Legendary foot-in-the-door football interviewer Gary Newbon has written a book that spills the beans about his long life in sports journalism.
Newbon, who has his own Star on Westside, has enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years with ATV, Central, ITV and Sky. He has interviewed sporting legends from Pele to Billie Jean King and Sebastian Coe, and even once earned a kiss on the cheek from 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.
But standing in front of an audience while Westside BID’s Walk of Stars’ chairman Jasper Carrott told a few anecdotes, there was a delicious sense of Newbon turning into putty in a window fitters’ hands – as you can see in our video here.
The book’s unsual title of Newbon, Bloody Hell is based on the quote of a lifetime that Newbon got from former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson. Fergy 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 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.
After Newbon had welcomed guests, it was Blues’ fan Jasper Carrott who held everyone’s attention, and time and again he had everyone close to tears with laughter.
Jasper 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’.”
Jasper added: “The first time I met Gary at Wolverhampton he came up and introduced himself to me. For three hours!”
And: “Gary is an aficionado of Shakespeare to the point that he was going to call his book Much Ado About Nothing. He gave me his new book yesterday and the b****** signed it. Let’s be honest, the unsigned ones are going to be a lot rarer.”
Other guests included several of Newbon’s former colleagues at ITV Central on Gas Street like Bob Warman, and Llewela Bailey.
Newbon, Bloody Hell – Biteback Publishing, £20 (ISBN 978-1-785-90816-3).
Pictures and video all by Graham Young