This Man Not For Turning
8th May 2007 By Munster Rugby
A Munster man domiciled in Scotland wrote to us over the vexed question of the SRU’s decision to disband the Border Reivers and some of the thought processes behind that decision as expressed by a former Scotland great.
The visit of Munster to my fair (adopted) city last weekend coincided with an article in the Scotmans newspaper that featured an interview with Andy Irvine that raised some
‘You know what pisses me off?” asks Andy Irvine. “This is the kind of thing that pisses me off.”
This ‘kind of thing’ the former international great is talking about is the criticism he has had to ship for absenting himself from the recent Melrose Sevens.
The Melrose Sevens by the way for those of you, who don’t know, just happens to be the oldest rugby sevens and according to Wikipedia, Melrose is the birthplace of Rugby Sevens.
But the SRU President has been accused of ‘snubbing’ the event and, this is the kind of thing that pisses him off. Explaining his absence “I was on holiday with my family, pre-arranged from way back,” seems, on the face of things, perfectly reasonable given the sort of schedule he must have as President of the Union. Mind you the Melrose Sevens has been pre-arranged since 1883, and has been taking place on the same weekend near enough ever since.
So it wasn’t as if the occasion just crept up on the busy busy Irvine. Its more likely that a vacation seems much more preferable than a visit to what could be considered the rugby heartbeat of Scottish rugby, aka the Border Region.In terms of spectator support this season, the comparison between Glasgow and Borders is interesting. Glasgow’s biggest crowd of the season was 2,799 for the visit of top of the table Ulster in January but when Ulster visited Netherdale 3252 turned up. Munster’s visit to Hughenden as European champions attracted a crowd of just over 2,200.
When they last competed in the Heineken Cup Glasgow managed a best crowd of 1907 (v Leinster), for their part Borders’ best attendance in this year’s competition was the 1,403 who turned up watch them play Parma!
Last season in the Magners, Borders’ best attendance was the 3879 who watched them play Cardiff Blues and their second best crowd of the season, 2,646 was four hundred more than Glasgow’s highest attendance.
But the real world according to Andy Irvine, is not the one occupied by those who created an almighty fuss over the death of the Borders.
The real world is where the Scottish pro sides – and we have to assume he includes the Borders – “have not had a fair chance up to now.” And why?
Because Irvine admits, “the marketing and other things we’ve done have been garbage”.
Well fair play to you Andy. At least you’ve put your hand up.
Oh and by the way. The real world of Glasgow footy just happens to include two incidental clubs called Celtic and Rangers. So what.
Anyway farewell ye Border laddies. And oops, Sorry about you losing your livelihoods. Sure that’s life.
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