While Queens Park Rangers began their 2008-09 campaign in England’s Coca-Cola Championship 2nd Division the other day with a 2-1 home victory over Barnsley, an unsavory sea-side incident managed to take the shine off Iain Dowie’s managerial debut. The Telegraph’s Nick Pisa reports Rangers co-owner Flavio Briatore is accused of menacing a beach full of sunbathing Sardinians.

The “battle” began when Mr Briatore attempted to come ashore from a yacht to inaugurate his new restaurant Rubacouri (which means Heartbreakers) close to the beach and to his opulent disco, Billionaire.

Mr Briatore was on the lead dinghy with his wife and as they stepped on to the sand they were met with jeers and whistles. As the second and third boats came in “terrorised children wailed between the waves”, claimed La Stampa.

Families rushed forward and tried to push the boats out to sea while others bombarded the VIPs with sand and water. “How can they come so close to the shore in these boats, there are children here,” shouted one woman.

Mr Briatore was quoted in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper as saying: “We are nice people and we get rewarded like this. I will close down everything. I pay taxes, this is my right.”

All of a sudden, the miserly-by-comparison Chris Wright seems downright cuddly (strong resemblance to Tony Kornheiser nonwithstanding).