It's been a week of sporting resignations. First Usain Bolt announces that he will probably give up sprinting after the 2012 Olympics. Secondly, Freddie Flintoff was told by doctors that it might be better if he calls it a day on his cricketing career. Since Bolt is as cool as a refrigerated penguin, I imagine that he is perfectly at ease with his decision. Things are trickier for poor Freddie, however – despite his claims to have many "offers to consider" he is going to miss his cricket. Fortunately for him, he is surrounded by some of the best career advisers available. Last week as he was going through some of his options I was able to eavesdrop on a brainstorming call between Flintoff and his advisers.
"Freddie... How you doing?"
"Oh... hey... I'm OK. Bit of a sore head, to be honest, me and some of the lads went on a bit of a session last night and it all got a bit messy."
"Oh right. You remember we had a call booked to discuss some future options?"
"Yes... sort of... listen, can you keep your voice down? My head is like the inside of a bear's arse. Still, let's crack on."
"Right... sure... Well, we've got an ad campaign offer on the table."
"Cool, what for?"
"Headache pills. The pitch is we see you wake up in a flat that has just been destroyed by some party. Things are everywhere and you're wandering around looking really rough..."
"You should come round and film now – it's all set up."
"Haha... Anyway, you go into the bathroom, take two pills and suddenly you're a changed man. You get changed and head off to Lord's where you start hitting home run after home run..."
"Sixes. Home runs are baseball."
"Yeah, I know, but we think we're going to do a link deal with Federer, so this is for US TV as well and they don't understand cricket."
"Right. What else?"
"Well, we've got a reality show."
"Which one? I'm A Celeb? I quite fancy that, actually."
"Uurghgh no, this is a different one. It's new... everyone says it's going to be big. Basically, it's you, Janet Street-Porter and Bubble from Big Brother 2 stuck in a lift together for 48 hours. It's called Stuck In A Lift With You.
"Doesn't really sound like my bag."
"That's fine, that's fine, as I said, we're just riffing here, nothing is being green-lit unless you give the say-so. There's a cider company in the South-west who are very keen to put you on their label."
"That's more like it."
"They want to put you on with KP."
"Fook off, not sharing cider with him."
"No problem. Are you still keen on the whole Dubai thing?"
"Yeah, have you got something out there?"
"Yup, just came in. You know the seven-star hotel there? They are very keen to open a new ride in their adventure zone. They were thinking about some kind of Flintoff Challenge Experience."
"What does that involve? Sounds cool."
"Yeah. I knew you'd like this. Basically, they will put you up in the hotel, all paid. Then every day, for three hours, you have to stand on this ledge over from the sky bridge and kids can use these cannons to fire balls at you. If they hit you then they get a prize."
"What? That's insane. I'm not doing that."
"The money's good, Freddie... think it would be very popular.
"How about a sporting celebrity version of Come Dine With Me?"
"Who are the others?"
"Fatima Whitbread, Geoff Capes and Gazza."
"Bugger off. It would cost me 500 quid just to feed Whitbread and Capes, and don't even start on Gazza's bar bill. Look, what I want to do is something in cricket – commentating maybe, like Both and Gower."
"Yeah, I know you asked about this."
"And did you ask the telly people?"
"Yes, we did. I'll be honest, it's not looking good. They want to go in a new direction."
"What do you mean a new direction? Oh God, please tell me they haven't signed an Aussie."
"No, they just want to try and bring in younger viewers, so they were thinking of going radically different."
"Have they mentioned names?"
"Konnie Huq and Lily Allen."
"Lily Allen loves the game, Freddie, and Huq is ticking lots of boxes, plus she used to do Blue Peter."
"This is insane."
"I'm sorry, Freddie..."