WHEN the boss finally decides to move on I can see him fitting into the role of motivational speaker. His performances at our Xmas parties are, quite frankly, legendary. And this time was no exception.
With the impending arrival of One Team Meeja Wales I guess this goes down as the last of the Wales on Sunday parties, even though we are talking of having revival evenings every year.
The WoS xmas party, for anyone who has worked with us or been unfortunate enough to encounter us, tend to turn into mad contests to test every ounce of stamina. I remember the first one was at a rather sleazy Cardiff hotel which doubled up as a venue for prostitutes to peddle their wares and started off on a Tuesday evening at about 7.
After that they began earlier and earlier including one famous year when we had barely touched base in the office before we were off to the Queen's Dungeon for a quick snifter. This was the famous time when one of our number, a certain Smiffy, tried to molest a waiter at a local restaurant and got us banned for life.
On another occasion ex-Echo editor Richard Williams, joining us from the Liverpool Post and as yet to take up his role with the newspaper, was greeted by a gang of scousers wearing black curly wigs and false moustaches and shouting "eh, eh, eh!" at the top of their voices. The Greek, at that time deputy sports editor to myself, got very upset when we told him he could not have one of said wigs. "Why not?" he demanded.
"You don't need one. With that curly perm you already look like a dodgy scouser," we told him.
So on to the Boss.
One year he decided to have a quick word in the ear of our chief reporter. The conversation ended with the chap handing in his resignation there and then.
The Boss always uses the Xmas party to make a lasting impression on his journalists - to outline his in-depth plan to take WoS onwards and upwards. Bouncing to his feet on one occasion, he announced in his delicate Glaswegian drawl (pretty well perfected for an honest-to-goodness Irishman): "A' wan' Shcoops, shcoops, shcoops!"
As tends to be the practice on these occasions everyone looked at each other, mouthing: "What on earth is he saying? Is he asking for the restaurant to bring out the ice cream."
But in his persuasive way the Boss found a way to explain what he was getting at. "Shhhhhhhhcoooops!" he shouted so loud the window pains rattled.
Later he dragged aside our newest recruit Rosey - who had only joined the paper on that day and must have been wondering what on earth was going on. He had yet to even see the inside of our office.
"Hey, you, Jimmy," shouted the boss, probably getting Rosey mixed up with someone else.
He then stood an inch from the face of his quarry and engaged him with a steely eye.
"Ah, wasna' shure whether to take ye on, but Rippers wanted ye so here ye are. Yah better not let us doon, A'm expecting great things from yoos."
Quite a daunting challenge for a guy who had been on the payroll for just five hours.
This year the boss had prepared to give a rousing final send off to the good ship WoS. "S'pleasure to work with ye, your the best crood WoS ever had I reckon (It's something he says every year which just signifies the rapid improved of the product). It's been fantastic."
On this occasion I sneaked away feeling rather emotional about the whole proceedings. But I understand the Boss went around, geeing up the troops until the early hours of the morning.
To the Fab BB, who is leaving us for the Peeps, he declared: "Ah wan yer to goo oot wi' a bang - I'm expecting two Shcoops from yer in yer last two weeks."
Not too much of an ask for a guy of the Fab BB's talent, but he has certainly produced plenty of those since he's been with us and will be greatly missed.
To Danny Boy "the poipes, the poipes": "Who do ye like and who do ye think is a c**t?"
And to Wathanovski, who has only been with us a few weeks since becoming a soccer writer on WoS: "Ah'm shure ye'll be fine in the new regime as long as ye keep producing the stories. Now let me tell you all about Celtic..."
As I say, I wasn't there so there's no way of verifying this, but apparently the conversation continued for the next half hour. Nothing to read here though about Gordon Strachan's mighty green and white army... probably because Wathanovski couldn't understand another word.
Lovely to see Kempy at the do - our first contact since she went off to have baby Paddy - and likewise Captain Mainwaring, who gave birth to George.
The food at Mimosa's in Cardiff Bay was absolutely spectacular, it must be said, the Lamb Shanks, Duck Salad and Oatcake and Cream left me feeling bloated but satisfied. When it came to going on, though, I left it to the younger set who apparently finished up at Buffalo until 3.15 in the morning.
Poor old Robot, though. He turned to the Boss and the Prince of Darkness and slurred: "See yoush inthe morning."
"Nah, ye won't son, A've booked the day off!" revealed the Boss.
The Prince meanwhile is on a week's holiday (no truth in the rumour he is spending it at the Priory)
Warriors as we are on WoS the guys who did show up, despite the green-faced appearances, put in a full day's work.
Outstanding. The Boss will be so proud, as no doubt he'll tell us in the pub sometime...