Little at Large: Acevo No 1 gives poolside pep talk to England No 10

What was it that transformed the England football team from national embarrassment into the well-oiled machine that brushed aside Russia?

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

Was it the inclusion of Barry in midfield? Or Heskey's return as target man? Another explanation is Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, who happened to be staying in the same hotel as the England team the day before the Russia match.

A young man at the swimming pool asked what Bubb did, so he told him. "And what do you do?" asked Bubb. "I'm a footballer," replied England striker Michael Owen, who marked his return to form the following evening by netting a brace, but rudely failed to thank Bubb in his post-match interviews. "I'm so glad I inspired him to glories for his country," Bubb told Third Sector.

- It's not just Fleet Street that suffers from domineering press barons. A Young Foundation report reveals that the not-for-profit sector has one in the shape of John Bird, founder of The Big Issue and now a candidate for Mayor of London.

One of the case studies on the problems of growing social enterprises pays tribute to his flair, charisma and entertainment value, but quotes bruised ex-colleagues. "He could be a complete nightmare," said one journo. "He would walk in 10 minutes before press time and demand the cover be changed."

- So Iain Duncan Smith has lent his support to Navca's campaign to preserve the sector's rapidly disappearing grant base. The quiet man's backing may not have town halls up and down the country scurrying to revise their sector support strategies but, in the wake of third sector minister Phil Hope's endorsement, it does create an air of vapid unanimity. Sustaining Grants could go the way of Make Poverty History - a campaign that so successfully solicited the support of the people it was aimed at, it got lost in a big tent of its own creation.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer.

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