People & Business: A `quite remarkable' chance for City punters

You, too, can dribble past Kevin Keegan, pop it on the head to Glenn Hoddle and scythe down Steve Coppell. Just ring Jane Oldfield on 0171 248 2424 and you can sign up for a celebrity footy match on Sunday 7 September which will have enough stars to satisfy the most imaginative of Fantasy Footballers.

There is a catch. The soccer tournament is in aid of the European Children's Trust, and the 30 places available for City players are being offered to firms or individuals at a minimum cost of pounds 1,000.

It's all for a good cause - the Trust raises money for Romanian orphanages, and is branching out to do similar work in Moldova and other parts of Eastern Europe.

As well as the famous footballers such as Ray Wilkins, players were include members of the EastEnders cast, led by "Michael", the manager of Albert Square's market, as played by Russell Floyd.

A league table will be compiled from the matches played, and some the action will be filmed by Sky TV. The venue is yet to be announced. If you simply want to make a donation phone 01273 299 333. Otherwise, ring the other number and give those boots an airing. "Quite remarkable," as they say.

Football seems to be everywhere now that the season has started again, and the money men aren't far behind. I hear that Newcastle United have signed up Alan Parker and his chums at Brunswick to spin the Magpies' story in the City. Watch out for mentions of Alan Shearer's ankle in market reports everywhere.

Malcolm Rifkind may not quite have realised what he walked into when he accepted the job as director of international strategy at global natural resources company BHP a fortnight ago. The former Foreign secretary was following a long line of former Tory ministers into oil companies of course, Michael Portillo and Tim Eggar and both involved in the extraction of Black Gold. But yesterday Pan Andean Resources, a mining and exploration company, reminded the world of its legal dust-up with BHP, along with its annual results.

Pan Andean referred back to exploratory drilling it carried out in Bolivia last year with BHP as partners. Pan Andean's share price sailed high as investor expectation grew that a big find was in store. Then rogue investor Evil Knievil struck. The man otherwise known as Simon Cawkwell phoned up BHP's office in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and asked how the drilling was going. An employee blurted out that the results were poor, pre-empting Pan Andean's own official statement to that effect. Mr Knievil then mercilessly shorted Pan Andean's stock.

Pan Andean said yesterday: "This leak has been the cause of ongoing friction with BHP. The entire matter is in the hands of our legal advisers."

Sounds nasty. Perhaps its time for some of Mr Rifkind's well-honed diplomatic skills to swing into action and effect a reconciliation? Or a settlement at least.

I hear that Bruce Gyngell, joint managing director of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees(YTT), is plotting his exit from the company following its take-over by Granada. This of course brings up the vexed question of a pay-off, and I understand that Mr Gyngell is currently negotiating a package which will include his existing pounds 870,000- worth of stock options in YTT plus one year's salary, or around pounds 320,000. Nice one, Bruce. He doesn't appear to have any new jobs in sight yet, and is just enjoying the summer in his cottage in Dorset.

Salomon Brothers have just faxed me 141 blank sheets of paper. What's behind this attempt to wipe out the remaining rainforests? "We've had a problem," says a Solomon spokesperson with admirable understatement. The computer which automatically sends out research circulars and the like went a bit mad. It was meant to send out just one page, a critique of Credit Suisse's results by Salomon banking analyst John D Leonard. Ah, the joys of new technology.

I hear that Janet Dyson is not leaving the European drugs research team at Merrill Lynch, contrary to what we said last week. It must be the heat. I'm on firmer ground I think when I say that Richard Sharp, 32, has returned to NatWest Markets as global head of Pan European Sales Trading from Merrill Lynch. He joined Merrills from what was then County NatWest in 1992, so he already knows the firm well.

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