With a name like Joseph Rubido, a working life which has taken in such places as poshest Cuckfield and even posher Bruton Place, W1, my friend Joe couldn’t be any other than the Gaelic Spaniard he claims to be.
He's well known to anybody who's ANYBODY on the British football circuit - and that includes the whole of Derby County, Brian Clough, Laurie McMenemy, Bob Stokoe and Joe Mercer to name but a few - and is no stranger to (Glow Worm boiler reps and licensees all over Derbyshire.
He's also the only Spaniard I’ve come across with a Cockney accent - and a penchant for buttered scones with his glass of Spanish el plonk.
There was I, discussing my spring Spanish holiday - for which, for the sceptics, I’m paying in the region of £200 - when up popped Joe, munching on a shortbread in beautiful down-town Warwick Avenue, and talking about plates o’meat and Bristol Cities in a delightful East End, North-West Spanish accent.
He’s remembered by all for his ten years in charge of the bars at Pontinental, Torremolinos.
He’s about to take over as commercial director of the nearby Bel Haven Sol Hotel, and was in Derby last week not just to fix up my two weeks in the sun, but to discuss business with the man who plucked him from the obscurity of barman in a London club, Sir Fred Pontin.
'I went to Pontinental before it was built,' he said, and was told on arrival there: 'You're our first guest - so sorry your room’s not ready.’
'It wasn't even constructed.'
He claims that he carried in every bed in the entire Pontinental One building.
So it was that Joe was in on those first cheap package holidays abroad from the beginning, holidays which catered tor the Britisher abroad and all that went with it.
'Thank God for the British sense of humour,' said Joe.
And he’d had plenty of time to study - and appreciate - that.
He name to England from North-West Spain over to years ago - following a mate, who returned to Spain after a few weeks.
'I began work as a waiter at a very historic hotel in Cuckfield,' he said. 'And soon became known as the Mayor of Cuckfield' - because I was more British than the British, I suppose,' he said.
After a few months, he felt the call of the big city, and moved to the Guinea Grill in Bruton Place, where, as well as the British aristocracy, he found such names as Bob Hope and Robert Ryan among his clients.
It was there, at Guinea that he was spotted by Sir Fred and shipped out to that most British of Continental resorts, the Pontinental, Torremolinos.
There, for this Cockney his Sparrow with a touch of the Spanish Dago, who rates British footballers, sense of humour, and buttered scones, amon the best in the world and who has dreams of retiring to rose-covered cottage in Sussex - the rest is history.
I look forward to meeting him on his home soil.
Derby Evening Telegraph, 17 March 1981
Image: Although the article doesn't specifically name Ockenden Hotel - as it was 'very historic' it most likely will be this one. But we are happy to be corrected - if it happens to be the Kings Head!
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.
Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details https://cuckfieldmuseum.org.