David Parkin on the price of failure at Morrisons, no wain in Spain and bachelor padding

DID you see that Dalton Philips walked away from his role as chief executive of Morrisons with pay and bonuses of around £3m?

That must have been why he accepted, what looked at the time, to be an ignominious sacking by new chairman Andy Higginson, in January.

There was very little self-justification from Philips on his departure. But when your five-year tenure saw a slumping share price, staff morale reach rock bottom and a public slating from former chairman and grocery grandee Sir Ken Morrison, there probably isn’t much you can say in mitigation.

Someone told me the other day that Philips probably knew he was going to get the heave-ho sometime ago as he’d apparently moved his children out of private school in York last year.

Mind you, I don’t think you had to be a latter-day Doris Stokes to work out that his days were numbered.

It reminds me of a story I heard about Kelvin Mackenzie when he was editor of The Sun.

He decided to sack the paper’s horoscope writer and called the unfortunate individual into his office.

“I suppose you know why you’re here,” said Kelvin. “And if you don’t, that’s why you are here.”

It could be an urban myth, but I’d like to believe it.


THE passion of the British for Spain doesn’t appear to be on the wain.

Every summer – and most other times of the year as well – Brits fly south to where blue skies and warm seas are virtually guaranteed.

And despite being only just over two-hours flight time away, heading to the Iberian peninsula during the summer months is no longer a low-cost option.

You only have to look at the price of flights during June, July and August to know that calling some airlines “low cost” is now a total misnomer.

The UK’s love affair with Spain probably began in the 1960s.

I remember my parents telling me about a holiday they spent in Benidorm in the mid-Sixties.

Apparently there were then only about three hotels in the resort and you could have anything for dessert as long as it was creme caramel.

Their abiding memory of this trip was a chap from Doncaster who was a big fan of Frank Sinatra who constantly demanded staff in the hotel bar to replay the record of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ latest hit, Strangers in the Night, with the words: “Shove it on again.”

Fast forward to the 1970s and the vogue for British criminals to head to Spain began, because of the lack of an extradition treaty between the two countries.

Britain once sent its convicts over the other side of the world to the fledgling colony of Australia. Two hundred years on and they did a runner to the sun before they were even convicted.

As a student, I once went on holiday to a resort in Majorca called Cala Millor. It was also known by some as ‘Derby-by-the-Sea’ given the former Derby County manager Brian Clough had a holiday home there.

In fact, Derby’s team were on a break in Cala Millor in May 1972 when the news reached them that they had won the First Division title as other results went their way.

They threw assistant manager Peter Taylor in the hotel pool and sank a few beers before being pictured cavorting on lilos in the pool. It’s a lifetime away from today’s footballers’ off the pitch antics with nitrous oxide and laughing gas.

Anyway, back to my trip to the resort. Along with three friends, we sought out the bar run by Brian Clough’s favourite publican.

After an inordinately long wait to be served, I asked one of the staff if we could have four beers.

He turned to us, looking surprised, and said: “I’m sorry lads, I thought you were German. I’ll go and get your beers, do you want a pint of Bass? Toad in the hole is on special today too.”

I don’t know whether Cala Millor has changed, but I have.

Now I’d order a plate of iberico ham washed down by a fine glass of Albarino.

That’s enough to get you banned from a British bar in Cala Millor.


WHILE out and about last week it was nice to bump into the men behind Backup Technology, the Yorkshire hi-tech firm that was sold for a significant sum a couple of years ago.

Both Simon Chappell and Ritchie Fiddes have invested some of their money in racehorses and Simon has also backed a professional cycling team, ONE Pro Cycling, which will be in action in this weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire.

Simon’s also the chairman of cricket charity the Lords’ Taverners in Yorkshire and the man behind its popular annual Balloon Debate – which readers may remember I won a couple of years ago with a creative, cultural presentation about former footballer Frank Worthington.

Ritchie, who despite only being in his 30s, happily admits he doesn’t want to work again and focuses on his stable of horses at his North Yorkshire home.

He told me he has been described as North Yorkshire’s most eligible bachelor.

That impressed me.

I’m not even the most eligible bachelor in my street.

When I asked who had given him such a title, he told me it was the Northern Echo.

Given the readership profile of this regional newspaper I think he is more likely to meet a woman that read the article playing bingo in a Darlington nursing home rather than dancing in The Keys nightclub in Yarm.


I THOUGHT my bachelor days were over when I attended a friend’s party last weekend.

A very attractive woman sidled over to me as I leaned nonchantly against the French windows sipping a luke warm glass of Vino Collapso.

After a short but intense conversation, she leaned back and declared: “Do you know, you are the most interesting, charismatic man at this party.”

She then said she was going to get another drink, leaving me in slightly self-congratulatory mode, pleased that someone, for the first time, had seen what I’ve always known.

She turned around to make her way across the lounge floor and collapsed across a pouffe.

Some of her friends and neighbours, who had clearly seen this before, helped her to her feet and then proceeded to carry her home.

Leaving me with my charisma and a warm glass of wine.

Have a great weekend.

2 thoughts on “David Parkin on the price of failure at Morrisons, no wain in Spain and bachelor padding”

  1. Only you David could be chatted up by an attractive woman who then collapsed into a pouffe . It could only happen in North Leeds. You must be the most eligible bachelor in your street. Have a good weekend.

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