New sponsorship deal for our Johnny.

New sponsorship deal for our Johnny.

England rugby World Cup hero Johnny Wilkinson has today signed a new record breaking two year contract with the BUPA North East Sports Hospital in Newcastle.

The deal which is estimated to be worth £350,00 a year will see the drop-kick king spend a further two years at the exclusive private sports clinic.

Said BUPA North East Sports Hospital Chief Executive Rob Andrew:

“I am delighted to be able to sign up Johnny for a further two years. He’s quite clearly the best patient in English Rugby. He rarely troubles himself with playing sport, and when does occasionally leave the hospital he soon returns. I guess he must like the place.”

Publicity-shy Johnny, best known for appearing in TV adverts for The Times, Boots and Lucozade, said:

“I have spent the best part of my career on the treatment table here at the BUPA North East Sports hospital. I’m delighted to sign up for a further two years.”

Johnny recently made his BUPA North East Sports Hospital comeback after a brief period on the sidelines playing rugby with Newcastle Falcons. He is now safely tucked up in bed monitoring his own progress in the broadsheet newspapers.

“We have told him before that he should never play rugby,” Rob Andrew said.

“It only leads to heartache. If he stayed in hospital like he supposed to, the papers could get on with their job of printing nonsense stories about his never-ending recovery from injury.”


The Weekend Read: 13 – Winning by Clive Woodward

Topical enough, as the Autumn International Rugby circus reaches its conclusion with Wales the only team to beat southern hemisphere opposition.

So perhaps it’s a good time to take another look at this book from the man who facilitated what is arguable England’s greatest sporting triumph since 1966. As a Welshman (albeit with an Irish passport) I had little to cheer about in recent years whilst following the national sport. Living in rugby mad Gloucestershire I watched the English triumph in Sydney in 2003 with my teeth (complete with their new fixed appliances) gritted and have endured the patronising comments ever since.

However I am enough of a fan to appreciate how good that collection of players was and to admire the way that they were prepared and conditioned, not only for that campaign, but for the several years leading to Australia using concepts taken from the world of business. It is for that reason that I suggest you read this as there are lessons for every business owner.

Sir Clive’s book is a very readable account from his appointment to the top job in 1997, including a lesson in how not to do an induction, “Office? Secretary? What do you need a secretary for Clive? You’re a coach; your place is out on the pitch with players. He shares with us the highs and lows of the way to the winning of the Webb Ellis trophy, including falling at the final hurdle in several Grand Slam attempts and the disappointment at being beaten by South Africa (with drop goals) in the quarter final in Paris in 1999.

I think what makes Woodward different from a lot of other coaches in sport is his willingness to do whatever is necessary, however unorthodox, to improve the team’s performance. Never afraid to change the organisation of his ‘back-room’ staff or to bring in assistance from outside what would be considered the normal sporting establishment he gave his players every last piece of assistance in order for them to perform on the field.

Certainly England had underperformed at rugby for generations, they have the largest playing base of any country in the world several times greater than New Zealand and Australia (where Rugby Union is the third or fourth most popular sport behind Aussie Rules and Rugby League). England also had the financial clout to prepare teams, but the decision makers were amateur ‘the 57 old farts in blazers’ as Will Carling once famously said. Woodward wasn’t afraid to challenge this committee bound top echelon and ultimately it provided his undoing, realising that in order to take English Rugby forward needed more commitment from the RFU and constant improvement then when that was refused he was left with little choice but to walk away.

My copy of the book ends with him preparing to take the British Lions on tour to New Zealand, a tour that was disastrous both on and off the pitch; the Test matches were lost, the captain was injured in the opening minutes of the first test, several players returned home and missed large amounts of time because of injuries picked up on the trip. Many other players were either taken when clearly unfit or were selected because they had been part of a World Cup winning squad rather than a more recent Grand Slam winning one.

