You could not see why he needed to make a decision to go to the country and with that risk losing what he had only just acquired. My naïve questions about why a dour, cautious Scot, who had waited a decade to get the one job at which he had aimed his entire career, would now jeopardize the whole thing within weeks of taking it on were brushed aside.


But Brown had no need to go for maybe three years. I advised anyone likely to listen to me to bet against it happening. Then, again just before the end of the year, unbeaten popular boxer Ricky Hatton went to Las Vegas to take on Floyd Mayweather – universally regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, even by those who did not like his lifestyle or attitude.


By fight time, with patriotic fervor, media hype and pure optimism kicking in, Hatton’s odds had shrunk – 11 – and Mayweather was available at odds as long as 8/13. And then along came the sacking of Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce. Up went the list of odds about who would succeed him. Harry Redknapp was not even included in most lists or, if he was, he was out with the washing at 25/1. Yet within hours he was odds-on favorite.