People & Business: Saracens show their new colours for BZW

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BZW has plunged into the muddy world of professional rugby by sponsoring Saracens this Sunday against the touring Queensland State of Australia.

The north London team will not be called Saracens, but Michael Lynagh's XV, as the former Australian captain leads his Sarries teammates, including Kyran Bracken and Phillipe Sella, in a unique game. For the first time in the club's 100-year history, the players will not appear in their own strip, but in BZW blue and white colours designed for the occasion.

The BZW logo will appear on the front and sides of the shirts, as well as the shorts, in any case anyone didn't get the message.

The sponsorship is the brain child of Nick Brigstock, chairman of BZW corporate banking, who is an old friend of Nigel Wray, chairman of the Burford property group and now owner of Saracens.

Mr Brigstock says: "I've known Nigel Wray for 15 years. He wanted sponsorship for the game, and since we're brokers and advisers to Burford, we were very happy to support him."

Mr Brigstock said the match at Enfield was a one-off. "BZW are not normally sponsors of events."

The former Labour Chancellor and co-founder of the Social Democrats, Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, was in expansive form yesterday at a pre-Budget speech at Mansion House in London.

Lord Jenkins praised the current inmate at Number 11 as a rather good Chancellor: "Clarke has more spunk and willingness to stand up for his beliefs than all the other ministers put together."

The former Chancellor recalled his own experience of pre-budget "purdah": "Secrecy was more an asset to the Chancellor than to the nation. It enabled him not to tell his Cabinet colleagues what he was doing until it was too late for them to object."

Lord Jenkins's advice for Mr Clarke is "no giveaways, but a touch on the brakes, both fiscal and monetary".

Lord Jenkins is now Chancellor of a different sort, that of Oxford University. As such, he has been closely involved with the project to build a new Oxford business school with a pounds 20m donation from Wafic Said. The donation was rejected by a meeting of dons but may be rescued by a postal vote.

All of which has come too late for Oxford Today, the university's magazine. Its Michaelmas issue, which has just arrived, devotes a page to the project: "Major benefactions boost Management Studies". It states that the proposed site is on some playing fields, "which are primarily used by university staff who will be provided with alternative facilities".

An illustration of the proposed building is captioned: "There are likely to be significant changes in the finished plans". If the postal vote is thumbs down, there won't be any plans at all.

Christopher King CBE, chairman-elect of Avon Rubber, is joining BOC's board as a non-executive director. Mr King, 60, spent 35 years with BP and retired as chairman of BP Europe two years ago. He retains a clutch of non-executive directorships with BP, and he is a board member of Insead, the leading French business school in Fountainebleu.

Today around 150 City types will witness a grisly murder. Charismatic tycoon Dr Raymond Black, chief executive of Black Pharmaceuticals, has called an EGM in London to persuade brokers, bankers, analysts and the media to help rescue his crumbling empire.

But the City slickers will watch horrified as Dr Black gets shot, stabbed, strangled and clubbed to death before falling down the biggest staircase in Europe.

Also attending will be co-founder of Black Pharmaceuticals, Professor Peter Plum, who helped diversify the group into Scarlett's Lingerie, Mustard Export, White Hotels and Peacock Interior Design.

It is, of course, a scaled-up game of Cluedo, being held in aid of the charity Children with Leukemia. KPMG Forensic Accounting will be on hand to lend authenticity to the skulduggery. I'll be the one with the lead pipe.