Foreward by Harry Redknapp
Chris Coley and I share the same two sporting passions, football and horse racing. I first came across Chris some three years ago when he made me an offer I simply could not afford to refuse and that was to be the Manager of the Jockeys XI in the inaugural Injured Jockeys Fund match against a Cheltenham Town Legends XI. Finalising the offer took much negotiation but, with the contract having been passed backwards and forwards between various high-powered lawyers, I did duly accept and the deal was signed!
HOWEVER, on the day of the game, and with racing at Cheltenham scheduled for that very same afternoon, out of the blue Birmingham City ( “The Blues” – ironically Chris’ team!) came along with a somewhat better offer begging me to motivate the team to somehow win two of their final three Championship games to save them from relegation! They then called a press conference for that same evening and instead of being at Whaddon Rd I was in front of the cameras in Birmingham.... Charlie George kindly stepped in for Chris at short notice and along with Rod Thomas they did an excellent job I’m told, both in the dugout and an even better job in the bar afterwards, and even later into the night at the Hotel du Vin.
However last year there were no last minute hitches and I duly had a great afternoon’s racing at Prestbury Park and then headed down the road to the Cheltenham ground to meet up with the legendary AP and his fellow jockeys, most of whom had been riding in the afternoon! The team surprised me with their skills: David Bass showing great pace, Jamie Bargary with the touch of a real pro, Wayne Hutchinson a true class act with time galore on the ball, trainer Ben Pauling a rock in defence and AP controlling the game from midfield, reminding me of Liam Brady. Sam Twiston-Davies, certainly blessed with two, let alone one, left feet had no idea of any positional sense whatsoever and roamed aimlessly, and at last, wonder of wonders, Robbie Dunne did finally consent to pass the ball... but the match was duly won and there was fun and merriment in the bar afterwards, particularly with the opposing manager, Nicky Henderson, wearing his Unibet hat.
And since the game I now find myself in partnership with Chris in two horses at Fergal O’Brien’s (please don’t anyone tell Sandra!) and our dreams are very much alive, with a runner at the recent Festival, and plenty more to come, I hope!
I trust you enjoy the book and find it not just full of boring old facts, but fun and entertaining too. Please read on and keep, keep, keep dreaming in these troubled times of either that magic winning goal at Wembley or, even better now perhaps, of one of our horses winning the Gold Cup at Cheltenham!