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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 203

Date:- 29 May 2005

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IT seems blue is no longer the colour as football fans go crazy for red 'football strip' paint colours. Since the launch of its 'Match Perfect Paint' service just 4 weeks ago, B&Q has seen a 23% increase in sales of red paint as Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool fans prayed for success in the FA Cup Final and UEFA Champions League. 

The service, where paint is mixed to the exact colour of your football team strip, has proved most popular in the North West - home of UEFA Champions League finalists, Liverpool. With B&Q stores in the area reporting a high level of interest in 'Liverpool' red paint and a B&Q survey showing that a 3rd of Liverpool fans are fanatical about their team, it isn't surprising to see them sporting their team's colours in their own homes. 

Liverpool supporter, Carl Culling, 40, from Southport is so passionate about his team that he proposed to wife, Cathy in the centre circle at Anfield and has now painted his home in 'Liverpool' red to show his support in the run up to the Champions League Final. Carl said:- "I've been looking for a big way to celebrate the boys getting into the final, so I was made up when I heard about this new B&Q service. I took my shirt straight into store to have the paint mixed up. It's a great way to show how much I love Liverpool FC and I feel as though I'm permanently on the Kop now! If we beat AC Milan on Wednesday it won't be just my house I'll be painting red!" 

Red paint sales have also rocketed in the North East since Sunderland's promotion to the Premiership and Middlesbrough's battle for a place in the UEFA cup next season. 

What's more, as Norwich and West Bromwich fought for survival in the premiership, tins of yellow and green paint also flew off the shelves - B&Q has seen a 5% rise of both colours. 

But if passionate fans spur their team to victory, Wigan look set to beat Premiership Champions Chelsea next season - blue paint sales are 3:-1 higher in the North West than in the Capital. 

Post Match Analysis 
In the last 4 weeks, B&Q has sold:-

Over 13,000 litres of 'football strip' red paint, enough to cover 21 Anfield's 

Over 5,350 litres of 'football strip' yellow paint, enough to cover 9 Carrow Road's 

Over 2,000 litres of 'football strip' blue paint, enough to cover 4 Stamford Bridge's

The service is proving to be the latest craze in supporting your team, as research1 that led to the initiative showed that of the 35 million footie fans in the UK, 75% would use their team's colours when decorating their home. 

The research also revealed that twice as many women (50%) as men said they would paint their house in their football team's colours. The over 60s were set to get red carded by the neighbours as they said they would be more likely to paint the whole interior and exterior of their homes with their team colours.

The bedroom was voted the most popular room to decorate in 'Match Perfect Paint' gaining possession of 67% of the votes. Bathrooms came second but, most surprisingly, the whole house and the house exterior were twice as likely to get a football strip makeover as kitchens and living rooms.

Lorian Coutts, director of communications at B&Q, said:- "The initial research showed that Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are the most popular premiership teams. As a result, we predicted a sales increase in red paint of 20% within the first 6 months, but we never expected to achieve a bigger increase within just 4 weeks! It's proof we really are a nation of football enthusiasts."

New report reveals safety time bomb in trend to get rid of company cars

BOSSES who take away company cars could be sleepwalking into a health and safety nightmare, warns a report published today. More firms than ever expect drivers to use their own cars on business, says the report by fleet funding company Alphabet (GB) Limited, which is part of the BMW Group. But too few appear to have considered the risks. 

"This is one of the most concerning reports I have written in 35 years in the industry,"
said its author, Professor Peter NC Cooke of Nottingham Business School's Centre for Automotive Industries Management. "Hundreds of drivers die every year in at-work accidents, but firms are still turning away from company cars even though they are usually better managed and maintained than private ones." 

The number of firms offering drivers a "cash for car" deal has risen sharply over the last 4 years, and figures from HM Revenue and Customs show almost a third of a million business drivers moved out of company cars over this period. 

Professor Cooke said:- "These firms are risking a double whammy. They are 'cashing out' of their closely controlled company car fleets just as the Government is bringing in tighter standards for managing at-work road safety and proposing a new corporate manslaughter law. Many companies have abolished company cars and now have no idea whether their employees' own cars are up to the job or are properly maintained or even insured. Firms are just as liable for employees' safety when they're driving their own car as when they drive a company vehicle, so they need to know that cars are safe."

A survey for the Alphabet report found that although only 25% of firms have discussed fleet safety at board level recently, 50% intend to give more drivers cash instead of company cars. 

Richard Schooling, commercial director of Alphabet, said:- "Making the right decisions about business cars has never been more important. Employers need to be absolutely sure they fully understand all the options and implications before taking away company cars. Some alternative schemes deliver both the cash benefits that businesses want and the control they need. Others do not. Simply cashing out of company cars without due consideration, which is what a lot of firms seem to be doing, is hugely risky." 

Copies of the report, called Cars, cash, care and control, can be obtained from Alphabet by calling 0870 50 50 100

Sun, Sea and Sex

DID you go on a holiday abroad in the 1980's? 
Did you have a holiday romance? 
Did it last? 
Or was it sex on the beach? 

Whether you went away by yourself, with friends or on a Club 18 to 30's holiday, I'd love to hear your stories for our Channel 4 documentary. 

If you were on the pull, looking for love or working as a rep and have a story to tell please contact Roz at:-

Testimony Films
12 Great George Street

Phone:- 0117 9258589 or email:-

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