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A working class hero is something to be
Having worked with a host of big names, from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to O.J. Simpson, Simon Cowell, Jade Goody and, currently, Imogen Thomas, he is one of the best-known PR men in the world, famous for breaking some of the biggest stories in newspaper history – and also for successfully suppressing ones that were ready to dominate the headlines. But behind the high level jousting with the hardened bootboys of the British media (and the decent types too), Max Clifford is a remarkeably straightforward and down to earth working class character, who – as it turns out – loves the life he lives.
Olaf Tyaransen, 15 Jun 2011
Do you have any Irish clients?
No. I did have, there was a big Irish pension group, can’t even remember the name. There was a big golf complex down in southern Spain – we did PR for them about 15 years back.
I was thinking more about someone like Mark Feehily from Westlife. Did he go to you when he came out of the closet?
No. I mean, I know the boys because of Simon. I think I did briefly do some stuff with Johnny Logan about 80 years ago (smiles).
When he won the Eurovision?
Yeah, or just after that. You know, I’m sure you’ll leave and I’ll go, “Oh Christ, I forgot to mention...” I work with Irish people. One of the guys I did PR for was in Bombardier, they’re a big private jet company, Canadian, and one of their chairmen is Irish.
I notice that all of your office staff are female. Do you have any male staff?
No. I mean, I have had over the years, the odd guy. But I much prefer women. They’re lovely and loyal and they get results. So it all kind of works. I don’t have sex with any of them.
Hey, I didn’t ask!
Well, I’m just telling you.
Speaking of sex and sexuality, you’ve publicly advised any Premiership footballer who is gay or bisexual not to come out.
Yeah, and it’s not because of what I believe or what I think is right for them, it’s because I know that if they come out they’re finished. Which is wrong. And that’s what they believe and that’s how this country works. I’ve never approached anybody in my life for representation, never. For lots of reasons, but maybe (1) because I’m too proud, but (2) it gives you that control. If you’re coming to me, you do it my way, and if you don’t wish to, good luck to you but we can’t work together. And I don’t care if it’s Sinatra or whoever. You might be the greatest, but this game is mine. That way you’re in a much stronger position. A much nicer position, a better position. That’s what I believe and I said 10 years ago that hopefully in 10 years time, football will have moved on, but it hasn’t. It’s still in the dark ages and until the FA actually get involved… hopefully it will change sooner rather than later. But if you’re a gay footballer in the Premiership and you’re making £100,000 per week and you come to me and say, “What do you think?” I say, “Well, it’ll be a brave man that does it, and hopefully some day someone will, but I’d say that your career would virtually be over.” And that’s based on everything they tell me about the game, the dressing-room, the conversations, the terraces. I’m telling them what they’re telling me.