Saturday 10 October 2009
Brian Viner: Admission from Yorke leaves his PA in a flap
The Last Word
Dwight Yorke's autobiography, its title Born to Score a cheeky double entendre, has received more attention than an ex-footballer's memoirs ordinarily might on account of the Tobagonian's prodigious sexual appetite, and in particular his association with the model Katie Price, better known as Jordan.
There was an interview with Yorke in the sports pages of one national newspaper last weekend that scarcely even mentioned his football career, so engrossed was the writer by Yorke's sex life. And indeed sex was one of the topics in an interview I conducted with Yorke myself recently, although we talked about much else besides, with his personal assistant and a representative of the book's publishers sitting quietly alongside.
Afterwards, however, his PA, in a clearly agitated state, took me to one side. There were a few things Dwight had said, in response to repeated questions from me, that she would prefer me not to print, or at least not to turn into a big issue. Could I reassure her? I said that I couldn't, not really. He'd said those things, they hadn't been off the record, they were his candid opinions. But none of that was in the book, she protested, and surely the object of the interview was to promote the book? I said that I'd go away and transcribe the tape, but I could make no promises. The interview has yet to run in these pages, so I'll give nothing else away, except to say that the PA's agitation did not concern the time Yorke bedded four women in 24 hours, or had sex in the back of a taxi for almost the entire duration of a journey from Glasgow to Manchester, or the time he lost his virginity at the age of 12, or Jordan's wild antics in the bedroom. No, it concerned a football matter.
I've been interviewing sports stars pretty much every week in The Independent for almost 11 years, but this enjoinder – say what you like about our man's epic promiscuity but please be discreet when you write about his views on football – was a first on me. And speaking of firsts, let me switch sports and turn to the extraordinary Sea The Stars, whose monumental treble of the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, perhaps even racing enthusiast Sir Alex Ferguson would acknowledge to be more historic than the one won by his Manchester United team, including Dwight Yorke, in 1999.
Now, whether or not Sea The Stars contests next month's Breeders' Cup, breeding is what he will shortly be dispatched to do, with 200 mares a year comfortably within his compass and a six-figure fee likely for each covering. And so back to dear old Dwight, who would doubtless scoff at a mere 200 outings a year. On the other hand, no matter how well Born to Score sells, not even he can expect to make as much money out of rampant sex as Christopher Tsui and his mother Ling, the family owners of Sea The Stars.
Paxman scoffs as cricket quiz stumps boffins
On Monday evening I had the satisfaction of seeing my alma mater, St Andrews University, trounce Somerville College, Oxford, in University Challenge. I watched admiringly as the four students effortlessly answered questions on obscure chemical elements, on Caravaggio, on mathematical paradoxes, on Beethoven. But as captain of the St Andrews University XI, 1984-85, I winced at their answers to a question about famous cricket grounds. They were asked to name the cities in which Eden Gardens, Sabina Park and the WACA are located. They answered Bristol, Sydney and I didn't even hear where they placed the WACA because my groans were too load.
I just heard Jeremy Paxman saying, contemptuously, "No, that one's Perth, Western Australia." Honestly, what's the point of knowing the relative atomic mass of krypton if you can't even place Sabina Park within 9,000 miles of Kingston, Jamaica? Or to put it another way, paraphrasing the great C L R James, "What do they know of cricket who only chemistry, physics, history, geography, literature, art and music know?"
Taylor is master of the obvious
The BBC's snooker commentator Dennis Taylor seems like a delightful cove, and will always have a place in my heart for the thrills he gave me in beating Steve Davis in that epic late-night finale to the 1985 world championship. But criticism where criticism's due. In commentating on the Shaun Murphy v Barry Pinches match at the Grand Prix in Glasgow the other day, Taylor actually said, "The name of the game at the end of the day is to make sure you get the balls in the pockets." That's three clichés and a statement of the bleeding obvious in one sentence, almost an achievement of which to be proud.
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