Saturday, 17 December 2011

Downtown profile

These muppets at Downtown Manchester made me businessman of the year and asked me to do a profile. Here it is. 

Name: Roger Cashman                    

Company: RC Solutions

Position: Main man

Company Website Address: RC SOLUTIONS

Red Or Blue: Both, I love soccer ball, me. And Sale Sharks.

An Elected Mayor For Manchester: Isn’t that what Sir Howie Blingstein does?

Favourite Bar/Restaurant: The Stag in Great Warford, or The Mere

What's Your Tipple: Champagne, proper good gear and all

Which Business Person Do You Most Admire: Best dead one: The late Mark Langford (RIP). Best living: Lawrence Jones.

Favourite Band: The elastic one round my wad

Top Tune: Simply the Best

Favourite Book: My chapter in Tickover or Takeoff by Caroline Hampson

Favourite Movie: Goodfellas

Who Would Play You In A Film: Daniel Craig, obviously (his Dad is a good pal of mine)

Favourite TV Programme: Secret Millionaire, when I was on it 

Most Visited Website: Cheshire Companions

Facebook Or Twitter: Both a total waste of time @rogercashman

Snog, Marry, Avoid!: Tara Reid, Susanna Reid, Peter Reid

Interesting Fact About You: I have fought off more industrial tribunals and county court judgements than anyone in Alderley Edge

Why Downtown: Watch out for Downtown Alderley in 2012

Friday, 2 December 2011

Wake up to Money - wake up to Roger

As you know I’ve long been a massive supporter of the BBC and the move to Salford Quays. I don’t hold with this view that they can’t get guests on the radio programmes because all the important people are in London. That’s rubbish. Politicians might be based in the big smoke, but no-one wants to listen to them.

I actually told the top man at the BBC that it’s time to have more northern voices on the wireless. Especially northern BUSINESS voices. Why is it that self-made businessmen on TV are always cockneys – Sugar, Theo? Even Mike Baldwin was one. When I went on Secret Millionaire, all the other lads in the series were soft southerners. The reason my Burnley adventure came across so badly was because TV types are all art school ponces who didn’t get my wicked northern sense of humour. As if it was a serious suggestion to set up a whites-only taxi business called Union Jack Cabs! Joke, right! As I was texting my good pal Jezza Clarkson last night, that's the problem with this country, no sense of humour.

That’s all going to change when I start my new slot on the radio. I'm going to be taking over from that Mickey Clarke geezer on Wake Up To Money on the BBC Radio Five Live. And believe you me, we won’t be wasting time warbling on about gilts, bonds and pork bellies. Oh no. The Cashman view of life will be REAL BUSINESS. You know, the true entrepreneurial beating heart of the British economy – accident claims brokers, property development, call centres, IT assurance and coupons.

 So, next time you go to Salford Quays you can see a massive picture of me next to Gary Lineker and that fit one off the BBC News (Susanna Reid, she’s called, and yes, you would).

 As you know, I’m no stranger to a media profile – people are forever coming up to me in San Carlo and saying “are you THE Roger Cashman? We thought you were a spoof.” Well, pal, I say, clearly I'm not and the joke’s on you now. But, to be fair, I’m getting used to it. The trouble is, some of my so-called celeb pals are getting hacked off with my superstar A list status. I was out with my good mate Austin Healey the other week – we’ve got some investments together in China – and even though he’s been on the telly doing that dancing and he’s played a bit of rugby in his day, I swear more people were stopping to talk to me. These are the circles I move in nowadays. A star can only rise once, then it fades, Austin. And this is my time.

 It all takes me back to the day I’d been out with Freddie Flintoff, Michael “Vorni” Vaughan and my great mate Paul “Becky” Beck. We took one of Becky’s choppers down to these celeb awards in London. All the paparazzi were there, camped outside clicking like mad. Next day, we were all over the papers. I’ve still got the cutting from one of them. The caption read: “pictured left to right, cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan with Peter Jones from The Apprentice.”

In your dreams Jonesy, in your dreams.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Simmo – the JR Ewing of the North West

You’ll never guess who popped onto my BlackBerry the other day – Andrew “Simmo” Simpson. Talk about a blast from the past. He’s a proper good lad, who is always welcome on any night out with me and my merry band.

