Thursday 1 March
Culture secretary Tessa Jowell dashes the hopes of one hundred MPs who had signed the early day motion calling for a rethink on the supercasino decision by putting the recommendations of the casino advisory panel to Parliament. A World Book Day poll makes Austen’s Pride and Prejudice the book ‘you can’t do without’ (The Da Vinci Code is in at number 42) while the Tate announces it has raised £4.95m in only five weeks to save Turner’s The Blue Rigi from export. The Hilton Group ends its ban on Cubans staying at its hotels in Europe and IOC inspectors say they are impressed by progress with the 2012 project.

Saturday 3 March
Normal service resumed in the world of rugby union as Jonny Wilkinson limps off with a thigh injury.

Sunday 4 March
George Michael will be the first performer to grace the stage of Wembley Stadium on 9 June. “It’s fantastic news,” says Wembley MD Alex Horne. The British athletics squad takes ten medals at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, their best tally at the event, and catches UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins by surprise; he had only predicted six. The world’s best female cyclist, Nicole Cooke, wins the opening round of the 2007 World Cup in Geelong, Australia but has to cede the cultural headlines to her compatriot, Welsh chanteuse and celebrated cocktail originator, Charlotte Church, who announces her imminent confinement.

Monday 5 March
The latest Olympic scare involves the disappearance of children’s slides in Japan. Apparently such is the price of scrap metal in China, where the pre-Olympic, post-Chinese economic explosion building boom is in full swing, that anything made of metal is being pinched and shipped for profit. Merlin Entertainment buys the Tussauds Group for £1bn-plus, creating an entertainment and leisure group that boasts 50 locations and 30 million visitors a year. “I don’t see us as being in competition with Disney,” said chief executive, Nick Varney. The Barbican, Europe’s largest arts and conference venue, celebrates its 25th anniversary, shocking many people who assumed it had been thrown up in a hurry during the sixties. Hardened Barbican veterans may  still be looking for a convenient and obvious entrance for anyone arriving on foot.

Tuesday 6 March

Liverpool’s waterfront could become home to a group of skyscrapers that would create a skyline to rival those of Vancouver, Hong Kong and New York, says development group Peel Holdings. They unveil a £5.5bn project at Liverpool town hall that will take between 20 and 40 years to complete. Tony Blair delivers a speech at Tate Modern in which he celebrates the government’s achievements on behalf of the arts. “Dynamism in arts and culture… creates dynamism in a nation,” he said. “ And why hadn’t he mentioned this previously? “Sometimes you don’t get the chance to talk about the things you want to talk about,” explained Mr Blair, prime minister for the last decade, commander of a massive parliamentary majority, maker of numerous daily speeches and host of a weekly press conference. Political controversy in Ghana where the celebration of fifty years of independence is set to cost some $20m. Could a copy of ‘Birth of Ghana’ by Lord Kitchener and His Calypso All Stars and a record player have done the job at a fraction of the price, ask music fans across the globe.

Wednesday 7 March
Gentlemen of the English Premier League, put your PlayStations down and pay attention. The US Professional Golfers’ Association announces that Tiger Woods will officially host a tour event. Woods will use the occasion to raise funds for a new learning centre via the Tiger Woods Foundation. Andy Murray demonstrates his growing sports star status by generating headlines with a new haircut. A multiple order for hairclippers is placed in the vicinity of Roehampton.

Thursday 8 March
Broadcasting regulators warn that the police may have to investigate allegations of misrepresentation during phone-in competitions on a number of television programmes. Makers of the X-Factor show have revealed that “an administrative error” resulted in them over-charging phone voters by the small matter of £200,000. Sefton Council grants planning permission for Antony Gormley’s figures installed on the beach at Crosby. Mr Gormley, who attended the planning hearing at Bootle town hall, says, “It’s wonderful that my homeless, wandering tribe of men have found a permanent home.” Tessa Jowell announces a heritage white paper. Proposals include a national register for England’s historic sites and buffer zones for world heritage sites. A Women’s Sports Foundation report, The State of Play,  shows that only 19% of women take part in regular sport or recreational activity, compared with 24% of men. The Catalan regional government has made a grant of £10,000 to a local film-maker who produces erotic films. His work will help spread the Catalan language, apparently.

Friday 9 March
That bastion of British working class values, the Daily Telegraph, bemoans the rise of the gastropub and its impact on the noble sport of darts. Cue the Telegraph campaign to ‘save our darts’. Anything to do with a circulation that slipped below 900,000 in February for the first time? A woman who followed her satnav onto and along a railway line will not be prosecuted, possibly because she lives in Dorking.

Saturday 10 March
The RFU council agrees to put options on the future of the professional game to consultation.

Monday 12 March
Tickets for the first game at the new Wembley Stadium go on sale and it is the work of a moment for the FA website to crash under the deluge. Plans are unveiled for Wales’s first full-blown music festival. Fflam (Welsh for flame, apparently) will be held 13-15 July at Swansea Bay. Organisers anticipate a Welsh flavour to the event, including the Manic Street Preachers and plenty of consonants.

