Plane speaking with Lord Coe cost Sir Keith Mills FA top job

Sir Keith Mills was always a non-starter to become FA chairman because of an agreement made on a flight to Singapore more than five years ago on the way to the 2012 Olympics vote.

LOCOG chairman Lord Coe and his deputy Mills agreed that if they managed to win London the right to host the Games they would stay together until the closing ceremony in Stratford.

And Coe sees Mills as so important to the London cause there is no way he would let him be distracted by the all-consuming nature of the FA chairmanship, despite the Tottenham director’s obvious credentials.

Dream Team: Sir Keith Mills and Lord Coe vowed to see out London's Olympic dream together

Dream Team: Sir Keith Mills and Lord Coe vowed to see out London's Olympic dream together

Coe said: ‘Keith is going nowhere. We’re preparing for the biggest sports event ever in this country and we couldn’t afford to lose him.’

Even before Coe’s intervention, Mills never felt he had enough time to devote the attention the FA will need from their next chairman, due to be selected this week and brought to the FA board on December 22.

England 2018 international president David Dein remains the strong favourite from within football to become the next FA chairman, especially as a number of heavy hitters from outside the game have also turned down approaches. These include top financier Lord Mervyn Davies, a Labour Government minister, and Martin Broughton, the British Airways and former Liverpool chairman.


Adrian Chiles, whose hosting of ITV’s big football matches has gone a lot better than the breakfast show Daybreak fiasco, is expected to add to his sports portfolio by becoming the network’s lead presenter for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Steve Rider, whom Chiles replaced as the face of ITV football before the World Cup last summer, anchored the 2007 RWC but may lose out again.

Former Manchester United and Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt playing for South China

Nicky Butt (right), who is off to Hong Kong’s Premier League for three months, is one of the first clients of the new Omni football agency, set up by ex-player-turned-banker James Featherstone and the Monaco-based Mike Morris.

His Elite agency partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson’s son Jason broke up after the 99 questions asked of Manchester United in 2004 by Irish horse racing magnates John Magnier and JP McManus.

Omni have opened for business in the Mere, Cheshire office vacated by Chubby Chandler’s ISM operation that looks after world No 1 golfer Lee Westwood. They have moved into the big house on the complex.


The palaver over the organisation of the England-Denmark game in Copenhagen on February 9 didn’t just include failed negotiations with potential opponents Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

The original mooted fixture was a reciprocal game against world champions Spain at Wembley but England’s management wanted an away friendly in preparation for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Wales.

Missing out also will be match agents Kentaro, involved throughout the botched talks with the South American opposition. The final deal was done directly by the FA and their Danish counterparts.


Thomas' HQ shoo-in

The 100-plus postal votes already received by the RFU point to management committee chairman Martyn Thomas comfortably winning the two-thirds majority at tomorrow’s special general meeting at Twickenham that will allow him to extend his reign for another year.

However, it is expected his chief RFU council opponent, Alex Murphy, will stand against Thomas next year irrespective of the result.

Murphy will see the expected low turn-out from the 2,000-strong electorate as demonstrating an apathy for rugby politics, supporting his call for the RFU to open up the chairmanship to outsiders.


West Ham, who look to be on their way out of the Premier League before the Christmas decorations come down, cannot be faulted for the optimism in their commercial department.

This saw them announce before the latest home defeat by Manchester City the sale of commemorative ‘We hammered them’ mugs, celebrating the 4-0 Carling Cup quarter-final win over a depleted Manchester United side.