He’s always guaranteed to liven up a ski trip or a quiet night in the Metropolitan.

And now? Well, strap yourselves in, for he’s offering us a stake in opening up oil wells – it’s got to be a winner. For those of you who don’t know him, Simmo was running Rothschilds in Manchester for a bit. Then he got headhunted to go and flog a few Portakabins and cement mixers for John Brown over at Speedy Hire.

He did such a boss job doing that before you could say Everything Must Go, he was put in charge of the Trafford Centre and a few of Johnny boy Whittaker’s odds and ends. I don’t know if it was Simmo’s idea, but I like that big chandelier they have over the food area – it looks brilliant. You can’t underdo bling in a shopping centre.

As well as being a business guru, he’s also a political masterplanner. Simmo single handedly fought the No campaign against banning cars from Manchester back in 2008. To be fair, there was no chance it was ever going to win a vote of the general public, but Simmo’s debating skills properly rattled the socialists at the council.

I heard he then got tapped up by the Tories to be one of David Cameron’s blue-eyed boys at the last election.

As well as getting Tory tottie like Susie Williams, Esther McVey and Louise Bagshawe (she writes smutty books that Dorises like), “Dave” also wanted strapping lads like the one who thinks he’s Laurence of Arabia, Rory Stewart, now the laird of Penrith. Wisely, in my view, Simmo gave that a swerve.

He flogged Liverpool airport for JW, then like that, whoof, he was gone.

We all thought he’d joined MI5, or something.

Then, out of the blue, a few of the lads, me included, started getting emails. He’s got this nailed on investment opportunity that is pure genius. He’s opened up all these oil wells in Texas that Digger Barnes, JR Ewing and Red Adair gave up on when life was easier. Now that oil is soaring in price, Simmo has been drilling for dear life and wants us to pile in with him.

Have a look for yourselves here at the website. The Falcon has well and truly landed.

Unbelievably, some of the lads are saying they think it’s a bit racy. I’ve even heard the tired old excuse of the wimpy investor – sounds good, but it’s not really for me. Come on, grow a backbone!

It’s one of those deals that just gets my pulse racing. It’s risky, edgy, and it’s in oil and gas. I will be writing a cheque for a cheeky half mill. We simply cannot fail with good old-fashioned non-renewable energy.

Monday, 10 October 2011

MY MATE GARRY COOK: A MAN OF VISION

Once again, the knives have been out and once again the right-on, politically correct bleeding heart liberal do-gooder brigade have brought about the downfall of a good man. A man of vision.

I have to say that over the years he was at Manchester City I got to know Garry Cook pretty well. He was a man I not only grew to admire, but also to like, and I don’t say that about many people. I’ve been on my fair share of Man U corporate away trips over the years and am now looking forward to going on a few City trips now that success has come to our other local soccer club, Manc City, as they call them. That he should be booted out because a bit of banter was taken in the wrong way is a crying shame.

It’s the hypocrisy I can’t stand – who among us can honestly sit there with a straight face and say they’ve never mistakenly sent a private email to the wrong punter? People should take it in good faith – you weren’t meant to see it, so just forget about it. Admittedly, the courts see it differently sometimes – I’m still paying off at least three ex-RC Solutions “people” after tribunals returned verdicts against yours truly – but as a business owner, it was never going to cost me my job, it just upped the premiums on the insurance.

Frankly, I bought into Garry’s vision for the Blue Mancs Soccer Army (as they are known on the streets), or The Project as “Cookie” called it. We were in line to do a load of the solutions stuff – he was big into using local companies and all that.

I remember once “GC” and me were having a round of golf with Dr Thaksin, the old City owner and another great guy – and I had this idea. “Why don’t you build a zone around the stadium for the fans? Call it a fanzone,” I said.

