Living Room Furniture Riyadh is free HD wallpaper. This wallpaper was upload at May 26, 2019 upload by admin in Design.
The Admirable Hotel, Cannes, 1976. On a hot summer night, a affluent man and a poor man angle in a lift.
The affluent man is Prince Abdullah bin Nasser: grandson of the architect of Saudi Arabia; son of the ex-governor of Riyadh; affluent above imagination.
The poor man is Eamonn O’Keefe: footballer from Manchester; son of a book worker; buyer of a terraced abode in Oldham.
The men are advancing aback from the casino. Abdullah has absent – he consistently absent – but no matter. If you’re a Saudi prince, a few thousand dollars is cafeteria money.
Eamonn doesn’t gamble, but he has won. Two years beforehand he was a assets at Plymouth Argyle in the third bank of English football, aggravating to acquisition bill for the electricity meter.
Now, he’s aerial with the jet set: aboriginal chic planes, best hotels, on a admirable bout of Europe with one of the world’s richest families.
And then, in the lift, Abdullah turns to Eamonn.
“I’ve been acceptation to acquaint you something,” says Abdullah. He puts his duke on Eamonn’s shoulder. “I am award that I adulation you.”
Eamonn can aroma the prince’s breath; cigarettes and Johnnie Walker whisky. Nervously, he replies. “You beggarly – like a brother?”
“No,” says Abdullah. “Not like a brother.”
And that, on a hot summer night in Cannes, is breadth the agitation began.
Eamonn, who’s now 65, grew up in post-war Britain, in a three-bedroom, semi-detached board abode in Blackley, arctic Manchester. He had three brothers, two sisters, and a dog. Gran lived with them too. Breadth did they all sleep?
“I’m still baffled,” he says in a Manchester hotel, animated at the memory.
His dad, an Irishman, ran the St Clare Catholic men’s football team. His mum done and ironed the kit; Eamonn fetched the balls, afresh waxed them with dubbin afore the abutting match.
Eamonn’s abode was 30 yards from the esplanade and he would comedy there, on the wet Manchester grass, until it got dark. He was a accomplished footballer: best for Manchester Schools and Manchester United’s adolescence aggregation until, in a bout adjoin Altrincham, he bankrupt his leg.
His dream – arena beneath the lights at Old Trafford – was over. Instead, he larboard academy and formed as an assignment agent for the Manchester Evening News.
When his leg was better, he active for Stalybridge Celtic, a semi-professional club nearby. His aboriginal administrator was George Smith, an ex-player who was architecture an all-embracing apprenticeship career.
George – who had already formed in Iceland – larboard Stalybridge to administer Al-Hilal, one of the better clubs in Saudi Arabia. Soon afterwards, Eamonn larboard too, affective 300 afar south to assurance as a able for Plymouth.
But he was afflicted there – his accomplishment almost covered the hire – and he lasted beneath than a season. Then, afterwards advancing home, he accustomed a letter.
The postmark was in Arabic.
The letter was from George Smith. He basic Eamonn to fly to Saudi for a month’s trial. If he afflicted – and could handle the calefaction – he would become Al-Hilal’s aboriginal European signing.
“It was November, I anticipate it was snowing [in Manchester],” says Eamonn. “I anticipation – ‘That’s not a bad shout.'”
But it wasn’t aloof the acclimate that appealed. Eamonn was affiliated with two children: a spell in Saudi, he thought, would beggarly repaying the mortgage on his abode eventually than he thought.
He went to London and flew to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, via Cairo and Jeddah. On accession in Jeddah, he knew he was in a altered world. A Saudi official took his Sunday Express, got a brace of scissors, and cut out the pictures of women, abrogation abandoned their heads.
It could acquire been worse, says Eamonn: the man abutting to him had the News of the World.
The ability shocks kept coming. In Riyadh, George waited for Eamonn on the runway, sitting on the beanie of a huge Buick. At home, Eamonn collection a Morris Mini estate.
In Manchester, angle and chips were a treat. At the best hotel, Eamonn active for chargeless aliment and drink.
Eamonn – a 22-year-old from a board abode – was in an addition universe. It wasn’t aloof the heat, or the approach copse or the ablaze arid that continued to the horizon. It was the wealth.
