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The Grouch 03/09/2010

Our hero gets set to meet the Evening Standard; Salford waves goodbye to £1.5m; football talent agency goes bust and The Grouch takes one from the team.

Published on September 3rd 2010.

The Grouch 03/09/2010

Salford v London, round 396
The Evening Standard of Big London is sending one of its hacks up to Salford tomorrow morning, presumably to pen another BBC piece. Part of the day includes a date with The Grouch before said journalist sets off to explore the Quays and the area around the MediaCity site. It will be interesting to see what the result of his voyage is – this is, allegedly, the first time the writer has been to Manchester and Salford. We’ll report on his report and let you know if the line is slightly more sympathetic than the last piece written by the Standard’s Sebastian Shakespeare, who lazily peddled the ‘grim up North’ cliché and called the BBC move a ‘charade’ and a ‘sop’. Who knows, maybe the London media will actually surprise us and give another city some credit?

Salford’s million-pound council tax write-off
Salford City Council has written off £1.2m of council tax debts for the last financial year, according to a recent report to one of its many committees. The council has also written off more than £250,000 of business rate debts it was unable to collect, and £75,000 of ‘irrecoverable benefit overpayment debts.’

You’ve got to have sympathy with the council on this one but it’s doubly galling when the cash for public services is already under strain. No doubt the same people who haven’t paid their council tax will be the first ones to whinge when the services they take for granted start to disappear. At least there’ll be no benefit overpayments to write off in the coming years. Mostly because there’ll be no benefits.

Soccer talent firm cries foul
Cheshire-based football talent agency Kickworldwide Ltd has gone into administration. The firm had established the reality TV talent search show Soccer Prince with Freemantle Media, which was broadcast in China, India and Vietnam and offered the winner a chance to train with a Premier League club for a year.

It also ran diploma courses to create the next generation of referees, coaches, sports scientists, turf technicians and commercial football industry professionals.

It was set up by Steve Bellis, former commercial director at Stockport County Football Club and appointed former FA chief executive Brian Barwick as its chairman in October. The Grouch called the administrator, Mark Goldstein Associates, several times and left several messages, none of which were returned.

Confidential office in gun crime drama
It seemed like a good idea at the time. When PR firm Mason Williams delivered two Nerf guns to The Grouch, he was excited. He could finally fulfil his dream of pelting Gordo and Sleuth with spongy bullets from the other end of the office. What The Grouch did not foresee, however, was the guns being turned on him by some rabid office techies, intent on living out some sort of Matrix-style fantasy. Trying to type while rubber bullets bounce off your forehead is not easy. But surprisingly fun.

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