“I like it,” said “Gazza”. The rest, as they say, is now the stuff of legends. Another night, me and the lads were in Rosso and I got talking to this young Arab lad. He wanted to know what we thought of City, and “GarCo” and all the rest of it. It turned out this lad was the Great Sheikh himself, he tipped me the wink on all kinds of plans they’ve got for Manchester. Out of respect I can’t mention it, though to be fair, I got that bladdered I can only remember about half anyway. All I know is it’s a crime “The Cookmeister” won’t be there to see his vision through.

I’m not blaming the lass who got the email. It’s the press, once again, that made a mountain out of a molehill and caused all this. After the MP expenses non-story and the Murdoch tosh, I’m tiring of it. If Thaksin ever gets back in control of Thailand, consider me gone.

Reading the riot act

So there I was, tucked in nicely at the bar in a discreet gentleman’s club – I’m not telling you where if you’re not ITK – watching the footage of the riots taking place in Manchester and some place called Salford when the old light bulb went off – not the red one in the window, either.
In case you don’t know, the BBC is moving shedloads of their muppets up to Salford Quays next year, after Johnny Whittaker (great lad, by the way) pulled off the deal of a lifetime and royally narked off Sir Howie Bernstein in the process. All good fun. Being a Murdoch loyalist, I don’t hold much truck with the BBC myself – it’s full of Communists, puddle jumpers and, worst of all, liberals – but there’s an opportunity here for a connected mover and shaker like myself.

It strikes me that the skinny latte-drinking BBC types would have been watching the footage of little kids robbing plasma tellies and trainers bold as brass and, frankly, started to rust their armour about exactly what they’ve signed up for here.

But they can’t all back out and find a job elsewhere, the pensions are too cushy for one thing. What they need is reassurance of safety; that they can get from work to home without being knifed by some little ninja. And I can help.

Here’s the plan: an underground shuttle from the heart of MediaCity (I’ve been checking up on this, that’s ACTUALLY what it’s called) right into the heart of Hale, possibly with a stop in Chorlton, as there are bound to be some hippies along with the overstuffed management class. Absolute winner.

Yes it’s true, RC Resi Devs plc has never before attempted an “infrastructure project” but how hard can it be, really? We’d never done a golf course until we got chatting to the oil boys from Kazakhstan at MIPIM one year, and that went like a dream.

I know that Metrolink’s taking years to build but to me that’s just typical public sector fannying about. I plan to take my inspiration from the Burma railroad, built in no time at all by virtue of good honest toil and firm but fair management.

That’s it folks, it’s time to bring back the chain gangs. We could even get them orange jumpsuits and those suits with the arrows on so everyone can see that we’ve given them jobs. No hoods either, kids. Best of all, I’ll be putting out a few feelers as to what kind of grants are available to hire the sort of no-good scrote who’s landed himself with a few thousand hours of community service for being daft enough to rob alcopops in the full glare of CCTV.

Scrote labour, it’s the future. Really, society is very lucky to have men of vision like me ready to give these kids a chance and make the world a safer place.

Monday, 15 August 2011

How NOT to buy a football club

So, there I was in Wings in Manchester. Top gaff, great food, the owner Wing, is a massive pal of mine. If you look at the mural on the wall, my company logo is on the back of a rickshaw being pulled along by some kids.

He’s got these plates in frames on the wall that all the big hitters sign for him. Mine, signed by me, is next to one from the American soccer lad Brad Freidel and the fat one out of Take That. Quality.

Anyway, these lads pile in, reckoning they want to buy a football club, and they weren’t particularly choosy either. Obviously they know I’m the kind of go-getting wheeler dealer that can make these kind of deals happen – it was me, as you know, that put Michael Knighton into United. I suggested to Ali Ahsan Syed that he should sniff around Blackburn before the chicken mob beat him to it. And whatever these football rabble like to pretend these days – Leeds fans have me to thank for introducing Peter Ridsdale to soccer.

So I make a few suggestions which they turn their noses up at Stockport (basket case), Rochdale (doing a bit too well) and Oldham (too cold).

I also said they might want to have a chat to another good pal of mine, Bryan Robson, the former England captain, a global ambassador for the Manchester United Corporation and the main guy in GVA Robson Lloyd, a property outfit.

To be fair, I forgot all about it until this fuss kicked off about a programme on Channel 4. That’s not a channel I watch much, in fact, I thought it had closed down when Big Brother finished. But there you go.

