what would make you money.

He never dressed like our Spiv, and whilst always neat he was never flashy. He never boasted of his wealth ( despite being a multi millionaire ) and to be honest if you met him you would have no idea that he was so wealthy as he simply never let it show. He was just a successful Glaswegian living in the south of England.

However, his eye for detail knew no bounds and if interested he could easily become an expert on any situation or on any person– he would spend hours researching and looking into detail. In particular he became an absolute expert on the Lisbon Lions and on Jock Stein in particular– reading every book and any article that mentioned or referred to Stein.

So– after all that– it is time to tell you that yesterday morning my phone rang, and at the end of the phone was a deep and raspy 70 something year old Glaswegian voice despite living in the south of England for many years. It was a voice I had not heard in about 5 years!

” Hello son! How are you doing. It’s your long lost uncle Tom here!”

Without any warning I had burst into an involuntary grin without saying a word in reply!

” Hello Tom– Jesus how are you. Have you still got all your own teeth?”

” Listen you– I still look like Rudolph Valentino crossed with Robert Redford– If I wasn’t a happily married grandfather I would hire a bodyguard to keep the women that throw themselves at me in order and in line. But with Jenny around, they all just walk on by as they know she would lay them out with a right hook if they took their interest any further!”

Jenny was his wife of many decades.. and another real character.

” How is Jenny?”

” Grand son, I will tell her you were asking for her”

” yea do that?”

” So what have you been up to– apart from writing online about the famous Glasgow Celtic and alcoholics in need of cheering up?”

“Oh did you see that?”

” Yes son, I saw it. I have always thought that AA meetings should be filled with an hour of real soul searching to begin with, but after that the whole place should be invaded by dancing girls in ra ra skirts just to cheer the buggers up. Jesus that’s the cure– the whole world would stay sober to go to AA meetings with girls in Ra Ra skirts!”

” Aye– and what about the women with a drink problem- how would girls in Ra Ra skirts help them?”

” That’s the probelm with you son, always too bloody sensible with logical questions– you’ll get nowhere in life being that sensible– you have to think outside the box and stop being logical like Spok– look at what a stiff shirt he was?”

” Aye go on yerself ya crazy oul man!” I laughed

” Anyway, the ladies with the drink problem would love my idea– God have you learned nothing over the years? Ra Ra girls at AA meetings would bring in loads of men. Ladies with a drink problem often drink because they are alone and haven’t met a man! Ra ra skirts– no matter who wears them mean men– and men means that they are there and present to be spoken to by lonely women. It is simple supply and demand really— do try and keep up and exercise your mind!”

As usual I was left trying to find a flaw in this philosophy.

” Anyway– let me get to what I have called for– and stop trying to divert me with your nonsense! Do you know where I can get any spare tickets for the Juventus game at Parkhead? I have my own 4 but I am looking for another 2?”

” Sorry Tom they are like Gold dust but I will keep an ear out and see if I can find any”

” Good man”

” Do you think we will win?”


” Do you think we will win?”

” OF COURSE we will win! Have you learned nothing over the years from your Uncle Tom? Have you seen the statements by Platini and Pirlo? Listen son, its Juventus we are playing– the Agnelli Family Club– you know the FIAT people”

“Yes– what difference does that make?”

” Christ son– see what they are saying? A- Celtic have no chance and they are virtually guaranteed to go through and B they won’t make the same mistake as Barcelona who did not change their style to suit the atmosphere and style of Celtic at Celtic Park!– have you ever heard such rubbish?”

He was clearly off on one of his well known soliloquies

” Do you know who the Sheepskin Coat was? Let me tell you– Don Revie! Him and his Leeds team tried twice to get the Lions to change their shape and their style– at Hampden they switched Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer for ten minutes to see if Big Jock would switch his fullbacks about ha ha! Nae Chance!

Never kid a kidder son– never Kid a kidder!

Big Jock wasn’t wearing that- no siree. And that is the point– a clever manager– and Revie was a clever manager– tries to get you to change your system. They don’t change their system to combat you– they make you change to combat them! Simple.

