Slade and his team ignore the embargo to produce City’s best display of the season.

CoymayBefore commenting on yesterday’s game, I cannot ignore the transfer embargo that was placed on the club on Friday by the authorities for what they saw as breaches of the Championship’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

The embargo scuppered the permanent move for Tony Watt which Russell Slade had said could be completed later in the day during Friday’s pre match press conference and the player, whose loan from Charlton was due to expire after yesterday’s game, was missing completely from the City squad as his club refused City’s request for a further loan.

I’m not going to go into any really detailed analysis of the rights and wrongs of the decision to impose the embargo (City claim to have done nothing wrong and that their “breach” of the regulations is down to a technical interpretation of the rules rather than any financial failings on their part) because I do not have the level of expertise to do that effectively, but I will offer some general observations/comments on it.

First, my understanding is that the decision arises from analysis of the clubs accounts for the financial year ending 31/5/15. Second, hopefully someone will correct me here if I’m wrong, but, basically, I see the FFP rules as being a measurement of a club’s wage bill against it’s turnover – wages should not be above a certain percentage of turnover.

This leads to a potentially serious problem for clubs relegated from the Premier League because wages paid in that league have to be reduced significantly in the Championship where, very generous parachute payments notwithstanding, turnover is bound to drop sharply due to the loss of the huge payments received by television companies.

This would explain why so much emphasis was placed on reducing the wage bill last season and, despite all of those newspaper claims from last year about £12 million having been shaved off it, the authorities have, seemingly, decided that this was not enough.

Yesterday's win is not going to have me saying I was wrong about him and all of the criticism outlined on here over recent months was not justified, but I couldn't help but admire the way he responded to the toughest week he's had as City manager by sending out a team that came up with the goods, while showing a commitment that suggested they were right behind their manager.*

Yesterday’s win is not going to have me saying I was wrong about him and all of the criticism outlined on here over recent months was not justified. However, I couldn’t help but admire the way Russell Slade responded to the toughest week he’s had as City boss by sending out a team that came up with the goods, while showing a commitment that suggested they were right behind their manager.*

To be honest, I was always dubious of any claim that could not be backed up by the club’s accounts and, as the ones for the period we’re talking about here have not been made available to the general public yet, I remain dubious.

Around February of last year our then new manager Russell Slade was being credited with having wiped that £12 million off the club’s wage bill. Maybe that was true, but had that wage bill really dropped to £18 million per annum from £30 million as was claimed, when the accounts for the period ending 31/5/14 had recorded the total wage bill for the club as being over £53 million?

My suspicion has been that the club have had to make contributions to teams buying or loaning some of the big wage earners who have left the club since we got relegated and so it’s never been as simple as just wiping their wage from our debit column the moment they left us – maybe the disagreement between City and the authorities about how the rules are interpreted stems from this?

So, despite their appointment of a manager well used to doing his job on a financial shoestring and the loaning out of established first team players for the closing weeks of last season for “business reasons”, the club have been deemed to have failed to have kept their finances in the order required.

Now, speaking as a non expert admittedly, I have to wonder about the signings we made in the summer of 2014 when the context of needing to reduce footballing expenses in relation to turnover is applied. It seems to me that we went from spending millions on two centrebacks to looking to sell anything that wasn’t nailed down in about a month.

Also, there’s the very curious case of the loan signing of Ravel Morrison to consider. From  memory, this deal was completed in the period between Ole leaving and Russell Slade arriving – Ole may have been the person who first mooted the idea of bringing the former Manchester United man in, but someone else at the club completed the deal after he left and I dread to think how much the non event which was Morrison’s Cardiff City career cost us.

Anyone who has read this blog over the past year or so will know that it doesn’t take much for me to start becoming critical of Russell Slade, but I cannot see how he can be held responsible for the imposition of the embargo. Yes, his signings have been uninspired and poor in the main, but the fees spent on them have been relatively low and I cannot imagine that any of them are on wages which have been on the same level as others still at the club – no, if blame is to be applied for the imposition of this embargo, it has to be applied elsewhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I thought it was something of a cheap shot from Chairman Mehmet Dalman to come out with his “jury still out” remarks about our manager in the hours after the embargo was announced.

