Wow. Some amazing memories came flooding back this weekend when I heard about Ray Clemence and Des O’Connor. Two men from different parts of my life, but nevertheless important.

As a kid I supported Spurs. Hoddle, Waddle, Ardiles - and Ray Clemence between in the sticks. That was a cracking Tottenham team, although still not a patch on the great Liverpool team of the 1970s he played in.

Ray played 635 times for Liverpool and 330 times for Spurs - and I actually played against him, which was kind of weird.

These guys at Spurs had been my heroes and now I was playing against them for Wimbledon. I remember in one match hitting a great volley, but Ray dived the whole length of the goal and tipped it over the bar. That was classic Clem.

It’s said too often, but Ray was an absolute footballing gent and my very best to his family.

Not many people know that Des O’Connor was also a football man - and not a bad player either. He played for Northampton Town reserves and colts just after the war, having been evacuated there.

Of course, we knew and loved Des for his work in showbusiness - and getting a spot on the Des O’Connor Show on ITV in primetime was always something. I was lucky enough to be a guest one time. 

It was early days for me in the business, but I remember him being so genuine and encouraging. A really nice man. RIP Des.

I hoped to end the weekend on a happier note by watching the football and, while Belgium put the Three Lions to the sword, Jack Grealish saved the day. 

The boy is a great talent. He has fantastic feet and unlocks defences - and just got me thinking how much an attacking force England could be.

So this is how I’d do it, Gareth.

Rashford on the left, Sterling or Sancho on the right, Kane up top with Grealish behind them, making runs and feeding all three. Stick Declan Rice behind Grealish and we’re halfway there. 

As for the rest, England are blessed with fantastic wing-backs, so no worries there. It actually might be the centre-back partnerships which could be crucial and give Gareth food for thought.

Sunday’s results mean England miss out on the Nations League, but does anybody really care?

It’s been a mad season anyway and Southgate can now concentrate fully on the Euros next year and taking on the Scots - well done lads, what a night that was! Use the Iceland game this week to try a few things out.

Certainly, the Premier League managers will not give a flying f*** about less games for their international stars. They’re unhappy as it is given the rushed finish to last season, the late start to this season - and all the domestic and European competitions. Less is more for them.

We’re back on Premier League watch this week - and Spurs at home to Man City is the pick of the games.

Victory for Jose’s boys surely make them contenders for the big one. They’ve had a great season so far and, while you wonder how they’d cope should Kane or Son, or both, get injured - do they have the squad? - you can’t fail to be impressed so far.

Getting a late winner away to West Brom was just so Jose, wasn’t it? It’s a cliche but it’s exactly what champions do - but taking on Pep is a different matter entirely.

Their head-the-head record gives Guardiola a clear edge, so City must be the percentage call. Rodri is proving increasingly the man now. He’s a Pep ever-present this season and up with De Bruyne, Sterling and Aguero as key players for the men in sky blue.

The City defence has been a problem but Dias is helping sort that out and might keep Spurs out. A City win for me.

I’m confident Leeds can turn Arsenal over.

The Gunners have been quite toothless of late and got rumbled by Villa. No doubt Arteta banged a few heads together after that game, but Leeds at home will do for me. That Palace game was a write-off - and not all their fault.

Check out my fancies below and enjoy the return of the Premier League this week.

GLAD you all liked the fact I’m back owning racehorses again.

I’m part of the Rogues Gallery Racing syndicate (www.roguesgalleryracing.com) - a bunch of people just getting together for the love of racing. That’s good enough for me.

Tony Elliot, the main man, is keeping me in touch with how the horses are working and there’s plenty to look forward to.

I can’t wait for my next visit to the gallops when things ease up. I want to get up close and personal with a horse called The Guvnor. He’s a son of Frankel, no less. Great breeding.

Make sure you keep in touch with the horse racing scene with the lads at easyodds.com. They know their onions.

I CAN’T believe I deserted my boy Dustin Johnson for the Masters. I put him right on a few things when we played at Sherwood Country Club in California - he’s never looked back!

Okay, maybe not, but what a performance. He bolted up with a record-breaking score and is a worthy winner of the green jacket. Well done DJ.   

Good luck all and stay safe people,

Vinnie. 

 

Vinnie’s best bets

Premier League

Saturday

Newcastle United v Chelsea CHELSEA WIN

Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion DRAW

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City MAN CITY WIN

Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion MAN UTD WIN

Sunday

Fulham v Everton EVERTON WIN

Sheffield United v West Ham United WEST HAM WIN

Leeds v Arsenal LEEDS WIN

?Liverpool v Leicester DRAW

Monday

Burnley v Crystal Palace DRAW

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton WOLVES WIN