Maff's life swap
If Martin Jol is considering a career change following his departure from Spurs, he could do worse than follow Maff Brown into comedy.
A former small-time footie manager in Singapore, Brown swapped backroom tactics for backroom gigs three years ago and now runs Kingston's award-winning Outside The Box Club at The Fighting Cocks, as well as guesting at stand-up venues nationwide.
In fact, when I call, Brown is taking it easy after a double-header the previous night - opening at one club in Ealing and closing at another in Basingstoke.
"Feasibly, you can can do four or five spots in a night if you're in central London" says (possibly) the hardest-working man in comedy. "There are about 20 clubs in walkable distance of each other. But Ealing to Basingstoke - that was a bit hairy!"
From open mics at Kingston's Laughing Horse to compering at The Comedy Store, Brown concedes his rise to a decent comedy wage has been swift. And it's all down to Outside The Box.
"Every week, you're MCing to a crowd of around 80, 65 of whom are regulars. And, if I even dare to tell the same joke twice, it's: We've heard it!' Now, you wouldn't say that to Robbie Williams if he sang the same song twice but at least it forces me to come up with new material every Monday. It's a deadline - and we all need that."
It was Brown's skills as an MC which bagged Outside The Box the title of Best New Club at the 2006 Chortle Awards. In a single night earlier this year, the club hosted Jimmy Carr, Dara O'Briain, Omid Djali and Lee Mack, and other high-profile performers have included Bill Bailey and Frank Skinner, who said of Brown: "The jokes just fall out of him like gold coins spilling out of a pirate chest."
Brown claims a basic formula of stories and jokes himself but it clearly works. A regular warm-up for Avalon and Paramount, he recently filmed a pilot sitcom for You Tube called simply The Maff Brown Show.
So no regrets about leaving football behind? "When I worked in the Liverpool backroom, it was during the Gerard Houillier years when we achieved precisely nothing. So no, I don't miss it. I don't even watch it," says Brown.
"With comedy, you have the freedom to watch the entire series three of Lost in two days. And, best of all, you don't have to answer to anyone." Not something that Jol could say at Spurs.
Outside the Box, The Fighting Cocks, Kingston, every Monday, 9pm, £7 on door/£8 adv, £4 students, 07973 783339, outsidetheboxcomedy.co. uk Maff guests at The Waterfront Bar, 426-428 Streatham High Road, November 7, 7pm, £8, 020 8764 3985, waterfrontbar.co.uk