Newspaper review: End it like Beckham, say front pages


Pictures of David Beckham are on most front pages - his retirement from professional football makes the lead for the Sun and the Daily Star.

Inevitably perhaps, "End it like Beckham" is a popular headline - a play on the title of the film Bend It Like Beckham.

In the Daily Mirror's words, we may be confident that the most high profile British star of his era - as famous off the pitch as on it - will not be putting on his slippers in retirement.

The Sun's tribute to him is an image of a bottle of Becks beer.

The label on the bottle carries the names of the clubs he's played for; it's brewed in East London, where Beckham was born; and has a "best before" date of May 2013. The paper's headline - "Cheers David!"

Budget black hole

For its main story, the Times says senior Tories have begun to plan for the early break-up of the coalition amid fears Nick Clegg will be unable to keep his party in government until 2015.

According to the paper, some of David Cameron's senior aides are talking through a range of scenarios, including the Lib Dems quitting up to a year before polling day.

It says the disclosure comes after a week in which personality clashes and policy rows have shaken coalition unity and raised questions about the longevity of the governing partnership.

Under the headline, "The Budget black hole at the heart of Osborne's finances", the Financial Times reports that the chancellor's attempt to slash £11.5bn off public spending in election year has run into Cabinet trouble.

Ministers have identified only £2.5bn in net cuts in their budgets.

One un-named minister is quoted as saying George Osborne was "asking too much". Another tells the paper: "The low-hanging fruit has gone. It's very difficult now to find these sorts of cuts."

But, the paper adds, Mr Osborne and his Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander, insist they will achieve their objective.

Work stress

After the allegations earlier this week that oil companies may have colluded to manipulate the price of oil, the Daily Mail leads on a report that says the activities of speculators and "shady middle men" are having a huge impact on prices at the pumps.

The report by the AA is said to reveal how traders are affecting prices, causing three steep rises this year alone and increasing the cost of filling up a family saloon by £5.

According to the paper, few of the traders' names are known to consumers outside the oil community but their effect on motorists and the wider economy is profound.

Finally, a study suggests workers in stressful office environments form the strongest friendships.

According to the Daily Telegraph, researchers at Lancaster University found the fact that people of all ages and backgrounds are thrown together without any choice and have to spend hours side by side, often in stressful situations, increases the likelihood of tight bonds of friendships.

The Times says the study describes the office as a "modern-day social club".

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