Yes, I know I’m saying this against a background where supporters, including myself, have been lining up to take potshots at our manager, but that’s a fan’s prerogative and the same shouldn’t apply to the Chairman of the club. Mr Dalman can claim that he qualified what he said be adding that the jury was still out on all of us, but, surely, he would have been better off saying nothing. As it is, he came across as someone who was trying to pull our manager overboard, so he could clamber onto the lifeboat in his place.

Notwithstanding  that, both Chairman and manager have made cryptic remarks in the last twenty four hours which have left me scratching my head in puzzlement. Mr Dalman remarked that “whether we make the play offs or not was not to do with signing one or two players, we’ve got bigger issues than that.” in a radio interview and Russell Slade said  ”When you walk into this job you are always under pressure. I do think when a club gets in this situation, you have to look at the whole club not just what is going on on the pitch. It’s the whole club where there needs to be scrutiny.” in his post match interview yesterday – evidence of a Chairman and manager at odds with each other, or a sign of further problems to be revealed soon? I suppose all will become clearer eventually.

Just before leaving off field matters for today, I should just mention that former City player and joint caretaker manager Danny Gabbidon was talking about his second spell with the club on the television a few hours after the embargo was announced – this shows some of the things he had to say (the video makes for very interesting, funny and scary viewing!) and acts as a reminder as to the sort of background any Cardiff manager has to do his job under.

Anyway, let’s finally talk about yesterday’s very good 3-1 win at Wolves! Early last week I posted something on a City messageboard saying that while I could perhaps envisage us going to Hull and Wolves in our upcoming away games and getting draws in both of them through some grim and dogged defending, I was not optimistic about the outcomes and, anyway, given the growing gap between us and the last Play Off place, two points from these games were not good enough – we really needed to win at least one of them.

With something of a lynch mob mentality (which I’ll fully admit to playing a part in) growing against the team and, in particular, our manager even before the embargo announcement, expectation and faith in Cardiff City was probably as low as it has been in some time as we faced a Wolves team that had won it’s last four Championship matches and, let’s face it, with four defeats in our last five matches, much of that criticism was justified.

Besides Watt, City were without the presumably injured Aron Gunnarsson and so the assumption was that someone like Peter Whittingham or Kagisho Dikgacoi would come into central midfield, with Alex Revell or Federico Macheda partnering Joe Mason up front in the usual 4-4-2 team line up.

The announcement of the starting eleven about an hour before kick off brought the first hint that this was to be an afternoon which would not turn out as many City fans thought it would. Whittingham was in the midfield, but so also was Stuart O’Keefe and there was speculation that there would be a move away from our manager’s favourite formation to the 4-5-1 that had been advocated by many supporters (myself included) for virtually the whole of his time at the club.

I always think of Craig Noone as a typical winger - brilliant and mesmeric one day and completely frustrating the next. There's been too much of the latter and not enough of the former in the last two seasons, but yesterday showed why there would probably be Premier League interest in him if we decided to sell - here he celebrates a second goal that was slightly better than his magnificent first one.*

I always think of Craig Noone as a typical winger – brilliant and mesmeric one day and completely frustrating the next. There’s been too much of the latter and not enough of the former in the last two seasons, but yesterday showed why there would probably be Premier League interest in him if we decided to sell – here he celebrates a second goal that was slightly better than his magnificent first one.*

In the event, what we played was probably more of a 4-4-2 than a 4-5-1, but, with Anthony Pilkington given a central number ten type role behind Mason, there was at least a flexibility in the system that has been absent from so many of the teams Russell Slade has sent out.

Critics will say that Slade’s hand was forced by the absence of Watt, but I still found it heartening that our manager tried something different rather than just return to what seems to be his default setting of including a big man as one of his front pair.

Instead, we looked to score by using guile and craft rather than power and heading ability and with Mason running unselfishly, Craig Noone scoring two spectacular goals as well as providing an assist, Pilkington to the fore and Joe Ralls showing the sort of finishing ability which means that yesterday’s fine effort shouldn’t have been just his first goal of the campaign, it worked.

Again, I daresay the critics will be out claiming that yesterday was just one of those days when everything we hit from distance flew into the net, but, with O’Keefe also hitting the bar when the score was 0-0, City’s total goal attempts figure of seventeen, with seven of them on target, suggested a cutting edge of a type that, the win at bottom of the table Bolton apart, we’ve not seen in an away match for  months.

