ENGLAND may have missed out in the Euro 2020 final, but performances of Gareth Southgate’s team have been described as one of the greatest English sporting moments since 1966 and all that. This made me consider my own sporting highlights.
Apart from a brief and undistinguished rugby career, where I was described as an ‘impact player’, because nobody had an idea what sort of impact I would have, and a couple of blasts around Thruxton in a single seater, my sporting history is confined solely to, ahem, ‘memorable incidents” with professional athletes.
Although I hail from Stoke I support Chelsea due to the fact that I spent most of the 90s tearing up and down the Kings Road, just as the “Italian invasion” of Zola, Di Matteo and Vialli began.
One night, somewhat ‘over refreshed’ at Pucci’s Pizzeria, I managed to slip, stumble and go sprawling down a set of steps, finally landing on Vialli, who was coming up the other way. In one fell swoop I could have ended the Italian legend’s career. He took it very well considering.
Away from football my other great sporting moments have been to do with rugby. These include a long and slightly blurry afternoon with England and Lions legend Steve Smith. At one point put me in a friendly headlock. At least I think it was friendly. I also met the great Gavin Hastings at a charity function. He asked me if I played, which was somewhat akin to Ayrton Senna asking you if you drove.
But my finest sporting moment was at a Marbella house party in 1999. I found myself in the kitchen talking rugby to a friendly Nigerian bloke. I was waxing lyrical about my various non-existent rugby highlights, only to ask my new friend, Steve, where he came from.
Bath, he answered.
And then the penny dropped.
Steve. Steve Ojomoh. Bath and England player…
Steve burst out laughing and called out to his mate in the corner. “Addie. Come and meet Giles. He plays a bit of rugby.”
England winger Adedayo Adebayo introduced himself, and the pair, unable to contain their mirth, insisted that I came with them for after party drinks.
The pair insisted on taking me with them as they left the party, and I can honestly say that I’ve proved that not only can I not perform like a rugby player but I can’t party like one either.
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- Read the archive of Giles Browns columns