Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Memoirs of an Insolvency Practitioner


Any such memoirs will be from memory only. Twelve years after boxing up the diaries that recorded my entire career in detail, I decided that there was no longer any justification for keeping the contents of those boxes.

In deference to the recycling company I laboriously removed all the wire and filled our blue bin with thousands of the shorthand pad sheets that detailed, in fifteen minute segments, many years of work.


Perhaps I ought to write a short piece covering a few highlights of all those years whilst I can still remember them, but rest assured – that won’t reach these pages.

On the other hand…

Sorting through my archives today with a view to passing them on to Grant Thornton (they were collected this afternoon), I did come across something with amusement value:


I think this dates from the late 1970s, before I moved from auditing to insolvency. Where are they all now?

The picture below is of a cricket team that won the Grant Thornton national competition, a prestigious victory as a number of offices sported individuals with ‘Minor Counties’ credentials.


You’ll see (maybe) that I was umpire on this occasion, chosen because I never ever gave anyone out LBW. My eyesight wasn’t good enough! There were some cracking players in that team.

I did occasionally manage to wield a bat. Defence wasn’t my strong point. The short boundary at Alderley Edge was one of the few places that I could clear the boundary fielder. I also remember a ‘What Happened There?’ incident in an away match with our Liverpool office. I turned to the umpire, somewhat flummoxed, recording my belief that ‘but I’m not a bowler’. Gordon Hope looked at me and said ‘Maybe, but although you got that hat trick without any help from the rest of your team, you may have to buy a round later!’ Gordon, a Liverpool partner in the firm suffered the misfortune of being appointed to investigate Ken Dodd’s tax affairs. This led to his suicide after he was ostracised by the citizens of Liverpool. Very sad, he was a good man.

On another occasion I was umpiring in a game against our clients, Manchester United. They had some good cricketers. I asked one of their team what he did at United. “Assistant chef” he replied, “but I did play cricket for Glamorgan before that.” Anyway, it got to the last ball of the match. We needed five more runs to win, so all was going well – we could allow our clients victory (etiquette demanded this) and everyone would go home happy. Steve Bruce bowled a wide. I called it very late (wicket keeper Maurice Watkins later came to my defence – he was a good man to have on your side legally, as well as being a splendid cricketer) after our batman had missed the ball, so Steve had another throw go. The ball was hit fairly gently to Martin Edwards (remember him – the Chairman?) for two runs. So we had lost honourably by one run. But we hadn’t – Edwards threw the ball wildly, missing the wicket keeper and allowing two overthrows to be run. So we had won by one run, and my ‘late’ call of a wide was forever held against me. The United contingent spent the next half hour in their dressing room, apart from the only first team player who had turned out, Steve Bruce, who came to the bar at Bowdon Cricket Club saying “anyone would think we’d lost the cup final; I’ll bring Pallister next time, he’ll sort you out!”

Happy days. We lost the United audit shortly afterwards, so never did discover Gary Pallister’s cricketing credentials.

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