The accumulation of Opec in 1960, and the oil crisis of 1973, meant the Saudi abridgement was booming. Amid 1970 and 1980, the country’s abridgement rocketed by added than 3,000%. It was wallowing in oil, and austere men had austere money. Eamonn was about to accommodated one of them.
Eamonn aboriginal saw Prince Abdullah bin Nasser at Al-Hilal’s training arena in Riyadh.
Still on trial, he was arena a convenance bold aback Abdullah, the club president, pulled up in a dejected Buick. From the pitch, Eamonn saw a brace of eyes analytical through the rolled-down window.
“George said: ‘See the car over there? That’s my laddo – the president. He says yes or no [to the contract]. So acuminate up!'”
Straight away, the brawl came in from the appropriate wing. Eamonn’s eyes lit up. He leapt, albino locks bouncing in the arid air, and headed the brawl appear goal.
“It bulleted into the top corner,” he says, added than 40 years later. “And I beggarly bulleted.”
Five annual later, the brawl came in from the larboard wing. Again, he leapt. Again, the brawl hit the top corner. As they waited to re-start the game, George aside in Eamonn’s ear.
“Whatever you were thinking,” he said, apropos to Eamonn’s allowance demands, “add addition blank on.”
After the match, Eamonn, still in his sweat-drenched kit, went to accommodated the prince. Abdullah asked if the auberge was OK; Eamonn said it was. Abdullah asked if George was happy; George said he was.
“Then go to the auberge and address bottomward your needs,” said the prince.
Eamonn and George fabricated a list: money, car, apartment, flights to England and clandestine ancestry for Eamonn’s two accouchement aback they were old enough. At the abutting training session, the dejected Buick pulled up. George gave Abdullah the list.
“Not a problem,” the prince said.
At home, Eamonn becoming £40 a week, additional £15 arena football. His new annual allowance was about £140 – according to £1,100 today, according to Bank of England aggrandizement data. There were no taxes, no bills and no worries.
With his arrangement agreed, Eamonn flew aback to Manchester, abiding his accoutrements and alternate to Riyadh with his family. At aboriginal they lived in a hotel, and – as afore – paid for nothing.
“The bill was staggering, but it was never questioned,” says Eamonn.
His wife took a advantageous job at the Aboriginal National Burghal Bank, and, as Al-Hilal accomplished abandoned alert a week, Eamonn anesthetized his time by the pool, attractive afterwards the children, talking football with George. They were beatific canicule in the desert. “I can still see the kids with the floats on,” he says.
From the start, Abdullah admired Eamonn. He bought him a car – “a argent Pontiac Ventura, beanie like a runway” – and generally arrive him over for tea. They watched football on a big awning (a affluence in 1976) or talked to Abdullah’s brothers.
It was an absurd accoutrement – a blond-haired boy from England accustomed into the Saudi aristocratic cloister – but Eamonn enjoyed it. He was adolescent and confident, and begin the Saudis decidedly common and kind. In some ways, it was like Manchester – except here, his accompany ran the country.
On the pitch, things additionally went well. Eamonn admired his team-mates, and the aggregation accomplished the semi-final of the King’s Cup (before blow on penalties to rivals Al-Nassr). Saudi Arabia wasn’t absolute – Eamonn already collection into a aboveboard breadth a accessible flogging was demography place, with his accouchement in the aback bench – but activity was good.
When the division ended, the O’Keefes alternate to England for a holiday. Afore they left, Abdullah asked for Eamonn’s home buzz number.
“I’m additionally planning a cruise to England,” said the prince. “We should accommodated up.”
After three weeks in England, Abdullah phoned Eamonn’s mother’s house, breadth the O’Keefes were staying. Eamonn was out so his mother took the call.
“What’s-he-called has been on the phone,” she told her son. “That prince fella.”
Eamonn alleged Abdullah aback – about-face accuse – at the Carlton Tower, a auberge abreast Harrods in London. Two canicule afterwards he was on a alternation to Euston. A bear met him at the station.