I was disgusted. There these chancers were with hidden cameras in the Man U bar in Bangkok chatting up Robbo and pretending to be football investors. For the life of me I can’t see what he’s meant to have done wrong, apart from suggesting Sheffield United. He had this Thai lad Mr Joe, who they were making out on telly wasn’t all that. Well, to me he seemed a man very much after my own heart: big hitter, loaded, loves the soccer, likes his nosh, and is a big pal of Sir Alex Ferguson. What’s not to like?

I’m thinking I must look him up when I’m next in Bangkok, but here lies the problem. Every time some sharp talking lad from Britain pitches up, they’re going to think we’re some undercover jockey from Channel 4 or The Guardian. I don’t think we can understate the destructive effect the media is having on the reputation of British entrepreneurs around the world. Frankly, it’s time they were shut down for good.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

NEVER TRUST A TECHIE

Cards on the table. Sir Lord Alan of Sugar isn’t a close personal friend. We’ve rubbed shoulders once or twice, sure, at various charity fundraisers (which you know I love) and big hitting business events. We’ve both advised the government on business. We may even have exchanged words in the directors box at City, United or somewhere – fact is, I can’t remember. But what I do know is this – Baron Sweetner was 100 per cent bang on the money when he told the nation that engineers are no good at business.

He’s had a bit of stick has Alan. First you’ve got that Luke Johnson, the Pizza Express bloke, even Loz Jones has piled in. And of course there are a few exceptions to this rule. Sir James “Jimmy” Dyson for one, who makes ace Hoovers, so our housekeeper reckons anyway. But does Jimbo really sit down in his shed messing about with bits of metal and pipe cleaners like some crackpot science geek? I doubt it.

Business is all about selling a dream. When you think of the titans of business- Branson, Buffett, Trump, Cashman – the similarities are obvious. We’re all good-looking, charismatic men that people will follow. Natural leaders and born sellers.

Frankly, there’s too much of that clever-clever “oooh I’ve been to university” bollocks about. Well not at RC Solutions. The last certificate I got was for swimming and I’ve not done too badly for myself. For me, the only qualification that counts is a degree from the University of Life and frankly, we’re a bit suspicious of the techies.

That little dot com bloke, Manoj Ranaweera (who’s alright, to be fair) – said to me: “Roger, surely you’re a solutions business, how come you’re so successful but you don’t understand technology?” You don’t need to know the first thing about all the technical gubbins, pal. If you can convince bankers that you’ve got the stones to make something work, they’re picturing their bonus before you’re even out of the door, cheque in hand.

Sales is where it’s at. You can have the greatest idea ever and more techy know-how than you can shake a stick at but if you can’t sell you’re stuffed. Our sales lads aren’t even allowed a chair at their desk until they hit a weekly target. It’s a competitive environment that weeds out the weak and rewards the strong – someone once said it was like Darwin in action, but I don’t hire Lancastrians either.

That’s when you hire some specky geeks and middle-aged virgins to actually do the work. These people don’t have the vision and ambition to be great businessmen – it’s men like me that make them what they are. It’s even better now, because Russian maths graduates are even cheaper. I love globalisation.

Yes, the bar at Panacea is littered with tech investors and their hard-luck stories, but some of us are very comfy in the booths – the winner’s enclosure of life.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Cashman Business Club

At last, now there is a business club for like minded lads

As any premier league entrepreneur will tell you, it can be lonely at the top. Nothing prepares you for the unbelievable decisions you have to make.

The art of good business is simple – crush your competitors, stitch up your suppliers, cream off as much as you can, avoid tax. It’s that simple, but there’s no guidebook you can buy in WH Smith’s that can tell you how to do any of that. And let’s face it, these are the big talking points with all the lads when we’re knocking a ball around Mere, wolfing down the pizza in San Carlo or necking a few lite ales in the Alderley Bar & Grill.

That’s why I’m setting up a new Cashman Business Club for like minded business lads who need some help but don’t know where to turn. There’s plenty out there who will give you advice, advisers for a start. But they all send you these things called bills, which, eventually you have to pay, unless the firm goes bust of course.