Now, with our manager often saying in recent weeks that we needed more pace in the squad, it may well be that we will not find the attacking personnel and formation used yesterday to be as productive every week. However, despite the embargo, something can still be done through the loan market to address this weakness. The “fine print” that comes with the embargo (no loan fees to be paid and any signing can only earn below a certain figure per annum) means that it won’t be easy, but there is provision for us still to bring another three players in if needed.

If the attacking side of the game went well for us, apart from David Marshall not dealing adequately enough with a shot that was awkward, but no more than that, in the build up to the host’s goal, the same could be said of our defending with Bruno Manga looking more like his old self after struggling somewhat since his return to the team.

As news of the embargo became available, optimistic City fans talked of the opportunity to build up the sort of everyone’s against us, siege mentality beloved of managers the world over. One game, no matter how impressively it was won, is not enough to justify any claim that we are seeing something like that at Cardiff yet though.

However, our team and manager did everything they could within the parameters of just that one match to send out a positive signal that the transfer embargo does not have to mean the end of our promotion hopes. They should all be applauded for that and if the next couple of games offer more evidence that they’re all pulling together for the cause, then they deserve to have the club’s supporters there doing their bit as well.

*pictures courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/

 

 

 

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16 Responses to Slade and his team ignore the embargo to produce City’s best display of the season.

  1. Barry cole says:

    Paul this opens up a good debate on the whys and wherefores of what is happening. It’s always been a roller coaster supporting the bluebirds and one thing that comes out is the lack of openness emulating from the club.
    Things are showing now as to why moves were done last season but to be honest we still have to look at what has happened on the pitch during the period.
    Personally I have always insisted we have the players to get into the top two in this league with perhaps one player needed in central midfield. Slade just hasn’t got the best out of those players in the near 18 months of his management. He has been totally out of his comfort zone when we have been leading games we should have won once changes were made by the opposition. His lop sided 4-4-2 is so archaic that he has little or no idea how to use the players to counteract the change.
    He just doesn’t have the charisma to get good players into Cardiff which with the embargo obviously helps him, but to be honest I just wonder how many players have turned us down because he is in place.
    I have no doubt that he has his hands tied behind his back but that’s his fault for taking the job on tans terms. He may have cut the wage bill but at what cost. The players brought in has been less than impressive and that includes the two fullbacks. The crowds have decreased to such an extend that unless he goes the likelihood of them returning is nil. The monetary loss here is not only affecting last year but is certain to reflect this year.
    The polls showing his popularity or in his case lack of tells it own story. The inconsistancy with a team of good players will never persuade fans back so there is only one outcome.
    The problem comes when he goes, tan and his board will have to release the team to the next manager and butt out. That manager must be a lot stronger than slade and most of all it has to be a good appointment to bring the fans back.
    Should we continue with this status quo and keep slade in a job for a few more games then we can say goodbye to the play offs.

  2. RUSSELL says:

    I would not be shocked to find Watts is on more than that .

    This now makes sense of the Slade appointment and his objectives.

    1. repair the damage done by OGS
    2. move out the over inflated wages
    3. get some workhorses in to keep us up or mid table
    4. take flax from fans who wont like this two year period.

    He is like an fashioned matron just doing the un – popular things,he will never be popular , his fashion sense lets him down ,he’s bald , he an ex PE teacher ,he’s not Pulis or a bully, is he tactically naive, probably at times , but so are a lot of big name managers at times EG, LVG ?.

    I would like a new fresh manager schooled in the modern coaching way ,bringing on young talent ,I would go for Bellamy with DOF

  3. Paul.
    I think your explanation of much relating to the embargo is absolutely outstanding and, to my naïve mind, an eye-opener. Thank you.
    Barry’s comments are also highly intelligent and show that we should not get carried away by the fact of an unexpected win yesterday. He is totally correct to highlight the continuing managerial issues still unsolved, and the suggestion that players have not joined us because of Mr Slade’s lack of charisma is an interesting point. It could also be, as Barry says, the manager’s current reputation as failing to get the best out of players, although I would add that others at the club should also be tarred with the same brush.