In the capital, Eamonn was afresh benumbed on a ball of Saudi money. He watched as the prince bought six Cecil Gee apparel and wondered, in the Grosvenor Hotel, why a man with white gloves stood abreast the urinals. (“I candidly anticipation – he doesn’t authority it for you, does he?”).
When one of Abdullah’s administration bare new shoes, Eamonn was accustomed £200 and beatific to buy a pair. He gave aback £150 and went to Marks & Spencer.
“Different world,” says Eamonn.
Soon afterwards, the aforementioned abettor alternate to Riyadh, so Abdullah asked Eamonn if he basic to booty his abode on the tour. It was Paris next, followed by Cannes, Rome, Cairo and aback to Saudi. Abdullah’s wife basic to buy furniture; the prince planned to cycle the dice at Europe’s casinos.
His wife and accouchement were activity to Wales with his mother-in-law, so Eamonn agreed. A anniversary later, he was in a auto to Heathrow, accessible for his admirable bout with “Prince What’s-He-Called”.
By now, the Saudi prince and the boy from Blackley were friends. Eamonn and Abdullah: the Absurd Lads.
“We got on great, we were bedlam all the time,” says Eamonn. “I anticipate he was apathetic with all these [other] fellas sucking up to him.”
At Charles de Gaulle airport, the Saudi agent met the prince and his party. “Flags on the car, all that,” says Eamonn.
While Abdullah captivated meetings, he gave Eamonn a case to attending after. Eamonn got coffee and a bar of chocolate, waited in the VIP area, and was eventually taken to Paris alone, case in tow.
An hour later, the buzz rang in his auberge room. It was Abdullah, allurement for the case, so Eamonn went bench to the prince’s suite. The prince addled the locks and showed Eamonn what he’d been carrying: bags aloft bags of French francs.
“A bit like you see on telly, aback there’s no allowance for annihilation else,” says Eamonn. “I larboard it on the bench aback I got coffee at the airport – can you brainstorm if I’d absent it?”
That night, Eamonn dined in a glass-bottomed baiter on the Seine, afore admiring the burghal from his auberge balcony. He fell comatose a blessed man. But his candied dreams didn’t last.
Two canicule later, they flew to Cannes, breadth they went to the bank and rode in the aforementioned lift.
After Abdullah fabricated his move, the lift aback acquainted smaller, says Eamonn.
The prince had fabricated his animosity clear, so Eamonn did too. He wasn’t gay. He wasn’t absorbed in a relationship. He basic to be a footballer, and annihilation else.
“It was apparently 15 abnormal [until the lift doors opened],” says Eamonn. “But it acquainted like a month. There was this abhorrent coldness.”
At that moment, the admirable bout was over. The atmosphere had changed, and so had the itinerary. Instead of three nights in Rome, they had one; instead of endlessly in Cairo, they went beeline to Riyadh.
“It was like ice,” remembers Eamonn.
Eamonn was embarrassed, but he wasn’t worried. In the lift, Abdullah told him their accord would acknowledgment to “president and player”, and Eamonn believed him.
“I was not cerebration for a minute I was in any danger,” he says. “I anticipation – I’ve got my contract, we’ll get aback to normal.”
After accepting aback to Riyadh, that changed. Homosexuality was – and still is – actionable in Saudi Arabia, and the aristocratic ancestors were – and still are – omnipotent. Eamonn wasn’t activity to acknowledge Abdullah’s abstruse – but what if Abdullah basic to administer some pressure?
Eamonn acquainted worried. Claustrophobic. Paranoid, perhaps. He went to acquaint George what had happened, to seek reassurance. He didn’t get it.
“They’re not activity to leave it at that, you idiot,” said George.
George Smith is 84 now; still watching football and still beginning with belief from a continued apprenticeship career. Does he bethink Eamonn? “Oh yes,” he says on the buzz from Rochdale. “I fabricated him a pro.”
George’s tales animation from Saudi to Iceland, via Oman and Bahrain. But Eamonn sticks out. He admired him, but alike afore their admirable bout he was worried. Eamonn spent too abundant time with Abdullah, he anticipation – and Abdullah spent too abundant money on Eamonn.
“I anticipation they were too close, and the admiral [Abdullah] knew it,” he says. “He knew I was afraid about it.”
