They love him in Los Angeles and Milan but Auckland, New Zealand, is less keen on the venerable David Beckham after an LA Galaxy match billed around him lost the Auckland Regional Council NZ$1.7 million (£630,000). The game was played there last December, shortly before Becks began his loan period with Milan, and the hoo-ha about who is to blame for the huge loss is now at full throttle. The local city council say they highlighted the financial risk and decided against underwriting the match, but the regional council recommended going ahead and have now admitted it was "a disaster", with revenue reaching less than half the break-even price after players such as Edgar Davids were hired for exorbitant fees to play for the "Oceania All Stars".
MLS 'don't need Becks'
As the former deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer who was intimately involved with Beckham's signing for the Galaxy two years ago, Arsenal's new chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, is in an interesting position to comment on the possibility of Becks staying at Milan rather than returning to California: "I've always said it's not the David Beckham League. If he were to leave, it wouldn't have a significant impact in setting the League back."
Staying up is Chiles play
The most extraordinary example yet of 'Match Of The Day' pundits prematurely promising clubs would be safe from relegation occurred last Sunday; so much so that it was presumably a well-intentioned joke. After a hopeless West Bromwich Albion were outplayed by Fulham to remain bottom of the table, Lee Dixon told the Baggies-supporting presenter Adrian Chiles: "They'll be OK." It was like hearing a parent console an upset child (or Chiles) by saying: "There, there, it's all right" when both know it isn't. Albion's manager, Tony Mowbray, announced in these pages last weekend that he prefers playing with his children to watching 'MOTD', which he hasn't done all season. A pity; he could have learnt something from Dixon's more serious analysis of the team's failure to "engage" opponents who had the ball (i.e. get anywhere near them).
Hot Toddi can save Iceland
Iceland's economy has collapsed and its government resigned, so who better to sort out the mess than, er, the former Stoke, Preston and Derby midfielder Thordur Gudjonsson? Nephew of the previous prime minister, Geir Haarde, and son of the Crewe manager, Gudjon Thordarson, "Toddi" is standing as an Independent Party candidate in elections later this month. "It's essential that new people with new ideas, untarnished by the economic crash, are given a chance," he said.
QPR's runway protest J
Jet-setters they may be, but Queens Park Rangers' owners Bernie Ecclestone (pictured) and Flavio Briatore should now be joining the protests against a third runway at Heathrow, which would cause the club's Harlington training ground to be covered in Tarmac. The noisy, windswept venue is rented from Imperial College and was previously used by Chelsea, whose superstars would from time to time find themselves turfed out the dressing rooms on a Wednesday when the students had a game to play.
s.tongue@ independent .co.uk