    Russell is equally astute in his assessments, and is actually making a similar point to Barry’s in his description of the fashion sense of the bald, ex-P.E. teacher. I remember a debate some time ago whether a fat, bald man could ever get to the top of the greasy pole of politics, either here or in USA, and the consensus was “No”. Image is everything these days, in football as in so much else. and from a sartorial and physical viewpoint, Mr Slade is somewhat lacking. This doesn’t make him a poor manager, of course, but it certainly (and unfortunately) influences people’s perception of the man.
    Finally, the big difference for me in yesterday’s game, as heard on the wireless and without seeing any recordings, was that (1) Cardiff players were willing to shoot from distance; (2) the shots were more accurate than they normally are.
    As a P.S. – why didn’t Cardiff buy Tony Watt before the end of his loan spell? Did the rules prevent them from so doing? Did the powers-that-be know the transfer embargo was likely, and if so, why didn’t they produce a contingency plan? If they didn’t know, why not? Please note: these comments do not relate to the manager!
    And to end, what news on Idriss Saadi on whom our hopes may well have to depend?

  4. Colin Phillips says:

    As I couldn’t make the Reading game I’m afraid I believe Saadi is a mirage.

    If he did change from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1/4-4-1-1 then I think he should take some credit.

    A totally unexpected three goals and three points for me, let’s hope the improvement can be maintained.

    Know nothing about the rules of FFP so I haven’t a clue whether we have worthwhile grounds for appealing.

    ‘Tis a shame weren’t able to hold on to Tony Watt he might have been the ideal front-man in a 4-5-1.

    Col

  5. Mike Eckley says:

    Gunnarrson injured? Maybe he was absent on international duty with Iceland in the UAE?

  6. russell says:

    My understanding Gunnerson drove up to the game with the intention to play,perhaps he missed the meet up and coach ,therefore rightly dropped.

  7. Andyguy says:

    Love this page o much on a Sunday,especially more when i am abroad.

    Re your remarks about the chaimans kinda snide comments after the embargo was imposed.
    It seems like slade never expected those remarks, and showed in his after match comments when he said other in this club need to be scrutinized. I would read that as i did all your cost cutting n pruning, You promised me and the fans financial backing in January. And you have handcuffed me further… Virtually saying its not just the manager not doing his job…..would be my interpretation of his comment.

  8. Richard Holt says:

    I know in the past Paul, we’ve discussed how relatively unusual it is for City to have a season ‘marooned’ in the anonymity of mid-tablehood. This is my 57th season as a City supporter and last season was only the 11th which I think could be described in those terms and most of those were pre-2000. Since then, only in 03/04 and 07/08 (when we had a Cup Final anyway) could we claim to have entered the final weeks of a season not still holding hopes of play off / promotion spot or fearing for our survival in a division. Of course, mid-tablehood isn’t necessarily a world of solid performances – always being too good for the strugglers but failing against the top teams. It tends to be a world of topsy turvey results, unexpected wins, surprise defeats, leads thrown away and occasional late reprieves, good little runs that quickly peter out and bad spells of similar longevity which are arrested before the team are in serious trouble. Yesterday’s result (though pleasing obviously) seemed to me to be absolutely typical of a team heading for mid-table obscurity or maybe comfort is a better word (a home defeat to Rotherham next week would also fit perfectly into this model by the way).
    I suppose the real question is ‘mid-table’ a measure of the true capability of this current squad/ team / club. In terms of the players we have I tend to think that it represents an under-achievement although I think it would fall short of a top two team whoever our manager happened to be. For Russell Slade, mid-table is probably where he’s at for many of the reasons we’ve all chewed over often enough. As for the club as a whole – or at least those who have ultimate responsibility for the running of it (I nearly typed ‘ruining’ by mistake) a mid-table finish is well in excess of what they deserve and unfortunately for us fans I fear that if the same regime is in charge this time next season we could by that time be considering mid-table as a wildly optimistic hope.
    Incidentally, I think Anthony is probably right about Slade being a bit of a deterrent in terms of player recruitment (even if we were allowed to). I reckon however that joining a club owned by Vincent Tan would cause even more players to think twice.

