Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting me yet my name is James and I have the very great privilege of being the Best Man for Neil today. Well, I say great privilege actually I’m lying….but I’m not lying as much as Neil when he said there would be no speeches…that was like a knife in my back Neil…
Speaking of injuries, Neil and I have done many things together over the years but perhaps the time that sums up just what we mean to each other and just how our brains work, is when we both decided that jumping off a cliff in Thailand was by far the best way to impress a boatful of girls from Sweden. As we plummeted towards the sea and crumpled on impact, I like to think that for at least a moment they were impressed. However, for some reason with severely bruised faces and an inability to walk properly the girls didn’t seem interested.
But their loss was Ali’s gain. Soon Neil was back to his old self, walking properly and looking exactly as he had before, but despite this still he still managed to convince the beautiful Ali to go out with him. No cliff jump, no spinal compression, just Neil being Neil. I thought at the time he was batting way above his average and seven years later…I know he is batting way above his average. No seriously, I do.
Neil is a special friend and special friends deserve one thing: three stag dos. The weekends of Istanbul, London and Leeds will live long in the memory of not just those who went, but also those who read about us in the national papers. The mass chants of ‘feed the snake! Feed the snake!’ and the enduring company of our new best friend Bianca the stripper are, I have to say, completely unrelated. I would also like to say that for the record Brian accepts and welcomes people from every country around the globe. Almost.
Ladies and gentlemen Neil is an intelligent guy, and as some of you may already know the people with the biggest brains often get the most simple things in life wrong and never has this been more true than with my friend Neil. In an era when every kid supported Manchester United, he went for Norwich. He could have enjoyed multiple trophies and star studded squads. Instead he got Stephen Fry and a Delia Smith pitch invasion.
And then there’s his job working in ecommerce for the WWF. Duped into thinking he was going to be organizing the digital business end of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, no one was more surprised than Neil to discover it was more Pandas and hippos in distress than bulging biceps and technical elbows.. But on reflection…for some reason…he fitted right in.
But Neil’s working life hasn’t all been about teaching Pandas how to use cash points, it was in the workplace that he met his future wife. In life ladies and gentlemen it’s all about making the right choices. And in Ali Neil has made the best choice of his life…his worst was taking me on at karting but that’s another story.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what first attracted Neil to the beautiful daughter to one of the directors of the biggest investment firms on the planet? Well, that’s easy, he got lucky.
Of course Neil has now become part of the wider ***** family and there’s nothing a great big English southern softie wants more than anything in the world than a Scottish father in law. I know *** just how thrilled you are not just to have Neil as a son in law but also at the possibility that your future grandchildren can also support England. Neil is deeply appreciative of the kind, warm and sensitive approach that you have shown him over the years and never once has he felt scared, intimidated or vulnerable in your presence.
At this point I would like to say on behalf of my friend that his sincere love of deep fried food, occasional alcoholic over indulgence and dubious football skills practically qualify him for Scottish citizenship. He is, however, not very good at headbutts.
Ladies and gentlemen I have known Neil for 26 years and he’s been a friend through thick and thin. We’ve grown up together, laughed together and despite going our separate ways always remained great friends. And that’s because he’s a really good bloke. There can be no greater accolade to bestow on a friend than to say: he was the man that taught me the laws of cricket…actually that’s all he’s taught me.
Ali, I know you make Neil incredibly happy – you must do, he’s stopped dressing like a middle aged freak. But seriously, you both make a great couple and I know that he’ll already have the next few years planned out on spreadsheets but if you can fit me in I’ll look forward to spending a lot more happy times together.
Neil our friendship has stood the test of time and knowing what a great couple you both make I know yours will too. I couldn’t be happier for you both and I wish you all the luck in the world
Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom