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it must have seemed such a good idea at the time; James Caan of 'Dragon's Den' fame is a fervent Chelsea fan, so he decided to send the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, and his girlfriend a Valentine's Day gift of a gold-plated iPod each. Bad luck, then, that their arrival coincided with the suspicious death of the Georgian oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili – strangely, the Abramovich household did not seem keen on accepting mysterious parcels. Unfortunate timing too for Tom Hicks as rumours grow that he is bailing out of Liverpool for big bucks; the American co-owner is due to appear at a football conference where one of the topics scheduled for debate is: "What is the motivation for owning a football club?"

83

Number of steps that Ian Botham refused to climb to the Sky commentary box perched 100ft in the air at Seddon Park, Hamilton, for the second NZ v England one-dayer. "I do not do heights," said Sir Ian. And this from a man who crossed the Alps...

Gratuitous poll of the week

More valentine's day bad news, this time for fans' Wags; a poll of 1,700 supporters nationwide indicated that 76 per cent would choose their club over their partner if they had to lose one or the other; 85 per cent would rather watch their club than go on a Valentine's date; and 42 per cent would find it more hurtful to watch their club lose to arch-rivals in the FA Cup than to discover their partner had cheated on them with their best friend. Strictly no tittering about being up for the Cup, please.

Good week for

Damian Foxall, Irish sailor, won the two-handed Barcelona World Race with Jean-Pierre Dick of France... Adam Gilchrist, signed off his last appearance for Australia at his Waca home ground in Perth with a century... and Jordan Whiley, 15-year-old from Warwickshire, won the Sion Indoor Wheelchair Tennis tournament, beating three top-25 players on the way.

Bad week for

Alberto Contador, winner of 2007 Tour de France, after his Astana team were banned from this year's race... Beijing Olympics, need new artistic adviser after Steven Spielberg resigned over China's record on Darfur... UK Athletics, forced to select drug cheat Dwain Chambers to run in World Indoor Championships... and David Tierney, 17, amateur jockey warned off racing for two years for riding a "ringer" in two point-to-points.

Carbon culprits of the week

David Beckham's carbon footprint is a whopping 163 tons of CO2 a year, according to the environmental group Carbon Trust, compared with the average Englishman's 9.4, but NBA star Shaquille O'Neal (real footprint: size 22) is hot on his heels. According to papers filed in his divorce case, Shaq's monthly expenditure includes $1,500 (£760) for cable TV, $17,000 for clothes, $22,000 for maid service, $110,000 for holidays and $23,000 for petrol, which in America buys you 200 gallons a day. So if Beckham runs out of fuel while tootling around LA in one of his 15 cars, he knows who to call.

s.redfern@independent.co.uk

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