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Alex Arthur, Cliff Richard, Terry Henry - don't be fooled by them; VIEW FROM THE SOFA.

Byline: Steve Palmer

Live boxing

ITV1, 11.20pm

ALEX ARTHUR - a man with two christian names - takes centre stage in Glasgow tonight.

Adopting a christian name as a surname has become all the rage among people looking to get on in the world.

Former Man United left-back Lee Martin started the trend a few years ago and various characters have followed suit.

They're doing so because most proper surnames are rubbish - Trotter for example - and people are opting for a dual christian name tactic to make themselves sound more attractive.

The barber I had as a kid used a 'stage name' of Barry John in an attempt to lure more customers. I can't remember what my dad told me his real name was, but the deceitful snipper had a sign on the front of his shop which read: "Barry John the Barber".

Barry John? Sounds like a man you can trust with scissors in hand, eh? Therein lies the benefits of a stage name.

I stopped going to Barry John because he talked too much. He would actually stop in the middle of cutting my hair, down his tools and spin some yarn for five minutes or so. Ruddy heck, I used to think - if I wanted a deep and meaningful, I would have rung the Samaritans - just cut the bleedin' hair will you?

Cliff Richard is another fraud using a stage name. His real name is Harry Webb.

Harry Webb wouldn't have sold 21m singles and gone on an incredible run of 23 consecutive top-ten hits.

If Harry Webb got up in the middle of a rain delay at Wimbledon and started crooning about mistletoe and wine, he would be told to sit back down. But Cliff Richard gets a rousing reception.

Plenty of modern sportsmen are playing the same game. Successful golfing duo Adam Scott and Luke Donald have dual-christian stage names.

Footballers are at it, too - John Terry, David James, Gareth Barry, Terry Henry...

Stage names boost image rights. It's a fickle world.

Live pool

Sky Sports Xtra, 10am

THE World Championship is taking place in Manila at the moment, but the action is nothing like that which takes place in British boozers.

Wu Chia-Ching and the rest of the pros don't have to worry about tipless cues and playing in a room which is only really big enough for a goldfish bowl.

Pub pool is a dangerous business. I was playing my mate in a juicer a few weeks ago and one of the regulars, severely inebriated, came up and demanded a game against me.

He was a poor player, but it was one of those games it was compulsory to lose or I would be beaten to death.

It went to the black, so I popped it over the pocket for him and put my cue back on the rack. But he still wasn't happy.

"You playing mind games, son?" he barked. "No," I replied.

"Why you putting your cue down then? I might miss."

My patience was wearing thin by that point and I said: "My grandmother could pot that, mate. And she's dead."

I scarpered while Mr Angry was busy potting the black.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 4, 2006
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