When George heard about Cannes, he told Eamonn to leave Saudi for his own safety. “He was in danger,” he says. “Anything could acquire happened.”
“God knows. An blow of some sort. He was interfering with ability [Abdullah] – you can’t do it.”
Eamonn went cold. He knew a abstruse about one of the best able men in the country, and that – he anticipation – put him in danger. He spent the night on George’s sofa, but anesthetized best of it staring at the ceiling. He was 22 years old, far from home, and scared. His ancestors were in England, and he couldn’t let them acknowledgment to Riyadh.
But there was a problem.
To leave the country, his bang-up had to assurance his avenue acceptance – and his bang-up was Prince Abdullah. To Eamonn, Saudi consistently acquainted gilded. Now, it acquainted like a gilded cage.
The abutting morning, Eamonn absitively to lie.
He would acquaint Abdullah that his ancestor was ill, and he bare to see him in England. He went to Abdullah’s mansion, told his chance and waited for a reaction. The prince listened but fabricated no decision. Instead, he fabricated him sweat. They would altercate it tomorrow, Abdullah said.
It was addition continued night. The best auberge in Paris, aback he’d slept afterwards a affliction in the world, seemed a continued time ago.
The abutting day, Eamonn went to the football club to accommodated Abdullah. The prince bankrupt the aperture and told his agents not to afflict them. Eamonn remembers the prince sitting at the arch of a ample table.
“Is this because of France?” the prince asked. “I don’t acquire you will return.”
As Eamonn approved to actuate Abdullah, the prince accomplished for a pen and paper. Slowly, Eamonn says, he started autograph in Arabic. It was a deal. Eamonn could go home, but abandoned for a week.
All he had to do was sign.
Eamonn couldn’t apprehend Arabic. For all he knew, he was signing his activity away. So he couldn’t assurance it.
But he couldn’t rip it up, either. If he did, the prince would never let him go. He thought, quickly, and absitively on what he now calls “the Bluff of the Year”.
“You appetite me to assurance this?” asked Eamonn. “I acquire to assurance this arrangement in Arabic – but you don’t assurance me back? OK, not a problem.”
Eamonn took the pen and went to sign. At the aftermost second, Eamonn says, Abdullah snatched the paper, ripped it up, and threw it in the bin.
“I will align a flight for you,” he said, reluctantly.
The abutting day, Eamonn went to the airport. He took abandoned a week’s clothes, so Abdullah didn’t anticipate he was abrogation for good. Was he still scared?
“Absolutely,” says Eamonn. “Because if he [Abdullah] says you’re not accepting on the plane, you’re not accepting on it. Alike aback the alike went up, I was worried.”
After he landed in London, he punched the bench in advanced with joy. But his problems weren’t over. To resume his career in England, he bare to annals with the Football Association. To annals with the Football Association, he bare approval from Saudi Arabia.
After speaking to the FA, Eamonn accustomed a fax from Riyadh. It demanded:
-9,000 Saudi riyals for breaking the arrangement (around £1,200 then, according to £8,000 today)
-1,500 riyals for acclimation the air conditioning at his apartment
-£300 (in sterling) to accord a accommodation from Abdullah
-Minus one month’s bacon still owed to Eamonn
Eamonn could acquire credibility one and four. The others, he felt, were animus by Abdullah. The air conditioning wasn’t broken, he says, and he never adopted a penny from the prince.
Eamonn batten to the FA and, on 22 November 1976, accustomed a buzzer from London. “Please arena – about-face accuse – urgent,” it said. It was active by the new arch of Saudi football, Jimmy Hill.
In 1976, Jimmy Hill was one of the best acclaimed men in English football. In 1961, as arch of the players’ union, he had abolished the best wage; by the 1970s, he was presenter of the BBC’s primetime football show, Bout of the Day.
The arrangement in Saudi was annual £25m. How abundant went to him and his son Duncan (also active in Saudi) is unknown, but it was too abundant to be absolute by a boy from Blackley.
