Inside Lines: No trouble for versatile Mills, a leader much in demand
Sunday 20 January 2013
Is there a more in-demand figure in sport than the personable Sir Keith Mills? The man who invented Air Miles and the Nectar card, and was a driving force behind London 2012 as deputy chair to Lord Coe, is the Government's preferred choice to take over from the over-age David Bernstein this summer as chairman of the Football Association. But he is also linked with the same post at the Premier League which, too, will become vacant with the unmourned departure of the gaffe-prone Sir Dave Richards. Equally, the Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, would be happy to offer Mills the chair at UK Sport when Baroness Sue Campbell steps down. Coe is also leaning heavily on the business expertise of Mills in his own new capacity as chairman of the cash-strapped British Olympic Association, where the likelihood is that the under-fire chief executive, Andy Hunt, will shortly be replaced. Mills, 62, might fancy a football role, as he is a non-executive director at Tottenham Hotspur, but much will depend on how much time he wishes to devote to his sailing interests, which include an attempt to end the French domination of offshore racing by expanding and commercialising the Open 60 monohull class. It will be interesting to see which of his many cards canny Sir Keith plays.
Rooney goes whole hog
Now we know how Wayne Rooney gets his kicks. A motorcycle said to be designed by the Manchester United and England star is expected to fetch £40,000 to £60,000 when it is sold by Bonhams in aid of charity. The 2012 Lauge Jensen cruiser-style machine, custom-made by the Danish motorcycle manufacturer, will go under the hammer at an auction of sports memorabilia in Chester on 20 February, with proceeds going to KidsAid, a Danish charity. The diamond-encrusted roadster has an autographed No 10 United shirt mounted and lacquer-sealed on to the petrol tank, and a rear mudguard featuring artwork depicting Rooney's celebration of his spectacular Goal of the Season against Manchester City in 2011 that helped win the Premier League title. The striker, not noted for his loquacity, is quoted: "I was really excited to have the opportunity to be involved in the design, which takes its inspiration from the celebration of my overhead kick last season. The goal has been described by others as being of the highest quality and technical excellence, powerful and beautiful." Hmm. Maybe he should have used Sir Alex's hairdryer as the exhaust, as it all sounds a bit like hot air to us.
US boxing takes a hit
Muhammad Ali turned 71 on Thursday, and it was just as well the great man wasn't at London's York Hall that night to witness the shambles that US amateur boxing has become since his own Olympic heyday. The so-called United States Knockouts couldn't even field a full homegrown team to take on the high-riding British Lionhearts in the impressively staged World Series Boxing event. They included only two Americans, with a Frenchman, Irishman and Croatian making up the numbers. The Yanks, who so far haven't won a match, were duly spanked 5-0. So abysmal is fistic talent in the US that top promoters Golden Boy are over here to plunder the British market, unveiling the 2012 middleweight bronze-medal winner Anthony Ogogo as their first Olympian signing. Gold medallists Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell are tipped to follow. Last night Ogogo was a contestant in ITV's Splash!. The first boxer to take a dive before a fight?
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