What is it that makes the average multi-millionaire lose his business marbles? Football. One of those who is sinking his hard-earned profits into the glory game is Max Griggs, chairman of the family-owned Griggs group of companies, makers of the voguish, highly lucrative Doctor Martens boot.
Griggs's ambitions are arguably more modest than those of other tycoons - steel magnate Jack Walker at Blackburn Rovers, say, or publishing mogul John Madejski at Reading. He has eschewed the glamour of the major leagues and has instead booted some £5 million into his local Northamptonshire side, Rushden and Diamonds, currently lying second in the lesser-known Beazer Homes Midland League. Yet Griggs expects no return on his investment: 'As long as it doesn't hurt my family or company I'll do anything for the team,' he claims. 'It's a gift to the community and my employees.'
Griggs's benevolence does not stop there. Other, even smaller local teams have benefited from Doctor Martens sponsorship. Nor is his generosity confined to football. This year the stadium development that Griggs has built up around Rushden and Diamonds' home ground will play host to the 1994 Doctor Martens Open, a national bar-billiards tournament.
What is his cue? 'It's my pleasure,' he claims - coupled, of course, with publicity for the company, whose air-cushioned shoes should this year help the Griggs family's group of companies to a comfortable £30 million or so profit. The philosophical Griggs reflects: 'In the end all I'll have is a tombstone.'