Obviously networking is going to play a massive part in it – golf days, motivational speeches from me and various other lads I can invite along – Brad Burton, some of the Dragons, that lad from the Isle of Man who got binned off the Apprentice and, as it’s me, I reckon I can get The Plumber to make a comeback.

But let me tell you what it won’t be. We won’t be using any of that Twitter stuff. I’ve been on it for a while and it’s a total waste of time. I ask you this: is Pete Cowgill on Twitter? Or Mike Oliver? Or Phil Black? Exactly. You can follow me on @rogercashman if you want, but frankly I just use it to wind up the Man United players and to procure a few of my various leisure interests. It’s just a bit of banter.

The Cashman Business Club is not political. We’re not going to be going cap in hand to the councils and the so-called coalition government looking for a grant. This is hard business for hardcore lads. But if someone wants to give me £35m to build a website like the Business Link one, be my guest.

The Cashman Business Club won’t be boring. It’s not going to be like all the other dull dreary business clubs with their brochures full of blather and a room full of recruitment consultants. We won’t force feed our members with bumpf, but we are looking for sponsors who may wish to reach 10,000 of the region’s leading senior business leaders.

The Cashman Business Club won’t have awards where only our members get to win. Oh no, all our members will be winners anyway.

And the Cashman Business Club will be just for lads. It’s only right. The Dorises have got their own networks now – Forward Ladies for one, but to be fair I followed them on Twitter because I thought they were something else entirely.

If you want to join in – if you’ve got something to contribute, get in touch.

And obviously we’ll raise a few quid for the sick kids.

Monday, 9 May 2011

My indecision is final

Roger Cashman is not a man who pulls his punches. Unlike the woolly liberals and the bleeding heart dithering do-gooders who so often are inexplicably asked to share their opinions by media muppets, I’m a man who tells it straight and doesn’t hold back from baring his soul. But this month, I simply can’t make my mind up on a few things. Read on.

It all started when we were having a cheeky one in The Stag – celebrating Derek “Degsy” Lilley selling his software mob to private equity (ching ching) when one of the lads got a call from an insolvency jockey. Not Dermot Power, the lad with the bow ties who tried to sort Halliwell Landau out, but someone who inserts himself into these sort of deals – you know the type.

Without Dermot knowing, he let us have a peek at the Daily Sport – the thinking man’s newspaper. It’s been going down the tubes for a bit. Personally, I blame the BBC myself. Don’t know why, but everyone else blames them, and they did give that old Sport editor a job, you know who I mean, the scruffy one from Burnley (Tony Livesey, now a presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live – ed).

Next day, we were in. And you’ve never seen a due diligence data room like it.

We certainly sized up the figures, but not the ones our accountant looked at. In the editor’s filing cabinet we found these VHS videos the readers send in. You would not believe what these people do to each other. I have had to have my eyes bleached.

We then rattled through the so-called “reader’s letters” – apparently all the ones they printed are written by the staff – the real ones are – like the videos - literally unrepeatable. Certainly not fit to be repeated in a family publication.

Then we found out how they cooked up that whole “World War II Bomber Found On The Moon” story. They even had the Airfix model and a plastic blow-up moon (and many other inflatables too). Readers, I felt betrayed.

The business isn’t in great shape. The printers had them over a barrel, though thinking about it, there was a readers video involving shafting over a barrel, not that I’m obsessed. But it was too much, even for me. So I made my excuses and left.

Somalia
But, onwards and ever upwards. Someone must be able to work out a way of making a few quid out of the getting ships past these Somali pirate nutters.

There are two schools of thought, jaw or war. First, they’ve been at it a while now. Whoever’s running the show must need some wealth management advice, alternative investment solutions and, to be honest, if you wrap it up as a service you could even draft some standard documentation on ransoms and hostage fees.

The other idea is to start cracking a few heads. The South Koreans basically just blast the pirates out of the water. Result: their ships don’t get touched. For a basic fee we could get a squad of nutty Serbs and ex-squaddie Raoul Moat types, arm them to the teeth and fight fire with fire. Cashman’s Dogs of War. Worked in Iraq, didn’t it?