  9. Mike Eckley says:

    ok thanks Russell, that would explain things

  10. MIKE HOPE says:

    Paul,as you have invited a correction, I believe that the wage/turnover ratio applies to Leagues 1 and 2 but not to the Championship.Understanding the rules is complicated by the facts that they can vary from year to year and that there are separate rules for clubs qualifying for Europe.
    We are alleged to have breached the FFP rules for season 2014/15 because we made an excessive trading loss in that period.
    Of course all the matters you mention could be open to different interpretations as to their relevance to that year’s trading.The compensation paid, or still to be paid, to OGS could also be a bone of contention.
    My understanding[ admittedly from the internet info ] is that to comply with FFP rules the trading loss for season 2014/15 should not exceed £3M but it could be as much as £8M, if the ownership, in effect, absorbs £5M of the loss. This absorption is described as injecting equity.
    We have heard much about Mr. Tan’s plans to turn his debt into equity and I have read reports that he has waived his right to some of the interest on the debt.This could be done by converting the interest into equity i.e injecting equity.
    This is pure speculation on my part but it sounds like a fertile area for lawyers to have an argument!
    I agree that comments made in the last couple of days show that all is not sweetness and light between Mehmet and Russell!
    I did not see Saturday’s game [like most if not all of us on here] but it sounds very encouraging.Has Mr. Slade, through a combination of fortuitous events, hit upon a plan B which having already baffled Kenny Jackett, will be unleashed on our next opponents with similar results?

  11. The other Bob Wilson says:

    First thing to do is apologise for getting this reason for the embargo wrong. Mike is correct and, if you’ve not read it already, this article
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/cardiff-city-transfer-embargo-everything-10741737
    is quite helpful in explaining the situation – that said, a City supporting accountant who uses a City messageboard the reason given for the imposition of the embargo may not be quite right.
    I’ve also wondered if Russell Slade may be more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to getting good players to come here, but my suspicion (not backed up by any “in the know” info mind) is that he plays less of a part in “selling” the club to prospective new signings and their agents.
    If Russell is right about the reasons why our manager was brought in and that story is correct about the embargo, hopefully, being lifted then I believe we are likely to have a new boss for 16/17. Like Russell, the idea of Craig Bellamy getting the job appeals to me, but more important for me is that, whatever his job title is, we bring in someone who knows football (both the game itself and the financial/administrative side of it) to report to liaise with owner, Board and manager because everything you learn about the off field decision makes at the club tells you that they are not sufficiently qualified in these fields.
    Andy may be right about the relationship between Chairman and manager. The original story about Russell Slade being on the brink of losing his job offered the clue about there being tensions at the top within the club and what Messrs Dalman and Slade have had to say in recent days hardly makes it sound like it’s gone away – although a critic of his, I’m on the manager’s side here because it’s hard to see how he can be held responsible for the decision which brought about the embargo.
    Russell also seems to have cleared up the reason for Aron Gunnarsson’s absence against Wolves – I think he’s been playing a lot better than last season lately, but I’ll be surprised if he comes back into the team on Saturday.
    Richard, I came to much the same conclusion about our manager in my piece for the Shrewsbury game – here’s his record as a manager
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Slade
    and, when you consider that those figures are not “distorted” by a promotion season or many relegation campaigns, he comes across as the epitome of a mid table manager – can’t help thinking that you might well be right about what will happen on Saturday as well!
    Mind you, I’ve now watched the whole of the Wolves game on the club website and we did play very well. It was great to see us playing with cleverness and no little skill in attack, while we were largely in charge at the back as well. As AMO says, we looked much more willing to get our shots away than normal and, while I alluded to it maybe being one of those days when everything we hit flew in, there was more than enough other good things going to confirm that this was a very impressive display.
    I’m sure Wolves were caught on the hop by the way we played and the way we approached the game because it was a most un Russell Slade’s Cardifflike display – now though, sides will know that we are capable of more than they might have thought we were, so we might not see Noone and Ralls firing them in from all angles on Saturday!

  12. Dai Woosnam says:

    Paul,
    Here I am in Malta fighting ill-health, but fortunately in a country where judging by much of what I see about me, the beauty of a person’s SOUL is more important than that of their physical body.
    And so, on behalf of fat bald men everywhere, let me reject the attack from the pen of the relatively slim and very hirsute AMO.
    HA !!
    Seriously though, baldness did not stop Jim Smith attracting all manner of footballing talent to QPR.
    Nor John Profumo, from attracting Miss Christine Keeler.
    DW.
    P.S. The thing about Mr Slade’s baldness is it is clearly of the Matt Lucas/Duncan Goodhew variety. And that unfortunately brings with it a suspicion that we have been invaded by aliens.
    P.P.S. I am far more concerned about his sartorial sense and his clear desire to dress identically to Tony Pulis. Both are in the running for the “dustman of the year” award.