Tuesday 13 March
The Advertising Standards Authority unveils the “strict new rules” that will ensure adverts relating to gambling, permitted under the 2005 Gambling Act, will remain socially responsible. Richard Caborn says the government was not complacent and would be monitoring the situation. The Millennium Dome will finally get some visitors in November when the doors open on the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs exhibition. Tickets will be around £15 and will feature some of Egypt’s greatest artefacts. Profits will go to help preserve Egyptian antiquities and monuments. Arguments over the replacement of Trident, the cost of which will serve to make the 2012 investment look like an accountant’s footnote, continue ahead of the imminent debate in Parliament. The ten-week festival of hit and giggle that is the cricket world cup begins in the West Indies. Nice work if you can get it.

Wednesday 14 March
The ongoing story of how television programmes have been fleecing their viewers via phone-in competitions finally reaches what we all pray will be its lowest point when Blue Peter confesses it has faked one of its phone-ins. A total of 95 Labour MPs say no to investing £20bn in a new Trident but the government wins the vote anyway. The London 2012 team wonders if VAT and a contingency have been build into the Trident figures. Meanwhile, 2012 just keeps getting cheaper as the Audit Commission revals that cost overruns on some 200 road schemes have cost the taxpayer over £3bn. One project estimated to cost £6m ended up costing £17m. Marvellous. Meanwhile a German brothel is doing its bit for encouraging physical activity among senior citizens by offering an OAP afternoon discount. “Older folks are more active than you think,” said a spokeman.

Thursday 15 March
Uproar in Parliament as the culture secretary announces that the London 2012 games will cost £9.3bn, nearly three times the original figure. Lottery distributing bodies will have to cough another £675m. “We should see this an investment not a cost,” says Ms Jowell.

Friday 16 March
The National Audit Office report that a quarter of Heritage Lottery Fund project finished late and one in six went over budget. The NAO advises simpler procedures and better support for applicants. The high court awards compensation to a Swiss art collector whose Anish Kapoor sculpture was lost by a London art storage company. It seems that the scupture, made during Kapoor’s “transitional phase”, was mistaken for rubbish and thrown out during building work. Scotland Yard belatedly backs the bid, with deputy assistant commissioner Bryan urging people not to get obsessed by the costs of the 2012 project. “The benefits are colossal, and that’s where the focus needs to be,” he says. Nine thousand coppers will be required at the peak of the Games. England cricket enhances its reputation by losing its first world cup game to New Zealand while South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs clears the schoolboy boundary six times in an over to slink into the record books.

Saturday 17 March
Wembley Stadium opens years late and hundreds of millions over budget but the first 60,000 visitors give a very positive reaction. The stadium now has 2,618 toilets, against the original’s 361, and 107 steps to the royal box, against the original 39. Ireland send Pakistan out of the cricket world cup, beating them on St Patrick’s day.

Sunday 18 March
Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer is found dead in his hotel room after Pakistan’s defeat to Ireland. No cause of death is released. Andrew Flintoff is stood down as England vice-captain after a late-night pedalo session.

Monday 19 March
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt announces plans for GP surgeries to be placed in supermarkets in areas where there are too few doctors. The Positive Futures scheme reports some success in using alternative approaches and activities to help teenage boys de-stress and stay out of trouble. Flintoff bucks the celebrity trend by issuing a shame-faced mea culpa without popping into rehab.

Tuesday 20 March
A Foreign Office factsheet reveals that improvements effected within Iran since British forces began their visit include 51 football pitches and other sports facilities. Research from Oxford University’s department of public health suggests that physical inactivity is costing the NHS £1bn a year in direct costs. They estimate that 35,000 deaths that occurred in 2003-04 could have been prevented by more active lifestyles. Meanwhile, in a warning to facility managers everywhere, Bath’s Royal United Hospital, is found guilty of charges relating to inadequate safety checks on its water system following the death of a patient from legionnaires’ disease caught from a dirty shower head. This health and safety tutorial goes global when blame for the death of four BP oilworkers in an accident was laid at the feet of members of the BP board by the US Chemical Safety Investigation Board.

Wednesday 21 March
Jamaican police announce that they are treating Bob Woolmer’s death as suspicious, prompting a flurry of speculation regarding the possibility that the Pakistan team coach was murdered. Shadows cast over the cricket world cup by Woolmer’s death have darkened considerably. Rent rises threaten Gay is the Word in Bloomsbury, London, the UK’s only gay bookshop. Sale of Battersea power station to an Irish development firm raises fears for the future of the building, long considered a key feature of London’s skyline.

Thursday 22 March
A campaign is launched to have part of Manhattan around Greenwich Avenue renamed Little Britain in response to the congregation of ex-pat Brits. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association says the smoking ban, in place in Scotland since March 2006, has resulted in falling profits and lost jobs. Scottish health minister, Andy Kerr, says Scottish people support the ban.