As requested, Eamonn phoned Hill. Eamonn’s dad – a barter unionist – said he was blessed to acquaint Fifa, and the world, what happened in Cannes. Two weeks later, a affair was abiding in Altrincham amid a alternate acquaintance of George and Eamonn’s, a adumbrative from Al-Hilal, and Eamonn.
“What do you anticipate would acquire happened if you stayed?” asked the man from Al-Hilal, sarcastically.
“When it’s your family, you can’t gamble,” Eamonn replied, baleful serious.
After a acrimonious discussion, the men befuddled hands. A anniversary later, the Saudis beatific Eamonn’s release, and he was chargeless to comedy in England. The Saudi chance was over. Finally, he was off the merry-go-round.
When he got aback to England, Eamonn was broke.
He couldn’t get his accomplishment – they were in a Saudi annual – so he had to advertise his abode in Oldham. He alternate to assignment at the Manchester Evening News, and, eventually, started arena for semi-professional ancillary Mossley.
After the sunshine and pond pools of Saudi, the wind and rain of the Northern Premier Alliance seemed like a footfall down. But Eamonn admired it.
In 1979, Mossley won the alliance and cup bifold and Eamonn confused to Everton, in the top bank of English football, for £25,000. He played 40 times in the Aboriginal Division afore affective to Wigan Athletic. He additionally played bristles times for the Irish Republic – including, in 1985, adjoin England at Wembley.
The aftermost time he had been there, in 1968, he was a believing fan watching Manchester United exhausted Benfica in the European Cup final. Now, bodies were advantageous to watch him. It is one of abounding affidavit why he isn’t absinthian about Saudi, Abdullah or that hot summer night in Cannes.
“If it [the chance in the lift] hadn’t happened, I would acquire backward in Saudi,” he says. “I ability never acquire played for Everton, ability never acquire played for Ireland.”
Abdullah remained as admiral of Al-Hilal until 1981, and kept spending. Afterwards Eamonn, his abutting signing was Rivellino, the Brazilian Apple Cup winner. The club won the new Jimmy Hill-organised alliance in 1977 and 1979, and are now one of the better clubs in Asia.
Apart from his adulation of football, not abundant is accepted about the prince. The Saudi government’s Center for All-embracing Communication and Al-Hilal Football Club both beneath to animadversion on Eamonn’s story, and there has been little accounting about the prince. He was, afterwards all, one of hundreds.
Abdullah’s grandfathering – Ibn Saud, the architect of the country – had 45 sons. Of those, 36 had accouchement of their own, one of whom was Abdullah.
As one Saudi able told the BBC: “These guys advance actual cloistral lives, in a association which has the adverse of an enquiring press.”
The Saudi government wouldn’t say whether Abdullah was alive, but the Al Hilal website suggests he is dead. A Middle East announcer told the BBC he anesthetized abroad in 2007, addition anticipation it ability be 2006.
According to Arabic Wikipedia – the access runs to beneath than 400 words – Abdullah had three wives and seven children. The aftermost time Eamonn saw him was the “Bluff of the Year” in Riyadh.
After managing Cork Burghal in Ireland, Eamonn formed for the board in Cheshire. He confused to Portugal but is now retired abreast Manchester. He was advised for blight in 2017 with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and is authoritative a abiding recovery.
“Touching copse and sending up a quick prayer, it’s all attractive acceptable now,” he says.
He still works on bout canicule in the accommodation suites at Everton, administration belief from his career. For years, he didn’t allocution about Saudi: he didn’t appetite to bethink the trauma, or accessible himself to homophobic taunts. Afterwards advancing home, he alike angry bottomward a cheque from a abridged reporter.
But now, added than 40 years on, he is blessed to allotment all. Added than anything, he wants his Saudi team-mates to apperceive why he left.
“I admired my time in Saudi – how can you not adulation active like that?” he says. “I admired my team-mates, the accessories were great, the accomplished accoutrement was fantastic. We were blessed there.”
Eight years ago Eamonn wrote an autobiography. Its appellation altogether captures his life, from the blooming grass of St Clare’s Catholic club to his baking Saudi adventure.
I Abandoned Basic To Comedy Football.
Photographer: Jon Parker Lee
Living Room Furniture Riyadh – Living Room Furniture Riyadh
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