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Sunday, 15 September, 2002, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Keep faith with Irish on 2008
Murrafield, the home of Scottish rugby
Rugby ground Murrayfield: one proposed venue

The tabloids have feasted well on my private life over the years. But at least they never found out I was a member of a rugby club.

My secret life does, I confess, sometimes revolve around a Glasgow South Side haven of that strange game and has done for 30 years and more.

I hate to admit it, of course. I would rather own up to making my own dresses.

It's the social side you see, because I have more chance of understanding the dismantling of the atom than I have of knowing what the hell loose rucks and second phase posession are all about. As for mauls - I hate shopping.

In fact, I seem to recall that I triggered the lighting up of the BBC switchboard like a Christmas tree by suggesting that rugby was only for fat kids who couldn't play football. Incidentally, I have not changed that opinion.

I only bring all of this up because sometime this week they are lining Murrayfield like a football pitch in a publicity stunt aimed at showing the world, all right - the rest of Europe - that this country has indeed the number of stadia to equip itself for the hosting of Euro 2008.

SFA chief David Taylor with Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell
SFA chief David Taylor (left) is under pressure
Uefa, the Scottish Executive and anyone else who fancies facing a battery of cameras will smile at the spin doctoring that has come up with the wacky idea of marrying the national game and the sport of the plump lads at private schools.

Murrayfield is, of course, the palatial home of the Scottish Rugby Union and I have indeed paid a considerable sum on one occasion to watch entertainment in that arena. Take it easy, it was the Eagles.

So that will be Hampden, Ibrox, Celtic Park, Murrayfield, one of the fantasy sights of Aberdeen or Dundee or Easter Road plus whatever our friends across the Irish Sea can conjure out of the Guinness and confusion that seems to surround every decision made within a hundred miles of Dublin.

My point is: if we're not sure what's going on, what on earth are Uefa going to make of it?

Well, quite a lot actually. Because, despite everything, my spies in Geneva tell me that the Scots-Irish bid is now in a two horse race with the Swiss-Austrian offer.

I know what plenty are thinking. In the nationwide depression of the Faroes shambles, we should simply bin the bid because, given its current condition, in six years our international game might have deteriorated to such an extent that we might not even be able to put together a side worthy of automatic qualification.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Scottish Football Association have been used as political pawns in all of this, but that's showbiz.

I still believe, despite the gloom and doom - indeed maybe because of it - we should continue to seek the blessing of Uefa to play host to Europe in six years.

Anyone who has attended a World Cup or European finals will understand where I am coming from.

And it is inconceivable that any admittedly massive investment would not be rewarded with an even bigger return from visitors and tourism in the succeeding years.

These are tricky days for Mr David Taylor, chief executive of the SFA, who must at times feel he should take the associaition's offices to within a castle ramparts and wheel up the drawbridge.

But, on this occasion, I urge him to keep the faith, even if it does mean acknowledge that rugby is indeed played in this country.

After all, I've come out of the union game closet just to give him my backing.


Euro 2008 bid

Stadium Ireland blow

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