Friday 23 March
Alcohol worse than ecstasy, says a report from the government’s drug advisory council. A number of sports governing bodies that have sold their sport and everyone in it to corporate advertising for beer shift nervously in their seats; an alarming number do not. The London Assembly’s economic, devolopment, culture, sport and tourism committee publishes a report challenging the assumption that the London Olympics will create job opportunities for poor Londoners. “We need to get this right from the very start,” says committee chair, Dee Doocey. Sony launches the PlayStation 3, hoping to combat the work of a generation of sports development officers with nothing more than a bit of clever technology and a multi-billion dollar advertising budget. With the cricket world still in turmoil after Bob Woolmer’s death, England captain Michael Vaughan says that his ‘gut-feeling’ is that corruption in the game is still rife.

Saturday 24 March
Manchester may employ amphibious buses as part of a £33m scheme to transform the environs of the River Irwell. Apparently Seattle and Montreal have them, so why not? A statue of Ted Bates, stalwart of Southampton FC, is removed from its plinth outside the St Mary’s ground after several days of highly vitriolic criticism of the statue’s merits. The likeness to Jimmy Krankie was one thing but looking like former Portsmouth FC chairman Milan Mandaric was too much to take. England Under-21s christen the new Wembley by conceding a goal in the first thirty seconds. The senior team go one better later that evening by avoiding conceding a goal to Israel. Surely that’s a good thing?

Sunday 24 March
Leaked reports from Westminster Council’s environmental health department suggest that issues of cleanliness, including risk of Legionnaire’s, had been discovered in some of London’s most expensive hotels.

Monday 25 March
Old Etonian David Cameron launches an inquiry into Britain’s lost childhood. Tory education shadow, David Willetts, says, “We need to allow children to have vivid lives and everyday adventures.” Speculation in the City as Whitbread is reported to be considering offers for David Lloyd Leisure. Next Generation, the Lloyd family’s post-David Lloyd Leisure project, is thought to be among the bidders. Plans for a network of after-school cookery clubs is to be mooted. The Education Statistics Agency reports a significant rise in students taking courses in forensic and achaeological science after the success of TV dramas such as CSI and Waking the Dead, suggesting that the leisure industry just needs another Brittas Empire and it could be away. Scottish Assembly Government declares the smoking ban a tremendous success with overwhelming compliance and only 175 fines for breaching the law. One smoker and one business have been prosecuted under the anti-smoking laws.

Tuesday 26 March
With one year to go until Heathrow Terminal Five opens its doors, a quick price check: £4.4bn. Snoop Dogg and P Diddy, those tireless miners at the cultural coalface that is the bling-fuelled rap industry, cancel their UK tour after Snoop is refused a visa. Sport England chairman Derek Mapp tells a community sport conference that the £55m cut in his budgets is “a cut too far”. The FA takes time off from recriminations over the national side to announce another success: the FA Cup final will be at Wembley this year, only seven years after the last time. Bonuses all round?

Wednesday 27 March
Back to the drawing board for the supercasino project as the House of Lords overturns a government order on the Manchester venue and legislation for a further sixteen casinos around the country.

Thursday 29 March
Bath’s Royal United hospital is fined £80,000 after the death of their patient Daryl Eyles who died from legionnaires’ disease. Figures for daily truancy rates could be closer to 43,000 than the 36,000 previously thought, according to government figures. Tessa Jowell tells the cabinet that the supercasino plans are “very much alive”. No one around the table meets her eye as she says it. Greek prime minister Costa Karamanlis says that Britain has run out of “feeble excuses” for not returning the Elgin – some say Parthenon – marbles, currently held – sorry, displayed – at the British Museum.

Friday 30 March
For some reason ITV and Setanta agree to give the FA £275m to televise England matches and the FA Cup over the next four years. No report of who laughed last or indeed longest is made available. The ability of art to upset those of faith is demonstrated once more in New York by My Sweet Lord, a depiction of the form of Christ, created in the medium of chocolate, 200lb of it. The abuse by England fans of Steve Maclaren and his under-performing band of multi-millionnaires is blamed by Sir Alex Ferguson (sic) on a ‘mocking culture’. It’s all the fault of television talent shows, apparently.

Saturday 31 March
Concurrent world championships in the pool and in the velodrome bring contrasting results for British athletes. While the swimmers grab a few of the base medals, the cyclists break records for gold and establish British Cycling as the strongest track cycling team in the world. Curtain comes down for final time on Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, pending the council’s consideration of a planning application for a major redevelopment that will see the theatre closed until 2010.


the world of leisure
March 2007

"A Women’s Sports Foundation report, The State of Play,  shows that only 19% of women take part in regular sport or recreational activity, compared with 24% of men."




"A total of 95 Labour MPs say no to investing £20bn in a new Trident but the government wins the vote anyway. The London 2012 team wonders if VAT and a contingency have been build into the Trident figures."



"Research from Oxford University’s department of public health suggests that physical inactivity is costing the NHS £1bn a year in direct costs. They estimate that 35,000 deaths that occurred in 2003-04 could have been prevented by more active lifestyles."

last month


other news


an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us