In fact even the word bull is enough to make me wince, following the consumption of record breaking quantities of beef, morning noon and night. It was getting to the point where vegetarianism was becoming appealing. "Wouldn't it be funny if we actually succeeded in putting you off beef," giggled one official. Hilarious, I replied, attempting to eat my 900th slice of steak after only two days of a five-day trip... Talking of beef, I can reveal why MLC marketing director Richard Lowe has been walking around with a wider smile than usual this week. Our Richard is an avid Stoke City fan and given the Midlands outfit won promotion to the First Division after beating Brentford in the play-off final in Cardiff last weekend, the huge grin is not surprising. Mind you, it also explains why our esteemed editor has also been smirking his way around the trade this week. He is also a lifelong Stoke fan and, as a result, has had to suffer much mickey-taking from contacts during the past few years. (Well, they're hardly Arsenal!) Mind you, the smiles faded a bit when they sacked the manager five days later. {{COUNTERPOINT }}

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