People & Business: Switch on, stump up for the great celestial football spectacular

Picture the scene: Tony Fraher of Singer & Friedlander, who is running the Alan Hansen-fronted football investment trust, is being interviewed by Japanese television for a documentary about the dawn of digital television.

The interviewer asks the ebullient Mr Fraher for his views on pay-per- view football. Mr Fraher replies that armchair fans should regard the planned electronic season ticket for such services as a "celestial turnstile".

Only investors can decide whether Mr Fraher's got his head in the clouds or if he's on a stairway to heaven.

The Man from the Pru is back - after being declared officially dead two years ago. The Prudential has woken up to the fact that, although it has not used the slogan about door-to-door salesmen in its advertising since 1978, an overwhelming majority of the public still think of the phrase first when the company is mentioned.

A new ad campaign kicks off this Friday with Sir Peter Davis, the company's portly chief executive, posing on television as "the man".

The company attempted to kill off the idea of residential collectors two years ago, when it declared that it was ending door-to-door collections for new business. Despite this, over 2,000 Pru collectors still quietly ply their trade on Britain's doorsteps.

"We want to get rid of the bike clips and trilby image, but keep the idea of the man from the Pru being friendly and helpful," a company spokesman says. "Now all 22,000 employees of the company will have to see themselves as the Man from the Pru. This will regain the confidence of the public in both the company and the industry.'' Brave words indeed, particularly for the female staff at the Pru.

The phrase was first coined in 1949 when the Illustrated Magazine ran a feature about a Mr Sawyer, a collector for the Pru who did his rounds in Hextable, Kent. The prospect of Sir Peter Davis pounding on my front door is certainly an intriguing one.

P&P, the computer services group named after co-founders Pete and Pam Fisher, is changing its moniker to Skillsgroup.

Has the company fallen out with the couple who launched the business, then? Pete Fisher still sits on the board and has a substantial stake in the business. "Not at all," says a Skillsgroup spokesperson. "We have three main brands, and the P&P brand now contributes only a third to company profits. We felt it was time to reflect this in the name of the company."

It still seems a bit odd. Companies usually change their name in an attempt to jettison associations with a less than successful past, whereas P&P's share price has risen from around 20p five years ago to 180p today.

Mr and Mrs Fisher launched the company in 1979 as a distributor of computers. They divorced in the late 1980s, and Pam Fisher went off to the US to run a graphics company. Pete, a former social worker, is still a non- executive director.

So Alan Shearer, the Newcastle striker who captains England against Italy at Wembley tonight, has signed up to promote Jaguar. The lucky sharpshooter gets a Jag XJ 4.0-litre saloon for his troubles. Commenting on the three- year agreement, the Tyneside maestro comments: "Jaguar represents for me the best of British." Strange, since it's owned by Ford of Detroit.

"I've also seen at first hand Jaguar's modern production lines and met their enthusiastic workforce," Mr Shearer adds. Until recently Jaguar's Coventry production lines were a byword for antiquity. Only since the unmentioned Americans intervened have things got better.

Yesterday's news that there are now over 80,000 millionaires in the UK did nothing for Keith Sharp's blood pressure. The journalist and author's fourth book, The Dreamer's Guide to Becoming a Millionaire, published 18 months ago, has done less well than his previous books, and sales are now plummeting.

"It's just incredible," fumes Mr Sharp. "I timed this book to coincide with the launch of the Lottery, but the number of copies sold has actually gone down over the last 10 months. I'd given up on the thing, then this report about a record number of millionaires comes out."

If any of you want to ease Mr Sharp's blood pressure, you can still buy the tome, published under the pseudonym James Matthison, for a mere pounds 5.95.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Admin Assistant

£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders