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Lord Alan Sugar: a profile

Some choice quotes

  • "I've got a gut feeling in my stomach"
  • "You seem to have gone from anchor to wanker"
  • "Never ever try to underestimate me because you will be making a fatal, fatal error. I don't like liars, I don't like cheats
  • I don't like bullshitters, I don't like schmoozers, I don't like arselickers"
  • "There's only room for one big mouth in the organisation - and that's me!"
ThinkstockPhotos 97851387

"I don't like bullshitters, I don't like schmoozers and I don't like arselickers" - famous words of Alan Sugar, pugnacious founder of Amstrad and former Tottenham Hotspur chairman.

Lord Sugar, who was born in Hackney, London in 1947, was restless right from the start. In his formative years he moved from a 'proper job' as a civil service statistician to the 'Del Boy'-esque role of selling car aerials from the back of a van.

Unlike the hapless star of Only Fools and Horses, however, Alan Sugar did become a millionaire. Aged 21, he set up the electrical goods company Amstrad in 1968. Well placed to take advantage of the 1980s home computer boom, it sold affordable home computers and saw its stock peak at £1.2bn.
Sugar's knack for identifying the Next Big Thing saw him invest in satellite-receiving technology in the 1970s, and more recently, in property. Given the £830m personal fortune he has amassed, it's no wonder he thinks that "once you decide to work for yourself, you never go back to work for somebody else".

The accounts were swollen by £100k in 2001, when Sugar beat the Daily Mail in a libel case he launched after the paper called him "miserly". The usually caustic Sugar was reported to have shed tears during the case - but no reporter dared to call him a big girl's blouse for fear of further court action.

Sugar has reasserted his ruthless image in the successful BBC2 programme The Apprentice. Whittling down 16 contestants according to success at various business tasks, he revels in firing people at whim, without fear of employment tribunals.

Sugar has reasserted his ruthless image in the successful BBC2 programme The Apprentice

Sir Alan sold his remaining shares in Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. In typically acerbic fashion he described his time as chairman of the north London football club as "a waste of my life", which must be galling given he was there for a whole decade, from 1991 to 2001.

Footballers, he once said, are "the biggest scum that walk the planet." Bigger scum even than journalists?

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