AUTHOR: James Dowen

There’s no more fighting to be done, Baron. It’s time to just let go

The old guard at Star HQ will be doffing their caps on Monday morning to a lion of a punter who will forever leave an indelible mark on the history of Star Sports.

When ‘The Baron’ came onto the scene, never mind just us, but very few bookmakers at all, had ever experienced his level of, not only play, but also psychological warfare.

The gambling game tames lions with varying levels of jolts of pain. As you progress further, cutting your teeth deeper, and visit some of the amphitheatres that hold the most wild of gladiators, the voltage must be higher and higher for the most savage of warlords to be tamed, and thus fall into line. Occasionally though, something different appears in the distance from the jungle: an insatiable characteristic, a lust for far more than just big play; a lust for a head-to-head aggression and warfare with an opponent. Where, as Gordon Gekko puts it; “It’s not about the money. It’s about ‘the game’”. This is when matters can get out of hand, and make no mistake, this can happen for either party: punter or bookmaker.

The Baron’s story will go down in gambling history as a warning to us all. He had every part of the armoury needed to be a huge success in business but what he had above all else though was the urge to challenge. Balls and a soul that required the most extreme, and totally limitless, kicks of power and adrenalin. He was so headstrong that he was like a wild bull. An enormous alpha testosterone and aggression level that he couldn’t satisfy or find an equal to. Gambling bigger and bigger and bigger, was his only way to get near feeding this inner beast.

Sadly, for him and many victims of different types, no one or no thing could stand in his way. As the economy closed down and further business funding became impossible to source, the raging bull was losing blood, fast and heavily, and it was just a matter of time before it fell to its knees. When it did, a trail of devastation emerged that, barring Bernie Maddoff, no other had created.

The Baron, at last had been tamed. Not by any man, not by himself, but by the Mother Nature that is the economy. Lending had frozen up. Investors had disappeared. The merry-go-round type pass-the parcel had come to an end and unfortunately for lots of people…The Baron wasn’t holding the money. Where did the money go…? No one really knows…not even The Baron. During his rule though, all around him did well. Not only the bookmakers, but the staff, the tailors, the restaurateurs, the Bentley garages, the jewellers, the antique and art dealers. Make no mistake, this was a spender extraordinaire. A true one-of-a-kind.

It is time though now for him to leave the blood-sodden battlefield and, at long last, reflect, rest and mourn. There is no more fighting to be done, and on Monday morning his fate will be sealed for a good few years to come.

Whatever The Baron has done and been convicted of, I will speak now as I have found…

He mentally beat the shit out of me, but when I recovered, I had been brought to a level of being able to compete with the wildest and most aggressive levels of opponents put before me. My blood is cool and my temper does not rise when it gets hot in the kitchen now. I would go to say that because of my experience with him, I perform better under such circumstances. No punter, but no punter, has ever got near his level of intensity. I carry that on with me like a proud scar from battle.

When I was in my twenties I performed quite royally as a fuckwit and did my absolute brains on a chain of the worst betting shops known to man. The money he lost saved me from myself and allowed me to see better days.

Baron, fade into the time. Although it is against ever grain of your nature, allow yourself to go with the flow and lose control of the situation for a while. Acclimatise and settle. Once you have done this you will be able to see and map out a new direction for your future.

You have a powerful, if not overpowering, presence and character. That will never leave you. You have a mind, with a drive and insatiable appetite that will at last be forced to rest. But next time it will be focussed, rather than out of control.

You will come again. Of that I have no doubt.

I will always be around. You know that. I will be nearby. But you have to go soon. The clock is ticking down but don’t try to fight it and don’t do anything silly. You have to do what you have to do now. The ‘big house’ awaits and I cannot hold the gates shut or stop the pain that will blind you. Let go. Allow it all to happen around you, like an out of body experience. Be submissive to the system, but strong inside; stronger than ever before.

As I bid you farewell and a safe voyage, Baron, I remind you that… you will never be forgotten.

Ben x

In other news:

The female department of The Elderly and Infirm, who seems to have to perform multiple ‘number two’s’ wherever she goes, has been staying with me in London Town this weekend. We not only visited The Windmill, in Mill Street (NOT The Windmill in Soho, of which Mr Jerry Croxford is a regular) for a pie, but also English Restaurant, next to Spitalfields Market. I had the Venison casserole on a polenta base (a bit ooly fooly sounding, to impress Gaul Wood). It was the best meal I’ve eaten this year. English Restaurant let me down when I visited it with GW earlier this year but made up for all lost ground today. Definitely give the place a run out if you are in the area.

B x