sport news Stan Bowles and Don Shanks led thrilling lives but Stan's Alzheimer's battle ...

Don Shanks is reminiscing about his debaucherous days with his great mate Stan Bowles. 'We had a few episodes where stuff happened and we somehow managed to get out of it,' smiles Shanks. It is an almighty understatement.

The QPR team-mates were inseparable in the Seventies - sharing a flat and, on more than one occasion, a prison cell. 'The Belgium one was my fault,' begins Shanks, about a pre-season escapade.

'We had been out and came back to the hotel and the bar was closed. I said to Stan, "I bet you a fiver I can get a brandy", then I collapsed on the floor. The waiter came running out and Stan said, "Quick, get him a brandy". He did, I drank it and got up! We started laughing and went to the room. But the fella didn't see the funny side of it…'

Stan Bowles (left) and Don Shanks (right) lived live to the full during their playing days

Stan Bowles (left) and Don Shanks (right) lived live to the full during their playing days

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Shanks (pictured) has relived the debaucherous days he spent with great friend Bowles

Shanks (pictured) has relived the debaucherous days he spent with great friend Bowles

Unbeknown to the two footballers, the waiter had called an ambulance when Shanks collapsed and it is a criminal offence in Belgium to waste the time of the emergency service.

'Armed police came up to our rooms with dogs,' says the 68-year-old. 'We didn't know what we had done. We got taken down to the station and got smashed up, got a bit of a beating. We were in the cells for a few hours and then eventually got sent back to the hotel. Stan got a grand off a paper to tell his story!'

The other time they shared a cell was closer to home - London's Snow Hill to be precise. As the tale goes, Bowles had borrowed a van from a friend to take him and Shanks to Hackney Wick to watch the dogs.

However, after stopping off at a Wimpy on their way home, the duo got more than the burger they bargained for. 'I put the key in the van and they came out, six of them - it was the Flying Squad!' explains Shanks. 'I was lying on the road with a gun against my head on the floor. Then Stan came out and they grabbed him as well.

'I had no idea what was going on. I said, "Do you think we are robbing a f****** bank here?" He said, "Yes". It turned out the van had been used for a bank robbery in Manchester!'

Shanks and Bowles were charged and the case went to court before it was eventually dismissed. 'Stan got another couple of grand out of the papers for his story,' adds Shanks, who got his own turn in the limelight when he started dating the reigning Miss World.

His relationship with Mary Stavin began after Bowles wagered £100 on Shanks not being able to pull her. But it ended when a certain George Best started an affair with the Swedish queen, leading to a fight in a London hotel.

'Yes, me and Georgie had a confrontation about the sleeping arrangements for the evening,' grins Shanks. 'We had a bit of a fight in the hotel foyer. Nothing too dangerous. It is one of those things, it happens to everybody in life.

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'It just so happened to be Miss World, it just so happened to be George Best and it just so happened to be in every paper for every day for six f****** weeks!'

If that was embarrassing for Shanks, it was nothing compared to Bowles' appearance on Superstars, the iconic BBC programme, which pitted elite athletes against each other over a variety of sports.

With Shanks acting as the England international's 'manager', the pair spent the night before the competition sinking large brandies in the hotel with fellow hell-raiser James Hunt, the 1976 Formula One world champion.

Former full back Shanks on a night out in 1980 with former Miss World Mary Stavin (left)

Former full back Shanks on a night out in 1980 with former Miss World Mary Stavin (left)

The next day was a write-off and has gone down in legend. 'Everything Stan did was a disaster,' says Shanks. 'He went into the swimming but he can't swim. He did his back in doing the weightlifting. In the canoeing, he capsized. He shot the table in the shooting.'

Bowles set a new record for the lowest points ever scored on Superstars – seven out of a possible 80. 'Afterwards, I said to the woman who invited Stan on, "We didn't do enough training but we will be spot on for next year". She said, "There won't be a next year".'

Shanks never tires of sharing such stories, particularly as he is the only one of the two who still can.

In Bowles' book, he says of Shanks: 'If the two of us had never hooked up we might both have had a bit more money but never would we have had as much fun. I wouldn't swap those memories for all the tea in China.'

But sadly for Bowles those memories have now gone, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease aged 66 in 2015.

'People always ask, "Do you think he remembers you?", but the truth is you don't really know,' admits a more sombre Shanks. 'You think about a half of football, well sitting there with Stan is the hardest 45 minutes of your life. There is very little communication. There are no sentences. It is mono-syllabic.'

Last summer, Bowles, now 72, was moved into full-time care. He had become too difficult for his daughter Andrea to look after on

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