During ‘Winning’ Clive is clear to point out that it is important to take the long view and that it takes time to prepare, so perhaps he wasn’t the right man to lead a squad from four countries and to mould them in such a short space of time. Having been an insistent critic of Graham Henry who coached the previous Lions tour to Australia and narrowly lost the series, I am sure Sir Clive learned many lessons during his short trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud, not least of which is how hard the job is when you are THE man.

England have struggled since Sir Clive moved on, it seems perhaps that the one thing he didn’t do, in Covey terms, was to leave a legacy. Available from my Amazon store: here.

Seth Godin – Hungry

From Seth Godin’s blog, this says a lot about the times in which we live.


I had lunch (a big lunch) with a college student last week. An hour later, she got up and announced she was going to get a snack. Apparently, she was hungry. Read more.

No stereotypes here

Use the phrase “Essex girls” and you will frequently get a sniggering response, what a shame that we succumb to stereotypical images. All accountants are dull, all politicians are self serving, all inhabitants of xxxxxxx country have less than average intelligence.

Of course none of these statements are true and should you want to meet some females in Essex that blow the first mentioned myth out of the water go and visit the Advance Dental Clinic in Chelmsford.

I was lucky enough to spend a day with Andrew Moore and his team ylast week and found that the winners of the Best New Practice at the Private Practice Awards in 2004 are not the sort to rest on their laurels.

One of the great pleasures of my job is spending time with motivated an committed high performers like the gang at Advance, thanks for your company.

To see ourselves as others see us….

The report in The Times yesterday about NHS clawbacks has caused ripples in the media world wide. Read the original piece here.

One opinion here includes this lovely paragraph: This is how socialized medicine works. Bureaucrats determine what treatments are allowed and how much they will cost. There is no negotiation between doctor and patient about treatments. Is it any wonder that dentists are opting out of the National Health Service? Eventually, either there will be only a few dentists left in the system (the bad ones) or the system will collapse entirely.

Nick Daley’s case is featured here.

Meanwhile money is squandered in Cornwall (amongst other places).

PS Some feedback in a letter to The Times here.

Amazing Design

From the Cool Hunter

The Monday Morning Quote #16

“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Aristotle

The Weekend Read: 12 – Shackleton’s Way

A fantastic narrative of Shackleton’s Transantarctic expedition – with frequent references to the metaphor in business leadership and team development.

This is one of the best books on leadership I have read.

Available from my Amazon shop here.

Another Travelodge 2

This time at Stansted, Essex where I arrive at 10pm and sit in a corner of the bar writing my journal and people watching.

I realise that I am amongst several small groups of football supporters most of them are booked on an early flight to Hamburg with the intention of getting a train from there to Berlin where Germany are playing England the next evening. Two of the fans are Welsh and heading for Denmark.

I am not a great football fan, although soccer was the first sporting event I watched, taken by my maternal grandfather to watch Drumcondra at Tolka Park after Mass one Sunday when I was aged 8 or so. There followed several years of following Cardiff City at Ninian Park, I especially liked the games under lights and I have memories of the young John Toshack and the older John Charles playing for the Bluebirds. But it was rugby that drew me away and it’s no surprise when comparing City in the old second division with arguably the best club playing on the most famous ground in world rugby.

To return to the fans, and that’s what they were, genuine supporters of unfashionable clubs. One of the Welshmen had visited all 92 league club grounds but was having to revist some of the clubs that had moved to new stadia. These guys loved the game, not for them the prawn sandwiches at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge.

I found my 30 minutes or so of eavesdropping refreshing, and both teams won their games so the travellers will have returned happy.

Highs and Lows

The high – the first edition of my ezine was published today. It’s not a work of art but it’s a start; I don’t imagine there will be huge offers for my subscription base but that’s not why I write it. If you’re reading this please subscribe to the ezine list here.

The low – I find myself banned from Tony Gedge’s acolytes chat room, I have never been banned from anything before in my life. Presumably it has something to do with this blog entry. 

Hey ho, I’ll get over it. As Seth Godin wrote: If you are willing to satisfy people with good enough, you can make just about everybody happy. If you delight people and create change that lasts, you’re going to offend those that hate change in all its forms. Your choice.

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