David Parkin on brassneck in business, mayors and monkeys and raising the stakes to find a ladies day winner

THERE are plenty of successful entrepreneurs with brass in Yorkshire…and then there are those with just brassneck.

A press release was issued this week announcing that Yorkshire entrepreneur Matt Haycox has signed a publishing deal to co-author a new book revealing the secrets of success in life and business.

Also involved in the book is Jack Canfield, the American author whose Chicken Soup For The Soul series has seen 500m books published in 40 languages.

Given the publisher of this new book called Soul of Success is called CelebrityPress, I assume it is some kind of vanity publishing scheme for many of those involved.

The press release tells us breathlessly that Matt is a “driven and well connected entrepreneur, who is proud of pushing boundaries to achieve his business goals”.

From setting up a music website and running a clothing company at 20-years-old, to opening pubs and the Wildcats lap dancing chain, Matt has also set up a brokerage and private lending firm and, according to the press release, at 27 he was the largest single shareholder and director of a plc listed finance company.

And while the press release does mention the collapse of Wildcats and some of his other businesses it moves quickly on to say he has “worked hard to overcome the setbacks and re-establish himself in the entrepreneurial arena”.

What it doesn’t mention is that in 2010 he was disqualified from being a company director for 12 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The Insolvency Service found that Mr Haycox entered into trading transactions knowing his company was insolvent and could not pay for goods ordered.

The investigation found that Mr Haycox’s company ordered two lorry loads of Swiss chocolate in 2008, but they went missing when they arrived at a business park, while there were insufficient funds in the company’s bank account to cover the cheques issued to pay for the chocolates.

Investigators also found that he took a loan out against a BMW X5 which was already on hire purchase.

I know Matt Haycox and I’ve enjoyed his company on a few occasions, but if I was advising him, I’d probably suggest that flaunting the secrets of his success isn’t the wisest move when he’s only half way through a 12 year disqualification as a director.


BEING an ex-journalist, I still take an interest in what goes on in my old profession.

A regional journalism news website carried a story the other day about two more newspaper journalists making the almost inevitable move into public relations.

The male and female journalists were pictured with the caption underneath pointing out that Joe was on the left and Jessica was on the right in the photo of the pair.

It prompted the comment by one reader: “Joe, left, and Jessica? Thanks for the steer.

But that was quickly followed by another who remembered: “Years ago, the weekly [newspaper]  where I worked had a front page picture of the Mayor and a chimpanzee complete with a left and right caption!

It’s the people I miss in journalism.


SOME of the photos I’ve seen over the years from Grand National Ladies Day at Aintree Racecourse are enough to make Ladies Day at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting look like Paris Fashion Week.

National newspapers have had a field day with photographs of some of the outfits paraded on the day.

Please don’t think this is some snobbish criticism of Scousers’ fashion sense. I did some in depth research to find the photograph above of some Welsh racegoers at a previous Aintree Ladies Day.

Now the racecourse is encouraging racegoers to raise their game by offering a prize worth more than £43,000 for the most stylish attendee at Ladies Day on the Friday before the Crabbie’s Grand National in April.

In addition to a white Range Rover Evoque, the winner will receive £8,000 worth of vouchers for shopping, personal training gym sessions, a monthly booth furnished with the obligatory Prosecco at a Liverpool bar, as well as a monthly makeover at Harvey Nicks.

Apparently the contest is open to both men and women and the winner will be chosen by judges from the fashion and style industry.

What it also mentions is that the Range Rover Evoque SE Tech TD4 Diesel Manual is fitted with rear privacy glass.

I suppose it stops the winner and their friends mooning at motorists on their way home.

Have a great weekend.

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