Ray King: A crossroads in my life
Another New Year is almost upon us as the roundabout continues and my long and eventful journey toward the end of the winding road looms ominously closer.
As I wrote in my last column life has its own way of balancing things out. When every thing surrounding you appears to be dark and gloomy the sun will suddenly break through and the world once again becomes a much happier place to live.
When I was at my lowest ebb, being invited by my old club Port Vale to be afforded a wonderful personal tribute for the service I had contributed during my 8 years with the club – plus the numerous messages from people who never even saw me play has been very heart warming.
Apart from my writing which helps to keep my mind and memory in good working order I have also joined in to express my opinion on various issues being discussed on BBC Radio Newcastle. The Alfie & Charlie early morning programme is my particular favourite and from time to time I join in with Sue Sweeney who has requested my forthcoming book “To The End Of The Road”.
I had hoped the book would be out by now but the publishers are waiting for permission to include some photographs which have appeared in various magazines – they don’t want to be sued!
Recent events in the sporting world highlighted in the press on revelations that Pakistan cricketers have taken bribes to lose matches, but this type of scurrilous behaviour has been around forever.
Goalkeepers are of course an easy target and I was offered a large bribe in 1956 to throw a match. Had I done so I could never have lived with myself but I’m afraid there are people who will go to any length to make money and risk the consequences.
Way back in 1981 the test match between England and Australia played at Headingley (Leeds) was tainted because of allegations of bribery by some Australian players.
They bet 500-1 that England would win the test which of course England did and all credit was given to Ian Botham who scored a century and became a national hero!
Talking to Ian Wooldridge, the Daily Mails brilliant sports writer, years later I happened to mention this particular game and said I’d have loved to bat against the Aussies that day because of the frequent ‘long hops’ they bowled at Botham. Ian agreed and said he himself would have enjoyed batting against such rubbish bowling. He had no doubts at all the match was ‘fixed’ but remarkably it was all hushed up! I rest my case.
Having now reached the cross roads of my life I have a momentous decision to make – Do I spend the rest of my life in Amble where I’ve no family other than myself or leave and stay with my son Gary in Thailand?
When you read these notes I will then have made my decision.
My best wishes to you all.