Not Even Nearly Famous

by Bob “the Cat” Bevan MBE
after dinner speaker

It was Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week 2008 and Somerset were playing Kent. Andy Caddick was not fit but had come along for the ride.

We go back plenty of years from the days when he played for England. I would come across him on many tours and did a turn or two for him during his last benefit.

So on the lunchtime of the first day I was standing outside the pavilion chatting to him and, unbeknown to me the, local newspaper photographer had taken our picture.

On the Friday the picture came out with the caption “Andy Caddick talks to fans”.

Now I know my book is called “Nearly Famous” but you would have thought the local sports editor might have recognised me. Not least because only a few weeks earlier I had presented their Sports Awards! I had 14 pictures in that edition alone!

I knew this would be a nightmare for the rest of the summer with the stick I would get from my team-mates in the local village side, as would be proved right.

Nor would the Kent players allow me to forget it. The next time I saw them they called out “Cat. Can we join?” “Join what?” “The Andy Caddick Fan Club.”

That Friday I was quite pleased that I couldn’t go to the ground as I was speaking at a lunch in London at the Butchers Hall.

As my train arrived early I slipped into Starbucks for a coffee. A guy came and sat in the armchair opposite. I suddenly realised it was Alastair Campbell – spin doctor of “dodgy dossier” fame.

We looked at each other until one of us had to speak.

“Sorry,” I said “but I do recognise you.”

He responded, not unkindly, with “I’m sorry but I don’t recognise you.”

I told him my name and mentioned that I had written material for William Hague among others and he then said that he had heard the name.

For the next half hour, politics aside, we got on famously, talking about our writing careers and love of football.

Before we parted I told him about the embarrassment of today’s local paper picture with Andy.

He then told me of a time when his former boss, Prime Minister Tony Blair, was visiting the Kuwait Royal Family.

“At the end of the meeting Tony was asked if he would appear in a picture for the local press and he of course agreed. He duly lined up in the middle of four Royal Family members, all wearing full Arab dress with Tony looking rather conspicuous in his suit.

The next morning it appeared in the Kuwait daily papers with the following caption:

“The Kuwait Royal Family were pleased to receive the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr Tony Blair (centre).”

You see,” said Alastair, “none of us are  as famous as we like to think.”


Grumpy old goalies


Bob 'The Cat' Bevan