People and Business: pounds 35 billion team turns its attention to foot ball;

GOLDMAN SACHS has put to one side for the moment the question of whether to go ahead with a pounds 35bn float, and turned to more important matters: the World Cup. (If you think footie is a game played by morons and watched by cretins, skip this bit.)

The investment bank's London economic team has undertaken to predict the result of one big game each week throughout the tournament. The team have also published a highly entertaining 40-page circular "The World Cup and Economics", which links sporting success to national economic performance.

Diplomatically or cravenly, depending on your point of view, Jim O'Neill and his colleagues at Goldmans have avoided the Scots game today and instead gone for this Saturday's match, predicting: Spain 4, Nigeria 2.

So why did the economist's crystal ball fog over for the Scotland/Brazil result? A guilt-ridden Mr O'Neill confesses: "It's because I have such a soft spot for Dennis Law. I hope Scotland win. I'm a Manchester United fan, born and bred."

However, when pushed Mr O'Neill blurts out: "It could be five-nil to Brazil, two-all, or one-nil to Scotland.

"It's because we have such a global audience I shied away from it [the Scots game] I suppose," he adds.

I also notice that Tony Adams, that aging bulwark of the Arsenal defence, features in the Goldman Sachs "World Cup Dream Team". Can they be serious?

"There was a lot of internal protest at Tony Adams - but there are a number of Arsenal fans here," a shame-faced O'Neill Mr admitted. But don't blame chief economist and Islington resident Gavyn Davies - he's a Southampton fan.

And England? "Lucky to get through the second round." You read it here first.

OVER 800 staff at Co-operative Bank's call centres at Skelmersdale and Stockport will be able to see whether Mr O'Neill gets it right; the bank has installed huge TV screens in its offices, in a gesture which management admits is "bowing to the inevitable."

The bankers reckon that everybody in the country with any interest in sport whatsoever will be watching the match anyway, so staff might as well watch too - and be prepared for a post-match surge in phone calls.

David Dunlop, head of personal customer services, said: "We have to be aware of the various elements, such as wet weather and TV programmes like Coronation Street and Eastenders."

CONGRATULATIONS TO my pal and one-time skiing partner Tony Hobman who is taking over the reins as chief executive of Proshare, the campaigner for wider share ownership, on the departure of Gill Nott, the present incumbent.

Ms Nott will leave in April next year when she will have completed five years with the lobby group. Mother of two and married to a City solicitor, Ms Nott is anything but retiring. She is aiming to build on her already extensive portfolio of non-executive directorships, which includes Baronsmead Venture Capital Trust and the soon to be floated HW Group. She was formerly with BP.

Mr Hobman, aged 43, a fanatical Brighton and Hove Albion supporter and one-time marketing bod with Barclays Bank, joined Proshare two years ago as head of investor services. As such he runs Proshare's highly successful investment club scheme, which numbers nearly 2,500.

"I'm looking forward to it very much. Its a real opportunity to influence social and economic policy," says Tony. Not many captains of industry can claim to be doing that.

I'm sure Tony will be able to negotiate the twists and turns of City politics with the same flair that he brings to the black runs of the French Alps. (Just put the fiver in the post, Tone).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower