There’s nothing like a bracing walk along the beach to wake you up - that, and a right hander!
I’m in Southend-on-Sea at the moment, filming Rise of the Foot Soldiers: Origins. We’re on the coast, recreating the club scene in Southend and the surrounding Essex area in the late 1980s into the early nineties. It certainly wasn't a place for the faint-hearted - especially if you were connected in some way to the ‘Essex Boys’.
Rise of the Foot Soldiers is a series of films based round that story - and this film is about how it all started. I’m playing Bernard O’Mahoney, an associate of Tony Tucker, who’s played by Terry Stone.
Bernard can handle himself - but so, too, can the other lads so I’m being kept on my toes. It’s serious stuff but we have a laugh at the end of the day.
Rise of the Foot Soldiers: Origins will be out next year and it’s great to be making a film in the UK again - at least I’m watching the football at normal times!
Of course, nothing is easy and another lockdown will mean changes for us on set, too. A lot of the work will be moved on a month, but we’ll get there. Just keep safe all and, thankfully, top-class sport is continuing - so listen to uncle Vinnie if you fancy a winner. Hope you were on Usyk to beat Delboy Chisora on points.
That was a good scrap in the circumstances. Because of Covid most of the top fighters are only just coming out to play after protracted delays - they’ve got to keep on fighting even if it’s behind closed doors. Usyk hadn’t fought for over a year or something, so he’ll get better - and will need to for Joshua, Fury and Wilder.
Talking of heavyweight clashes, it’s Man City v Liverpool on Super Sunday - and I’m going for a home win here.
Neither are flying just now. They’ve dominated the last two seasons but either they’ve dipped or the chasing pack are getting better. I’m not absolutely sure, but Liverpool have certainly struggled more with injuries and for that reason I’m taking Pep over Klopp in what might just be a bad-tempered affair. I’ve just got a feeling . . .
Leeds can get back on track by getting something out of a trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday. They were well beaten in the end by Leicester on Monday, but if they’d taken their chances it might have been different.
On any other day, Patrick Bamford would have netted a couple - and he might this weekend against one of his former clubs. He didn't have the happiest time with the Eagles during a short spell there as a young player so might have a point to prove - and the best way is to score!
Chelsea look shoo-ins against Sheffield United. Nothing seems to be going right for Chris Wilder, but the Blades played well against Liverpool recently so Frank won’t be taking things for granted. However, his defence looks solid now with Thiago Silva settled and Ziyech is here, there and everywhere. He could be the Blues’ best signing.
The week kicks off with a busy Friday night on the south coast. Both Southampton and Brighton are in action with home games - I’m going with the Seagulls to take flight against a struggling Burnley, but the Saints might be pegged back by Newcastle. What a win for the Geordies against Everton at the weekend.
Carlo Ancelotti was not a happy man at St James’ Park - and neither was Jordan Pickford I’d imagine after being dropped. But Carlo said he’d back against United and the eyes will be on him. He’s a great ’keeper but United is still a tough game. They showed against Leipzig last week what they’re capable of. I’m with the Reds here.
Jose was a happy man after being Bale-d out against Brighton and Spurs are certainly flying high in the league. They’ll be expected to beat West Brom away from home on Sunday, but there’s something about Slaven Bilic I like. He’s a real heart-on-sleeve manager and can go head-to-head with Jose - and get a result.
TALKING of getting a result, we’re going into again on the golf this week. We’re a week away from the Masters and the golfing world - the professionals, not us stay-at-home amateurs (arrrrggghhhhh!) - are getting excited. Who will Tiger be presenting the green jacket to this year - if not to himself?
That’s for next week, but this week it’s the Cyprus Showdown back at Aphrodite Hills near Paphos. It’s a different format with all the 32 players who make the cut starting back at level-par on the Saturday and the top 16 then repeating the dose on Sunday - again off levels. Golfers pacing themselves for a big Sunday? Interesting.
Catch Vinnie’s Three Off The Tee for both Cyprus and the Houston Open. Incidentally, good to see both Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka playing in Texas - and my spies tell me Brooks has been ripping it up in the gym. I reckon he’ll be good to handle those par fives at Memorial Park - all five of them!
Good luck all. Keep safe - and active. We might not be able to do the normal things, but walking costs nothing. Wrap up and get some fresh air - and if you want some inspiration and a few laughs then catch up on Twitter with my pal Mark Crossley. As @bignorms will tell you #walkingsbrilliant!
Vinnie’s best bets
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley BRIGHTON WIN
Southampton v Newcastle United DRAW
Everton v Manchester United MAN UTD WIN
Crystal Palace v Leeds LEEDS WIN
Chelsea v Sheffield United CHELSEA WIN
West Ham v Fulham WEST HAM WIN
West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur DRAW
Leicester v Wolverhampton Wanderers DRAW
Manchester City v Liverpool MAN CITY WIN
Arsenal v Aston Villa DRAW