We’d charge up front fees to the shipping lines, obviously, and if it all goes wrong, there’s always the film rights. What do you reckon?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Horse Sense

Oy oy! I’m back from Nam – Cheltenham, the biggest and best horse racing bash you can get, unless you’re really into orange Scouse birds who’ll do anything for the price of a blue WKD and a lift back from Aintree Ladies Day to a booth in the Newz Bar.

Won a few quid this year as it happens and we had a good laugh superglueing some lad’s head to one of those floppy Guinness top hats on St Paddy’s Day. It was all sorted in time for his wedding photos on the Saturday though, and his intended is apparently very understanding where such banter is concerned. It’s always about the banter, never forget that.

We didn’t have any runners at this year’s festival, which is probably for the best as you can relax and get bladdered, rather than fretting that the nag that’s just gone down like a sack of shit at the first fence is yours – all those yard fees for nothing. There’s a few tales of that sort of thing going on at the moment.

Word is a load of the Irish boys who’d gone in too deep on the property boom over there are having to have their horses shot. Actually buying horses isn’t a problem you see, especially in Ireland – the damn things are running all over council estates over there, like rats round a Rusholme kitchen.

The cost comes with getting a roof over their heads, hay in their bellies, and paying some little muppets to give them a bit of a test drive (probably not the technical term) every morning or whatever. It doesn’t come cheap, and as the Micks are all skint now and have to ask Angela Merkel for so much as a Euro pocket money, they’ve nowhere to turn but the gun.

There is an alternative. Not that I’m entering the market to buy any more nags – our little syndicate’s got more than enough on its plate with the glue factory candidates we already own, such as Flash the Cash and Rampant Roger.

But I’m brokering a deal in classic Cashman style. The French, as we all know, will eat anything and it just so happens I’ve been cultivating a contact in the meat trade there. He’s desperate to get his hands on as much cheap flesh as he can, so poor old Dobbin needn’t live a wasted life.

The logistics are looked after as well. I met a Geordie lad at MIPIM, who’s made a million by buying up old choppers and planes from the MoD. He reckons we can get more horses in one of those big troop carrier planes than die in the first lap of the National every year. The only thing we need to sort out is getting some cargo in for the return leg – and as much as the little devil on one shoulder whispers “Asylum seekers” I’m just too nice a guy to get involved.

Monday, 7 March 2011

If you go down in the woods today

I’ve been stitched up by the so-called coalition government. A while ago me and a few of the Alderley boys – and some lads from the Ribble Valley we go shooting with - hatched a cunning plan that could have accelerated the government’s deficit reduction scheme. It would have been a job-creating enterprise and made better use of the land resource of this green and pleasant land. It would even have contributed to the tax take, because we were even going to register it here, and not in the Isle of Man (just this once).

One of the lads had a word with our MP, George Osborne. The plan, as you’d have guessed, was to let us run the forests. Great idea, we were told. Keep quiet, we’ll rush it through as a “consultation” and everything should have the green light in no time.

We were going to start with Grizedale Forest as a unique leisure destination, the first of its kind, and then a national roll out. Think Center Parcs for stag do’s: a casino, quad bikes, shooting, football, paintball, dirt bikes and hot tubs. Import a few rare species for specialist hunting, maybe even a few lions and elephants. And to crown it all, lap dancers around the camp fire – who could beat that?

We also wanted to set up a supply chain for a new network of wood burning power stations – you know the Chinese are doing that, don’t you? – and there will have been loads of grants for this sort of green stuff. We, George and the good old taxpayer would have been quids in.

But just because of a few tree huggers, and the usual lefty types who think the state has to run everything, all our investment and business planning is up in smoke, if you get my meaning.

To be honest with you, I think this lot are losing the plot. I still can’t get my head around this big society lark – giving money to charity? No problem. We all do that, and you don’t see a bigger supporter of sick kiddies than me. But apparently they want me to let our staff out early to do a bit of volunteering. Are you having a giraffe?

