AS Avram’s hold on the Chelsea job appears to be loosening by the day, there is another Grant making waves in the football world . . . Russell.
I discovered this week that everyone’s favourite bejumpered portly astrologer writes a weekly column for the Non-League Today newspaper.
“He’s best known as the world’s favourite astrologer,” trumpets the masthead above his column, “but Russell Grant’s true love is non-league football!”
Grant is, apparently, a huge fan of Hillingdon Borough. And he combines his love of non-league football with his keen interest in the stars and what I might charitably term the ‘Heat magazine celebrity circuit’ to create possibly the most bizarre sports column I’ve ever read.
In the latest issue, Grant writes a piece on Paul Gascoigne’s current plight which manages to weave in references to Kettering Town, Sunset Boulevard and Britney Spears. I learned nothing from reading it, although it was vaguely sympathetic: not unlike the average horoscopes column, in fact.
(I could digress at this point into my ancedote about the time I had to make up the horoscopes on the local paper I was sub-editing for, because the agency that e-mailed them through had accidentally copied Gemini into Cancer so that they read exactly the same, word for word. But I won’t.)
Far more intriguing than Grant’s Gazza pronouncements were his thoughts on the Premier League’s Game 39 plan.
As far as I can tell (and to be honest, I’m still not sure after reading it several times), Grant’s big idea to make Game 39 work is to get each Premier League club to take a local non-league side with them to Dubai, Bangkok or Los Angeles for that extra match.
“Let’s say the date is March 2009,” Grant writes. “The location is Cape Town and Portsmouth play Liverpool.
“Pompey mentor Havant and Waterlooville, and Liverpool mentor the Isle of Man League.
“There is a curtain-raiser between Havant and Waterlooville and a side of similar strength from the host city/country, and between the Isle of Man League and a local league.
“One could be played the night before, and the other immediately before the Premier League tie.”
At this point, my brain started to turn to blancmange. I’m sure if I’d tipped my head sideways, hundreds and thousands would have started pouring out of my ears.
“Now let’s see if my idea floats your boat,” Grant concludes. “If your club likes the idea of being mentored by a local Premier League side and playing a curtain-raiser to a big match overseas, let me know and I will send the list up to my friends at the PL press office.”
(I could, at this point, make make a weak job about Grant talking out of Uranus. But I won’t.)
Interestingly, my horoscope this morning said: You will write a mildly sarcastic piece about a well-known astrologer. It’s a bad time to be in charge of a cash-rich west London club who play in blue.
How do they know these things?