Even Helennio Herrera never changed his system– couldn’t change his system– that’s why he got gubbed and Juventus are no different! They can only play the one way and that is through Pirlo– and lately he hasn’t been on his game and they have struggled!

Naw– they are knackered if we snuff out Pirlo– and Big Victor can take care of that. Everyone says look at Barca– but look at Spain– when the Spanish side came up against Pirlo in the Italian team they just pressed and pressed and gave him no time– that way Italy couldn’t win! In italy– nobody presses Pirlo– they are too polite and too busy combing their hair for the cameras– but if you press him then he can’t play!

Juventus are like a FIAT– they work the same way every time and they have the same faults every time. In the 80’s FIATS were famous for being unreliable– yet that was unfair– they were dead reliable– you could rely on them to break down! Always the same problem as well. The fuel Pump. It would pack in time after time- always the same bloody problem– no fuel pump– no fuel– no fuel– no car– end of story.

You remember old Harry with the car show room? Aye well he said that FIAT stood for FIX IT AGAIN TIM– Tim was his chief mechanic— F.I.A.T.– that equals Fix it again Tim— you knew what was wrong with the car even before it came of the rescue truck– bloody fuel pump!

Pirlo is the fuel pump— If he doesn’t work the whole show goes off the rails– and he says they will adapt a different style? Different style my arse!

Na never kid a kidder son– they haven’t got a different style and they know it. We just play the way we always play and we ram the wee FIAT fuel Pump with a big supercharged Vauxhall Victor– bang!– game over!

” oh are you going to Turin?……..”

Having said nothing for fully 5 minutes I was glad to get a word in:


” Ach well– maybe I will see you in London for the final if you are not down before— I have a few things to tell you and talk to you about. Remember– if you hear of any tickets for Celtic park let me know– good talking to you but I have to go– there’s a man here who doesn’t know it but he wants to sell me a miniature train to keep the grand weans quiet…………….”

And off he went.

So you heard it here first.

Never Kid a kidder– and Pirlo is a dodgy FIAT fuel pump.


By the way I have often been told that the Paradise Windfall draw is organised by a third party who guarantees Celtic a certain sum from each draw— now where have I heard that sort of a thing before?



I need to stress that the above account of a telephone conversation and a man’s life story is a work of complete and utter FACTION.


12 Responses to “Juventus– A Rolls Royce, a Spiv, a FIAT and a Vauxhall Victor!”

  1. BMCUWP February 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Unbelievable,you’ve done it again!

    Brilliant wee piece,many thanks.

    • dan063 February 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Such a wonderful read again. Don’t know how you manage to come up with these gems. Thank you for sharing.

  2. timabhouy February 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Faction what Faction

    Hail Hail

    • ARRANMOREBHOY LXV11 February 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Brilliant.. And to think at present I need to work for a living..

      Roll up , roll up ,get yer raffle tickets here!

      Funny article.. And quite superb!

  3. Raymac February 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Before I go any further–you are a fan of Damon Runyon. Not only that, but your favourites include O Henry and William Service. You have read the Father Brown stories by Chesterton, and most probably his essays. Following on from that,ipso facto you have also read Hilaire Belloc.

    • Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan February 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

      Yes to Runyon— not a consumer of O Henry and Service and I haven’t read the Father Brown series but am obviously aware of them. Read some of Belloc’s poetry but that was long ago.

  4. John Kerr February 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Absolutely brilliant, fine reading for a Friday morning in New York with the blizzard gaining strength and about to drown us in snow.
    Hail hail.

  5. Martin Wilson February 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    You just keep getting better BRTH.Magic piece and when i am at Paradise on tuesday night i will smile every time the Fiat and the Vauxhall crash.

  6. voguepunter February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Great story,hopefully Victor ,Sammi and uncle Tom are on the ball.

  7. John McCourt February 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #


    Can i go halfers with you for the windfal tickets , brilliant article once again even more power to your keyboard

  8. TallBoy Poppy (@TallBoyPoppy) February 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Superb, BRTH. I was wondering why the Spivco PR ticket boy was driving about in a lovely new Merc Ragtop. It all makes sense now.

  9. lwordsblog February 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Yet again another fantastic story brilliantly told. Simply superb Sir..

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