Sport on TV: Not laughing but drowning all the way to the Sandbanks
Sunday 20 January 2008
If you could live in one of the most expensive places on earth, would you make your home in Poole, Dorset? More to the point, would you let a former tabloid editor go tramping around your house poking his nose in? 'Piers Morgan on Sandbanks' (ITV1, Tuesday to Thursday) explored the phenomenon of a peninsula where a dilapidated old two up, two down with a view costs £5 million.
Sandbanks is where Portsmouth's manager, Harry Redknapp, has his "castle", and strangely the Cockney seems to belong there, as Old Harry Rocks stare back at him from the horizon. "I grew up in the East End of London and we didn't see any water," he said. Times must have been very hard. "We'd never move from here. I wouldn't move away from this area," he kept saying.
It seems he was true to his word: supposedly the reason he didn't get the Newcastle job, the reason Keegan fever has engulfed us, was because he refused to up sticks from his £10m beach hut and demanded a jet to fly him to and from the North-east. Anyway, Newcastle's shirt sponsors, Northern Rock, are hardly going to be able to afford to bankroll his mortgage.
Two of Harry's foreign stars, Pedro Mendez and Sulley Muntari, invested in Sandbanks too, even though Mendes admitted: "We have loads and loads of places like this in Portugal, and I could have bought a castle instead." He means a proper castle rather than his gaffer's rambling gaff, which looks just like a suburban house but with 150 extensions.
The flipside of this very valuable coin was 'A Million Pound Place in the Sun' (Channel 4, Tuesday), which depicted Spurs' unsettled striker Jermain Defoe and his model fiancée Charlotte Meares buying a house in Mallorca. Defoe has just finished having a £4m mansion built in Hertfordshire, and has a couple of million to spare.
Defoe may not have time to settle in before he puts his house, and then himself, on the market. One of the most unsettled players in the top flight, he can barely get a game for Spurs and is constantly rumoured to be on his way out. And it turns out that he is even more unsettled than that. By the time the programme came out he had left Charlotte for another model, the hate-filled Danielle Lloyd of 'Big Brother' infamy. To spite "Danielle Defoe", let's hope Charlotte finds herself a "Robinson Crusoe" on her island paradise – perhaps Paul Robinson might do. The Spurs keeper has some time on his hands too.
Back on Sandbanks, the bottom will fall out of the market one day. But the vicissitudes of a career in professional football were reflected in Dorset waters in quite another way. The urbanisation of the coastline has made it vulnerable to erosion, and as a marine geology professor aptly put it, "in its simplest terms it's Canute against Neptune, and I know who's going to win that one". The filthy lucre swilling around these castles in the sand will sink to the bottom of the sea.
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