By Jon Clarke
IT was something of a journey down memory lane for BBC football pundit Steve Claridge at the Homes, Gardens and Outdoor Living show, held on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Working off a stand for sports investment company Milton Express reminded him of selling plants from a roadside stall, near Portsmouth, after leaving school.
The former striker, 46, who played for a host of Premiership clubs, often made more money as a market trader than he did in the first five years of his career.
“Some weeks actually made me a lot more money than when I first became a professional footballer,” he told the Olive Press.
“It took me five years to get to the weekly wage I often made selling plants.
“In the run up to Christmas we used to make thousands selling Christmas trees and other shrubs.
“It particularly helped when a brand new supermarket opened up just up the road.
“In fact, it wasn’t until I was at Birmingham that I finally earned substantially more.”
Claridge – who has played for a record 20 league clubs and has a punditry contract with the BBC – was in Spain for show in Estepona at the weekend.
The successful event, attended by an estimated 4,000 people, also marked a happy return to the Costa del Sol for gardening expert Charlie Dimmock.
The popular TV gardener, 45, gave a presentation and did the rounds, having visited the area a couple of times with hit show Ground Force.
“It’s great to be back. The last time I was here was up on a finca near Istan, which created all sorts of problems for the team,” she said.
“The best thing was going out every night down in Puerto Banus with the team.”
Dimmock has long been a regular visitor to the Iberian Peninsular, as her mother Sue – who tragically died in the Tsunami in 2004 – had a holiday home in Portugal.
The event comprised hundreds of companies and specialists from numerous different backgrounds and areas of expertise.
Generally both the visitors and stallholders were happy with the event, which will now return in April in Torremolinos.
Companies, including building firms Aim and Concept, dubbed it a success.
Andy from construction firm Roger Bullivent insisted it was an ‘excellent show’, while financial advisor Richard Alexander said it was a ‘great exhibition’ with many enquiries to follow up.
Olive Press gardening expert Sue Rodgers of Nevada Naturales was delighted with the turnout and the upbeat comments from visitors.
Children with Cancer raised over €500 on its stand.
Organiser Gina Marks, of GM Events, originally from Southampton said: “The feedback has been excellent and we are looking forward to our next event in the spring. Thanks to all the exhibitors who attended the event.”