Football | T. AYUGA

Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Mallorca.

I have to say that I have always enjoyed playing tennis (don’t worry, no Djokovic comments today!) both in Mallorca and here in the UK. Never a champion in the making at any age or stage in my erstwhile career, the game is both good for a chap’s health and very social into the bargain. Indeed, since arriving in the UK I’ve been playing quite a bit at the tennis club up the road.

Anyway, I noticed that Judy Murray, mother of tennis champions Sir Andy and Jamie, has recently been talking about how women are often seen as “nightmare pushy parents” when the same qualities in a father would be described as “supportive.” I think that she’s right to a limited degree because as a father and grandfather of sports mad kids who has stood on freezing touchlines listening to parents screaming blue murder at referees of under-10 years old games as if they were European Champions League finals I sort of know what she means.

Although I understand that it has got better recently, at one time the shouting and abusive language at junior football and rugby matches was something to behold; but not in a good way. In my experience both male and female parents can be as bad as each other in this regard, nevertheless when it comes to the crunch women can be somewhat more vitriolic than the male of the species.

Mostly, ‘gobby’ men just do it for effect i.e. pretending that they know what they are talking about even though they are marginally obese and always have been, and have barely kicked a football in their lives. With women, it’s a lot more personal. My son tells me that when his lad is playing football there is a rule at his club that insists that parents stand back from the touchline and should only make ‘positive’ comments and clap good play rather than boo or heckle the little kids playing football or rugby.

Nevertheless, he tells me that nowadays if anyone gets told off for breaking these rules, it is always the mums! Could it just be about the cliché ‘mothers and sons’ or does it go deeper than this? One thing is for sure, things have to have got better than an incident I witnessed over 20 years ago. One Saturday morning at the tennis club I used to belong to in the UK, rather than be dragged around the city centre from frock shop to Marks & Spencer I popped into the club to watch for a while some of a junior county tournament our club was hosting.

When I arrived there was a bit of a fracas taking place in the car park, where it seemed that a young girl of thirteen years of age had been assaulted by her mother for being knocked-out of the tournament a little earlier than dear mum had expected. Naturally the woman was banned from the club and was warned about her future behaviour by the police. The woman’s job? She was a well known local solicitor!

A soup of the day rip-off

My column this week is rather ‘random’ I’m afraid, but that being said, it is the little things in life that get one’s goat rather than Prime Ministerial pi**-ups in Downing Street I find. Last Saturday we decided to take a trip to the charming town of Cirencester just 20 minutes drive away to mooch about and perhaps treat ourselves to a snack(ish) lunch somewhere pleasant.

An hour later we dropped into a rather smart ‘retro’ cafe where we had a simple bowl of potato and leek soup each accompanied by some pieces of sourdough bread. Not exactly ‘belly-fit-to-burst’ grub but pleasant all the same. Silly me - I should have checked the menu because we were charged £14.50 plus a 10% service charge that I hadn’t noticed and then gave the pretty young waitress another 10% tip on top of that.

So then, two fashionably half-full bowls of soup plus ‘extras’ (the service charge was hidden away at the bottom of the bill) equals £17.45 - ching-ching. Funnily enough, I could cope with the cost of the food (just!) and the tip - but, what the hell is that so called ‘service charge’ all about? I know, it serves me right I suppose - but it’s not the principle, it’s the money.

Who likes midget gems?

I do try not to be too old fart(ish) in my ‘Confidential’ columns, but alas sometimes one just can’t help one-self can one? First up, I see that M&S have changed the name of their ‘Midget Gems’ because of pressure from some right-on lunatics out there.

These sweets are so moreish you’d have thought they’d be the last thing that would leave a sour taste in your mouth…See what I did there? But Midget Gems have been rebranded ‘Mini Gems’ by Marks & Sparks - after a disability campaigner claimed that their name could offend those with dwarfism - which, by-the-way is a term that offends yet another set of people who are determined to be offended.

A Dr Erin Pritchard from The Liverpool Hope University who suffers from dwarfism herself is determined to rid our society of this so-called appalling word - but why? Anyway the food producer McCain’s are also under pressure to ban the word ‘Chunky’ from their tasty range of pre-formed chips as some overweight people might well be upset by the use of the pejorative word ‘Chunky’ in the packaging of this product.

It seems that the word ‘Chunky’ could be replaced by words such as ‘Big Boned’ or maybe ‘Full Figured’ so as not to upset fat people when they buy bags of frozen chips. I may have made some of that last bit up!