Express & Star

Sports writer Gary Newbon cracks up at book launch – all thanks to Jasper Carrott

Brummie comedian Jasper Carrott brought the house down at the launch of TV football presenter Gary Newbon's new book about his long life in sports journalism.

Gary Newbon at his book launch

Gary has enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years with ATV, Central, ITV and Sky. He has interviewed everyone from Pele to Billie Jean King and Sebastian Coe, and even once earned a kiss on the cheek from Nottingham Forest boss Brian Clough.

Throw in other stars like Muhammad Ali and F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell, plus being in Munich during the 1972 Olympics terror attack on Israeli athletes, and you might think that nothing could faze father-of-three Newbon.

Rom Ross, Ron Atkinson and Jasper Carrott at the launch

But standing in front of an audience while comedian Jasper told a few anecdotes, there was a delicious sense of self-confessed big-head Gary turning into putty in a window fitters’ hands.

The book’s unusual title of 'Newbon, Bloody Hell' is based on the quote of a lifetime the sports presenter got from former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson. Fergie quipped: “Football, bloody hell” in the tunnel after two last-minute goals sealed United’s Champions League trophy and treble in 1999.

The celebrity-filled bash at the Hotel du Vin in Birmingham included guests like the original Black Sabbath manager Jim Simpson, former Manchester United, Villa, Baggies and Coventry boss Ron Atkinson, recently sacked Blues’ boss John Eustace, and sports presenter Tom Ross.

Both Gary and Jasper are bonded by the fact they each have a star on Westside BID's Walk of Stars.

After Newbon had welcomed guests, it was Blues’ fan Jasper who held everyone’s attention, and time and again he had everyone close to tears with laughter.

He said the Hotel du Vin (‘hotel of wine’) was an entirely appropriate venue for wine-loving author Newbon’s book launch, as he was well qualified “to represent Great Britain in the ten thousand litres”.

Talking about his beloved Blues, Jasper said: “Wayne Rooney sends his apologies. He was due to be here but he’s in the Queen Elizabeth [hospital] with a very bad side.”

Turning to Newbon, Jasper said his friend’s surname was pronounced “New… bon. Bon! It’s a Celtic name from way up north. New-bon means ‘handsome, witty, virile, sexy’… and Gary means ‘Not very’.”

He added: “The first time I met Gary at Wolverhampton he came up and introduced himself to me. For three hours!”

Newbon, Bloody Hell is published by Biteback Publishing and retails at £20.

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