  13. Dai,
    You forget, in the luxury of Maltese sunshine that the success of John Profumo was almost certainly the size of his —wallet. Jim Smith is possibly the exception that proves the rule. And I was in no way casting aspersions of your good-looking self and our Meisterblogger, both “guapos” as I recently told.you. It’s only if you want to become Prime Minister that image is all-important. On second thoughts, I think that would be a perfect career for you to take up, once you’ve learned to avoid saying what you mean without pulling punches. Oh, sorry, I know you won’t! Just get well soon, instead.

  14. Dai Woosnam says:

    Dear AMO…
    Yes, there is Maltese sun alright. But freezing cold wind as well.
    Makes me long for the warm micro climate of North East Lincolnshire.
    When I wrote that joke about Profumo, I thought ….shall I do my usual, and write a faux self-deprecating “weak joke” in parentheses?
    No, I thought. They will all “get it”…especially AMO.
    You – with your sublime intelligence – would have been the LAST of our gang that I reckoned would have taken me seriously on that half-decent one liner of mine.
    Go say a hundred times “Dwight D Eisenhower, Willy Brandt, Mikhael Gorbachev, LBJ, Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, etc. , etc, were all Prime Ministers/Presidents who at varying times of their careers at the top of the greasy pole were loved by their populace”.
    And add Pierre Trudeau’s name to that. And he was sexy with it…well Margaret Trudeau once reckoned so anyway…and she knew about attractive men…seeing as she bedded half of The Rolling Stones.
    So let this be a cri de coeur on behalf of the bald.
    Thanks for your good wishes though AMO…and I need them, as I am in considerable pain right now.
    I am making an appointment to see a GP here to get a prescription-only drug…as my current handful of pills daily cannot cope.
    My hospital-consultant wife Larissa has just cheered me immensely by telling me in an email that in rare cases, pains resulting from shingles can last a lifetime.
    Anyway, enough of my problems. So let’s get back to Russell Slade’s problems.
    And meanwhile dear AMO, stand in the corner, face the wall, and also say a hundred times “Pierre Trudeau got the women swooning”.
    That would be suitable penance for the sin of missing my joke.
    Not that it was THAT good a joke, I will admit.
    Kindest,
    Dai.

  15. My joke was about the size of Profumo’s ——– wallet. There has to be a pause before the final word to encourage a “phallic” thought which, in my simple way might amount to a joke. So, once again it all falls flat. Which reminds me of the old joke : a man goes to the barber and asks for “a Tony Curtis haircut”. The barber shaves his head, and the man says “That’s nothing like a Tony Curtis haircut.” “It is”, says the barber, “I’ve seen him a dozen times in ‘The King and I’.”

  16. Dai Woosnam says:

    Very good, AMO. The “pause” bit I mean.
    I am not too old to learn new tricks.
    In truth I screwed my joke up by (a) using the word “ha” just three lines previously so I could not easily use it so soon after, and (b) sabotaging my own joke just two lines before with my “seriously though”…when I clearly had no intention of being so, since I was intent on swelling the inside of my cheek.
    I might have used some exclamation marks to signify “JOKE”, but my writing style – such as it is – means that I have already used up all the otiose exclamation marks in Western Europe.
    So I will take your advice AMO and rely on a pause.
    And meanwhile, AMO, you please do my penance for [pause here Dai boyo...] for insulting the tiny bit of intelligence I have left.
    Liked your “once again it all falls flat” joke…and detected it as such, despite there being no pause before it!!
    Will sign off now. Only awake because the pain won’t let me sleep.
    I shall dream of the 21 year old Christine Keeler who I reckoned back then was the most attractive woman I ever saw. (Well, in my defence, I was just 16 at the time when she and the late Mandy Rice-Davies filled the pages of British newspapers!)
    Pity she has not worn well down the years. (But then I have worn even worse…and I was never broken on the wheel of the British establishment.). Mandy Rice-Davies by contrast kept her looks till the end.
    But she was not sewing mailbags and scrubbing floors in Holloway.
    Will sign off now.
    Next time I visit you at your house in Pontypridd AMO, I will bring a picture of me at Cliveden. Behind me, you will see that very swimming pool.
    The pool where a bald cabinet minister saw a naked 21 year old girl climb the steps up out of the pool, and coyly look in his direction as he sat at a table under a poolside parasol.
    And in the best tradition of Leslie Phillips, he uttered an involuntary…
    …”I …SAY !!!”
    DW

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