It was a balmy spring day when I turned up at Luxborough Lanes in Essex, with a 10 am appointment to talk to Harry Redknapp about the shock news that the ghost of legendary footballer George Best had started to train with the mighty Spuds. With a possible loan deal in the offing, this was going to be the football coup of the century.
The training pitch was resplendent in the morning sunshine, but sadly there were very few players about, except Aaron Lennon sprinting up and down the touchline and Roman Pav on his knees banging his head continuously against the goalposts and letting out an occasional moan. To my right I could see goal maestro Peter Crouch, jogging on the spot in front of Kevin Bond, who was shouting at him vigorously and occasionally slapping him in the face.
I met up with Harry at the edge of the pitch and shook hands, here is the exact transcript of the subsequent interview taken directly from my tape.
Harry Redknapp - You've got some neck turning up here in that shirt!
ClockEnd5 - So Harry, George Best's ghost, first day of training, how did it go?
HR - Tremendous, such a professional, even his warm up my lads were in awe. I mean, he's one of the greatest, just having him about the place gives everybody a gee up.
CE5 - How do you respond to people saying it's just a publicity stunt, a cynical marketing ploy to sell more shirts?
HR - Well John, you're always going to have some skeptics out there in the media, but we honestly feel he has a lot to offer our club. He's done it all, played at the highest level, he's done it all hasn't he? Brilliant footballer, brilliant man.
CE5 - Even though he's dead!
HR - Yes even though he's dead, and obviously not match fit, he can still show my lads a thing or two about keeping possession and running with the ball, the mans vision is unbelievable.
CE5 - His ball control was legendary, have your players seen that today?
HR - Yeah! Fantastic, well no, as you well know John he cant actually interact with the ball, Ghost Physics! and all that , the ball passes completely through his body.
CE5 - That is a problem.
HR - Yeah, what we need is the ghost of a ball.
CE5 - What?
HR - Yeah preferably one of those 70's balls you know with the laces and all, that's what he's used to.
CE5 - OK so you need the ghost of a 1970's football?
HR - Thats it. If any of your readers could help it would be appreciated.
CE5 - Could I possibly have a word with the great man himself?
HR - Certainly, have you brought a medium?
CE5 - Erm no!
HR - Can't help you then I'm afraid, he can only communicate through a medium.
CE5 - Damn! Well can I talk to Gareth Bale perhaps?
HR - 'fraid not. He's in Physio having he's back shaved.
CE5 - Ha ha Is he the most hirsute player at the club?
HR - Well he's the bloody quickest I've ever seen..
CE5 - No I meant.... never-mind...
So there you have it folks, I'm never going back there again ....ever!!!