AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

Looking over the ring with Stephen Little

Blog, I’m not going all corporate on you, or becoming a staff sympathiser, but some words have to be written about yesterday’s performance from the Star army.  Because I feel so proud.  Not of one, but of all.  Our ‘bet numbers’ were up, ‘clients played’ were up, and turnover went in the right direction too.  AND, let’s not forget that there was a Cheltenham race cancelled and that Sedgefield was off as well.  Right across the firm, we pulled out all the stops, AND WE MADE IT HAPPEN.  Thank you, and well done, ALL!

It’s always so much fun, arriving in Cheltenham and finding out which cottage Gaul Wood and co have organised for us to stay in.  This year’s is a cracker.  We have eight up this time but our abode for the week could comfortably hold fourteen.  At £700; it looks a bargain!  I had a run yesterday morning with Alex Wheeler and Sean ‘Boyyo’ (Lofty loves saying that) Williams.  Streams, fords, and rivers, all around us.

On arriving home, Gaul Wood greeted us somberly, with news that there was an inspection to see if racing would go ahead.  At this point, being an action junkie, and ferociously annoying fidgeter, my first priority was to think about how I would make it through the day without going mad with boredom.  The previous night though, on arrival, I had noticed a bookshelf, filled with, from a distance, what looked like interesting looking reading material.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those babies!  Oh Blog, oh how wrong!!

To give you an idea of what has been left behind by previous guests:

Motherwell Football Club by Jim Jeffrey. In your Greenhouse by Percy Thrower (sadly, looks like it may now have been removed from circulation). The 2006 phone book.  Oh dear, oh dear.

Thank God, I brought my own book along; Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  Franzen = Best writer of modern times?  I think so…  He isn’t as cutting on the big picture as say Orwell or Dickens, but his emotional intelligence knows no bounds.

In other news:

We tried an initiative yesterday of opening accounts around the pitch.  AS USUAL, Square in the Air produced the goods; supplying us with Gemma to approach and open up promising looking puntery types.  She opened no less than eleven accounts!  Well done, Gemma!!

Stephen Little, the biggest on-course bookmaker of his generation, and a hero of this blog, came up to the box for something to eat and a chat yesterday.  Yep, he’s still got ‘that’ coat.  But what an interesting man.  I stood on the balcony and looked over the ring with him as everyone was packing up.  He really is truly revered and every time he comes to a Star function, punters always approach him and ask ‘are you Stephen Little?’.  And then go on to tell him an individual story, to them, about when they watched him work in his heyday.  It worries me that too many people are forgetting where it all started.  And what the betting ring does for the game, and how many people it first attracts with it’s unique magnetism and energy.  Legends; like Little, are so many young boys, now old men still in the game’s, heroes.

Will report back later, over-and-out, Ben x