DIARY: Hornby reaches fever pitch as Sands slips through CHI's fingers

You've got to hand it to him - Johnny Hornby, the managing director

of Clemmow Hornby Inge, simply doesn't accept no for an answer, if the

gargantuan charm offensive he launched in a strategically orchestrated

bid to get on to The Observer's pitchlist is anything to go by.



Yes, the resourceful Hornby rolled up his sleeves and set to work

exploring every possible angle to get a word in the ear of The

Observer's marketing director, Marc Sands. His first stop was Sands'

ex-girlfriend - and, by happy coincidence, Hornby's brother's current

squeeze. However, she refused point blank. "She thought that it would be

in bad taste," "Rhino Hide" Hornby said, undeterred.



Although brutally rebuffed, Hornby charged on. His next port of call was

his mate and fellow Arsenal season ticket holder, Matt Tench (who just

happens to be the editor of Observer Sport Monthly). Tench was charged

with convincing Sands to put CHI on the list, flexing his superior

editorial muscles if necessary. Also, Tench should threaten to resign if

CHI was not included - a small price to pay for a fellow Gooner.



While meeker souls might have read the warning signs from the deafening

silence that greeted Tench's efforts, Hornby soldiered on, next drafting

in none other than his friend, the Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson. The

next assault on Sands' inbox came in the form of an e-mail from Mandy

stating grandly that, if it hadn't been for Johnny's work, William Hague

would be the prime minister.



Surely that would do the trick? But no. So Hornby turned to his chum

Garry Lace, the chief executive of TBWA/London, who duly fired off the

requisite e-mail reminding the doubtless bewildered Sands that, while

TBWA was the finest agency in town, CHI was the second-best shop; ergo,

it would be a grave mistake not to have it on any pitchlist.



Still the phone refused to ring. But Hornby had one more ace up his

sleeve -David Dein, the vice-chairman of Arsenal FC, who Hornby asked to

send an e-mail saying: "If you don't put CHI on the pitch, we're taking

your season ticket." Yikes!



Is there no end to this man's audacity? Alas, hounding Hornby's calls on

his cronies have not procured the desired goods. "I haven't had any

response," Hornby admits. We also hear that Sands, with the tone of the

hunted, has sent an e-mail pleading to be left alone. You can't blame a

man for trying, though.



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