I ONCE met Graeme Le Saux on my way to Ewood.

I found him to be extremely personable, intelligent and articulate.

These qualities may not exactly be prevalent among professional footballers and may be interpreted as evidence of homosexuality by those not blessed with a modicum of sense.

Before Graeme cries into his 1947 Chateau Laffite, however, I would like to offer him an invitation - to put aside a Saturday soon and join me on the Nationwide League line at such venues as Rochdale, Scunthorpe or Carlisle.

From the stroke of three, he will hear the local wags remark on my savagely receding hairline. They will not that my frame has been beset by middle-age spread. Not only is my eyesight diminished - that goes without saying - but I require the latest in hearing aid technology.

I am ignorant and also remarkably ugly. My father forged his entry on my birth certificate and I am invited at regular intervals to depart.

I become a sitting duck for lukewarm coffee, toffees, items of local pastry and a selection of coins - all this for, I calculate, less than two per cent of Graeme's daily salary.

My advice to him would be to follow my train of thought - while morons are abusing him, various family members and pets are being saved from a kicking. It just about beats shopping.

Most of the people who are shelling out the abuse have travelled hours to get there, watched 90 minutes of unmitigated tedium, got wet, and tortured their digestive systems with the delicacies of stadium catering. And they pay a fortune to do it.

Don't know about you Graeme, but it makes me feel sort of warm inside!

NEIL A YATES, Livesey Street, Rishton.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.