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Sour note as final Mini rolls off line

~ Birmingham Post, 06/10/2000 ~


West End star Michael Ball and his father accused Rover of 'moving the goalposts' in a row over the launch of the last Mini to be produced at Longbridge.

Ball and his father Tony, who launched the first-ever Mini, claimed MG Rover management had promised they could drive the final model to roll off the Birmingham production line.

But, the duo said, they were asked at the 11th hour if they could publicise the new Rover 75 while the honour of taking the Mini driving seat at Wednesday's ceremony went to pop singer Lulu.

'We have no connections with the 75. This totally undermined the whole purpose of our being there,' said Tony Ball.

'It is just so very sad that moving the goalposts at the very last minute ruined what would have been a happy, historic day.'

Michael Ball, star of Aspects of Love and Phantom of the Opera, added: 'I had no problem with Lulu driving the Mini, in fact she is a very good friend of mine.'

A Rover spokesman said: 'It was a misunderstanding and a degree of not enough compromise.'

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