David Parkin on a great place to eat, being put in his place and the humility missing from Mourinho

IF there is a better place to eat on a sunny day in Harrogate than La Feria, then I’d like to find it.

(Please email invites to this address).

The tiny restaurant serving Spanish-style chicken and tapas, nestled in a former antiques shop on a roundabout in the spa town, has made the move up the road.

The new site, a former pub on Cold Bath Road, is five times the size of the original venue and has a large outside garden area and stylish bar.

In the last two years La Feria, the brainchild of former actor, public relations man and charity worker Jez Verity, has become a fixture of the Harrogate dining scene and, even in the first few weeks of its new home opening, looks like its biggest challenge will be fitting people into the larger venue.

The menu is beautifully simple – Andalusian chicken, salads and tapas – and the restaurant and bar now has the space to stock a wider selection of new wines and Spanish beers.

The charm of the staff reflects Jez’s warm approach and, with three new business partners, you can guess that the delights of La Feria won’t just be confined to Harrogate in the future.

I first met Jez a few years ago when he was working for Marie Curie, helping coordinate the publicity and logistics around Welcome to Yorkshire chief Gary Verity’s New York Marathon challenge, a team which I was fortunate to be part of.

Jez handled the demands of the great man with a smile.

Given they share the same surname, some people assumed the two might be brothers.

The best one was when someone asked Gary if Jez was his son. The fact that they are only a few years apart in age made it all the more enjoyable.

Gary changed his hairdo and lost some weight soon after.

La Feria, which only had a handful of tables at its previous venue, can now seat 120 people and offers takeaway rotisserie chickens for those who want to pretend they can cook delicious Andalusian-style chicken to impress their friends at their Harrogate pads.

The beauty of the La Feria concept is that it doesn’t just give you the taste of Spain, but the look and feel too.

The bar and restaurant transports you to the Iberian peninsula with the detail impressive. All the antique tiles and doors have been sourced from near the village in Andalucia that inspired Jez to create La Feria.


THANK you if you have submitted an entry in our COPA Euro 2016 Challenge.

It is a way to have a bit of friendly competition during the month-long European Championship with entrants picking the teams and players they think will do best during the tournament.

But please don’t ask me the rules.

They were the brainchild of corporate finance accountant Andy Miller of Sentio Partners.

What Andy can do with a spreadsheet is comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo’s skills with a football.

I’m actually pleased I’m precluded from entering the competition, which is clearly aimed at more intelligent members of the business community.

All the entries have been collated by my colleague Aimee McMillan, who is cursing the day I volunteered her for the role.

With hospitality tickets to Sky Bet Football League matches on offer to our winner and runners up, the COPA Euro 2016 Challenge promises to be as competitive as the tournament.

As long as the spreadsheet works.


IT was no surprise to get a response to comments about Yorkshire County Cricket Club members in a recent column.

One reader added this comment to the blog: “I wonder if your comment about Millets anoraks and Mother’s Pride sandwiches was intended to come across as snobbishly as I think it has?”

To be honest, yes, it was.

But it was very tongue in cheek.

Reader Dave Robbins certainly took the comments in the spirit with which they were intended – and responded in kind.

“As ever, an entertaining chunter about your week. However, as  a Yorkshire CCC member with sandwiches in a plastic box (artisan bread mind, not some sliced rubbish), might I just point out that like  churchgoers, it’s the regulars that keep the place going for you occasionals to grace us with your presence for a Test Match (or in the case of churches, a posh wedding). Sorry if we gave some of you grief for standing up in the middle of an over, but as we’d probably paid to watch, as with any true Yorkshireman, we want to get our money’s worth!”

There was more from Dave when he realised that I’d followed up my Test Match trip to the Mecca of cricket, with a T20 match too.

“As you were there for the 20/20, that almost smacks of regularity. You’re nearly a member and can therefore become suitably grumpy, along with the rest of us. And we had plenty to be grumpy about after a bloody awful performance. However amends were made in the four day game when Yorkshire actually looked like champions.”

I don’t mind being put in my place, but it always helps when it is done in an entertaining way.


IF one thing was as certain as night following day, it was that the tribunal hearing by former Chelsea Football Club doctor Eva Carneiro was never going to run its full course.

I’m surprised it even made it to a first day.

Even during those first few hours of the employment tribunal hearing, the preliminary mud slinging between the two sides certainly gave the impression that the doctor’s claims presented a serious challenge for the football club to face.

Apparently Dr Carneiro had turned down a pre-tribunal financial offer from Chelsea of £1.2m in compensation.

I’m sure the final settlement figure was several times that.

But more than the number of noughts on the cheque, Eva Carneiro was determined to get an apology from the club.

Dr Carneiro, who claimed constructive dismissal against Chelsea, also reached a discrimination settlement against the club’s former manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea said it apologised “unreservedly” to the former first team doctor for the distress caused.

Dr Carneiro claimed she was sexually discriminated against after she went on to the pitch to treat Chelsea player Eden Hazard during the opening day of the Premier League season last August.

She claimed that Mr Mourinho shouted the Portuguese phrase “filha da puta” at her, which means “daughter of a whore”, as she ran on to the pitch.

The timing of the tribunal was interesting, coming just after Mourinho had taken up his new role as manager of Manchester United.

Whilst the settlement now allows Mourinho to get on with his new job, it was missing any apology from him, just an acknowledgement of her work and for future success.

Not surprising that this most arrogant of men avoided the humbling experience that his former club was willing to cop for.

Evidence emerged this week that his sacking by Chelsea has not taught him humility.

He welcomed football legend Pele and spectators at the Soccer Aid pro-celebrity football match at Old Trafford to “my house”.

Only two words, but there is an arrogance to them that suggests he now believes he is bigger than one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Like him or loathe him, a Premier League with Jose Mourinho is going to be entertaining.

But how will his arrogance and antics look when compared with opposing managers like Claudio Ranieri, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola?

I’m sure they are all as confident in their own abilities as Mourinho is of his own, its just they do it with a charm and humour that he often lacks.


I’VE always liked the phrase: “As useful as a chocolate tea pot.”

Looking through my wallet the other day I think I found a modern day equivalent: “As useful as an Austin Reed loyalty card.”

Have a great weekend.

1 thought on “David Parkin on a great place to eat, being put in his place and the humility missing from Mourinho”

  1. Err…”thanks” David. My mission in life to avoid a mention in your column has now failed.

    Oh, and I can take no credit for the original concept for the competition. Those even pre-date my McInnes days. Blame Messrs Roberts, Eardley and the late Tim Edwards for that…

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