CELEBRITIES finally started trickling down to Mojacar. A scenic spot where they could escape the paparazzi. One day in La Parata bar I met an Englishman and his woman that were known to everyone that surrounded them – except me. He was a football manager. Nothing could be further from any expertise I presumed I had. I didn’t know the rules of the game and in fact didn’t learn to like the game until my wife took it up.
This guy was a different cut from what I presumed footballers to be. He revelled in notoriety and all the fawning that goes with it. Yet, he was glib, movie star looks and always in complete control. His name was Malcolm Allison, he was coaching Crystal Palace and would be around for two weeks. I sincerely thanked my lucky stars. I became his guide and mentor to the area. It was a difficult task involving tasting different cavas and rating them 24/7.
From the story he told me in private, he was on the lam from the press back home. It seems he had left his wife and had taken up with Miss S; a playboy bunny he became emotionally involved with while squandering big money at the gaming tables.
Coaching footballers was his specialty having had to give up playing due to tuberculosis and losing a lung. As a manager he was inventive and soon drew the notice of an ailing Joe Mercer of Manchester City fame. The two became a dynamic duo and won the league. Therein commenced a roller coaster ride with celestial highs and abysmal lows.
Within a year his club were into the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Most of the crowd reputedly came to see ‘big Mal’ as he was known then. He gave them a new look sporting a fedora hat and his custom cigar.
During this period I started to travel to England in hopes of meeting investors there and Malcolm became a spring board to my intensions. Unfortunately, all the planning and saving for months before my trip backfired when I blew the entire sales budget in just two days drinking Champagne and eating at the Playboy club.
Months rolled by and I decided to take another trip. While sitting with him at his house and sipping some Crystal Champagne before he was to go on national TV I asked him a question which I had been conjuring up for a long time.
In the blink of an eye he replied as if waiting for the just such a chance to speak on the situation. That night while watching him enthral national audiences on the box he was ironically asked the same question – in which he gave a totally different reply. At dinner that night he told me you got to keep the “punters off balance to make them always want to listen to you.”