Jamie Oliver sparked a kerfuffle earlier this year when he suggested wife Jools didn’t ‘get’ his commitment to his work, and revealed he regularly received ‘a b******ing’ for not being at home enough.
He was a bit sulky about the situation then, but it seems the b******ings might have paid off. When I spoke to him this week he assured me — in a manner so spirited it was almost as if I were Jools’ best friend berating him — that he takes Friday afternoons off now and is only away ‘six weeks max’ a year.
“I understand her job is as hard and important as mine — more so,” he said. “But why do women need you to keep telling them that? Blokes just get on with it.”
It could, I gently suggested, have something to do with his achievements being heralded all over the world, and hers being kept secret behind closed doors. Or perhaps she just feels the pain of centuries of women being ignored or disregarded while keeping the whole damn planet going.
Mrs Alex Ferguson has no need for such concerns. Rather like Mrs Harry Redknapp, Mrs Fergie — or Cathy, as we all know her — is frequently credited, by the man himself, as the crucial element in all of his successes. Which is why it was Cathy, rather than David Beckham or Eric Cantona, who unveiled the statue of the great Man Utd titan at Old Trafford last week.
Fergie’s not just one of the greatest football managers who ever lived — he’s one of the canniest husbands.