An ex-Scottish football manager and an ex-American actor. An odd couple indeed. But how so? Many know of Paul Newman's huge success in later life with his range of salad dressings. What few know, however, is that Newman's inspiration was the one time Manager of Notts County, Jimmy Sirrel.
Sirrel, with his grizzled, toothy face was famous for his party pieces. One of these was acted out every time County ate their pre-match meal. Jimmy would ask the nearest waitress for a bottle of brown sauce. When it was presented to him, he'd tell the waitress to stay while he used it quickly. Having poured out the sauce, Sirrel would then screw the top back on, but not before taking a quick lick with his tongue to ensure that the bottle top was clean. He would then hand the bottle back to the dumbfounded and open-mouthed waitress with a big smile as if nothing had happened as the players giggled like naughty schoolboys.
But the Newman link? Well, the famous actor had been the only overseas member of County's fan club since the late 60's when the final scenes of the epic Western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were shot in Nottingham's City Centre. Often mistaken for Phil Woosnam, Newman had long been a fan of soccer and visited Meadow Lane as often as he could before filming was complete.
Invited to eat with County, Newman witnessed the Sirrel table trick and vowed to try it out when he returned to the US. It was after numerous attempts to 'lick it quick and lick it clean' as he liked to describe it, that our Butch realised that the sauces on the market 'tasted like crap'. Swinging into action, Newman even flew Sirrel and the County players out to the West Coast to be his 'Sauce Advisers' as the range was developed. We know the rest.
Sadly last year, both legends passed on to the great condiment factory in the sky where Butch and Jimmy can 'lick 'em quick and lick 'em clean' to their hearts content for eternity.
A spokesman for the Newman family denied that overtures from County for a donation to buy a new fuse to get the electric clock at Meadow Lane working again had been rejected.