The World Cup has not even started yet but already it's England 1, Germany 0. The organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair were left fuming yesterday after a rival British company stole the right to stage the London Book Fair from under their noses.
It was perhaps not quite as controversial as Geoff Hurst's did- the-ball-cross-the-line goal 40 years ago at the old Wembley, but it still left the Germans crying foul play.
Until Wednesday, Austellungs und Messe, the organisers of the Frankfurt fair, assumed they had pulled off a coup by gaining the right to stage the London Book Fair at Earls Court next April. They had agreed commercial terms with Earls Court & Olympia Venues earlier this month and had even received a contract in the post. So confident were they that a press release was issued trumpeting their success.
But then yesterday the rival organiser Reed Exhibitions, part of Reed Elsevier, nipped in Michael Owen-style to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Reed announced that it, and not the Germans, would be …