Media: The Word On The Street

FORMER TREASURY spin supremo, Charlie Whelan, is getting into his stride as a football pundit for The Observer. On Hoddle: "Football fans don't give a monkey's if a manager or a player is religious, but we all get a little worried about born-again Christians". And on Fifa's proposals to make the World Cup every two years instead of the present every four: "It would mean the World Cup coming around twice as often." Perceptive stuff. And he certainly knows how to drop a hint. The Football Association's handling of the Hoddle affair, shows that "there is no bigger media job that needs doing than spin doctor to the new England manager."

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A BIG thank you to all our friends at Virgin Radio for their kind gift of an expensive Polartec fleece. And very smart it is too - blue with red trim and a discreet Virgin Radio logo. The splendid garment arrived on Thursday morning, just in time for us to pull it on and head down to the latest Rajar quarterly briefing, at which, we learnt, Virgin misplaced another 130,000 listeners. The arrival of the fleece and the Rajar results were "not connected" claimed a Virgin Radio press officer. Of course not.

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ON THE face of it, Scotland's already well-populated newspaper market needs a new title in the same way that Rangers require the services of a foreign striker. Nevertheless, a warm reception overall for the Sunday Herald. "Very bright, very colourful," says Magnus Linklater, former editor of The Scotsman. Ex-pats in London will have to take his word for it. The paper suspects dark forces behind the decision not to let the paper on to the plane which brings rival titles Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Post to the capital. "Nonsense," says a circulation type at DC Thomson, which controls the flight. "There simply isn't room for it." In the hold or on the newsstand?

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THE RON Davies affair has branded Clapham Common as a place of nefarious nocturnal goings-on. Worse still, the other habitues of the ex-Welsh Secretary's favoured pulling place have been disturbed in their doings by a film crew from C4 making a documentary for Cutting Edge. The programme is described as "an impressionistic portrait of the bleakly beautiful South London common ... a rare insight into the lives of cruisers, courting couples and drifters." The production manager describes it as a "jolly jaunt around the common". Which is very similar to what Mr Davies said.

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AT A recent Mirror editorial conference discussions centred on the newest batch of Delia Smith recipes. The first recipe due to be launched on a hungry public was for mashed potatoes. "Well that's no good," stated the deputy editor, weight-watching Tina Weaver, "everyone knows that no one eats potatoes any more."

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