I don’t think they have any idea how hard it is to motivate a workforce like ours. Give them a bit slack, even for just a minute and they’ll be leaving on time every day. I didn’t build this business by helping old dears cross the road and running youth clubs – isn’t that what social workers do?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Things can only get bigger

After the brutal downsizing of the past couple of years, the Cashman project is looking to expand again. As I might have explained, we sold the gaff in Majorca and a couple of city centre apartments, which means we’re down to just the house in Abersoch and our drum in Alderley Edge. Life has been tough, of that there is no doubt.

So now things are picking up again, I’ve decided we need a bit of an upgrade to reflect my profile and lifestyle opportunities. Mrs C agrees, obviously.

I’ve found this house that will do just fine. And it’s off-market so you can’t look it up, by the way. According to the details, it was built about 100 years ago in the style of the Arts and Crafts Movement – it has these turrets, pointy bits on the top and that black and white pattern – just like the very first starter home I bought in 1990 – a mock Tudor mansion in Bramhall.

Sounds good? Yes, well I levelled it. The bulldozers have been in and now we’ve got these diggers and excavators drilling down. The problem is, you have all the local muppets saying you can’t build high around here, so I’m going low instead, which has never been a problem for me.

The non-negotiable essentials include a bowling alley, wine cellar, cinema, ensuites, a gym, the hot tub, dining area, a wet room and a pool, obviously. I’ll need a garage for the Hummer, the Ferrari and the Porsche Cayenne. And her indoors wants an Orangery. To get all this in the lads on site are digging so deep we half expect to find a couple of Chilean miners, but needs must.

Some old geezer sniffed around, who reckoned the digging would cause the Edge to collapse. Well, if it does, then it might make a nice cave in the future, and it has a better ring to it in my opinion.

Obviously I’m up for a scrap with these local do-gooders. Their blood’s up at the moment – one of the lads is being forced to rip up his tennis court because it obscures the view from the Edge. If it was me, I’d paint a cock and balls on it just to show them.

We’re going to rent out the old gaff too, it’s part of the investment strategy. So if you know any Johnny Foreigner footballers who fancy living in style while they’re taking the piss out of Man City for a couple of years, then the going rate is £10,000 a month. You know where to find me.

Going downhill rapidly

Usually the toughest decision I have to make in the new year is St Anton or Val d’Isere, but this year I’ve quite rightly been asked to join so many different parts of the government’s new push to suck up to entrepreneurs I’ve decided to say pretty much yes to everything.

I’ve copied down the list of various things I’m going to be sorting out. George Osborne, the MP for Alderley, taps me up for tips on what to do; there’s the Greater Manchester Chamber thingy, where we complain about gypsy camps and traffic; I was asked to join something called the Small Business Group, but was so offended that anyone thought I would ever even think “small” that I told them where to stick it.

But the biggie is the Entrepreneurs’ Forum with James Caan from Dragon’s Den (good lad, by the way) and that old bloke who looks like he could do with a rocket up his backside, Vinny Cable. It’s a chance for me to point out where they need to cut back the layers upon layers of red tape that the socialists tied us all up in. Health and safety? Why? Employee rights? Why? Discrimination Act – there wasn’t even a grant to put in wheelchair ramps, so where’s the incentive?

I’ve also jumped on this thing called a Fraud Forum. At first it was good way to second-guess what some of the more enterprising scammers are up to, but basically it gives you the nod on what the financial plod are chasing up, which has proved to be a good source of new business ideas.

I’ve heard there’s a VAT scheme that allows individuals to use their disability status to buy vehicles VAT free. At first I thought it looked like a bit of tawdry sticker trading – to be honest I wouldn’t have a blue badge just to park outside San Carlo, I’m not that desperate.

But once you buy the motors and then flog them to a company you set up in Belgium or Amsterdam, or somewhere, you can bring them back, claim the VAT and everyone’s a winner. No-one even needs to know they’ve been modified, you probably just put a bit of board behind the seat or something. The details can come later.

No doubt they’re going to ask my opinion on the Irish bailout. I’ll be honest, I think it’s probably not the best use of our tax, but an Irish government bond with a 9 per cent yield is a pretty good investment if you’ve got a cheeky half mill to invest. I sounded out some of the IMF boys over a round at the K Club and the time to get in is now. To be sure.