Gina Davidson: Sponsorship is name of game

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YOU know that citizenship test the UK Government makes immigrants sit to prove they are proper British? Well, I’ve tried it online – and failed.

Which is why I have such a fear that an independent Scotland would create something similar and that it would include a question about rugby, which failure to answer correctly would see me cast adrift as a reluctant member of the Scottish diaspora (well, that and the fact that I don’t like porridge or whisky, and the assumption being of course that anyone voting no in the referendum when the majority vote yes would be made to sit a So You Think You’re Scottish Do You? exam).

Football is Scotland’s national game, but rugby runs it a very close second. Yet I have never been to 
Murrayfield to watch an international and, to be honest, only ever watch them on telly because it’s an excuse to get an early glass of wine in.

In fact, I never really understood the game until my one and only venture into the hallowed home of odd-shaped balls when Edinburgh took on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup last season. There were 38,000 people there – the biggest crowd the Edinburgh team had ever attracted – and the atmosphere was great. Yet Murrayfield was still pretty empty.

So it’s no wonder then that the Scottish Rugby Union wants to look at selling the rights to name the stadium as a way of generating cash – a few internationals a year and small crowds to Edinburgh matches does not a balanced accounts book make.

And why not? There were gasps of horror as the idea was floated earlier this week, but Murrayfield would still be the place where the stadium is situated. It would also no doubt still be called that by diehard fans, no matter which commercial venture decided to splash the cash and its name all over the 67,000 seats.

Already it’s been suggested that Michelle Mone of the Ultimo lingerie might like to give a little lift to the SRU’s fortunes, or Irn-Bru might be interested in sponsoring the phenomenal structure (geddit?). Personally, I’d like to see the bed business Dreams score a try and conversion in one with a name mash-up resulting in the 
Murrayfield of Dreams.

Stadium sponsorship is just an accepted fact of life in the English Premier League. There’s Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Newcastle United’s St James’ Park was the Sports Direct Arena until it got changed back again by, of all companies, Wonga, and Manchester City play at the Etihad Stadium.

But why should Murrayfield have all the fun? Why not Hearts and Hibs? Sponsorship of that kind would certainly ensure the wages get paid on time. In fact, it’s surprising that Easter Road never became the Kwik-Fit Arena, or Tynecastle the Chunky Chicken Stadium. Meadowbank could get a new lease of life with a little private finance. I’m sure Avis would be desperate to get its name all over an athletics stadium. Chariots for Hire anyone?

And let’s not leave it at sport. Why not have the city council’s HQ sponsored as well, perhaps by a leading supermarket chain?

There’s one in particular which springs to mind seeing as it bases its reputation on making things cheap for families. Just imagine if you needed repair work done on your tenement, the council could quote you an Asda price. Ching, ching!

Sex factor

WHAT was your reaction when you read about Craig Chalmers? I know my chin took a battering given that it hit the ground with the force of a porn plumber’s wrench.

Having interviewed him in the past, he seemed so, well, nice that a career in adult movies would be like 
suggesting Woody from Toy Story become a Chippendale.

So it’s impossible not to feel empathy towards his family. Not only has the boy-next-door singer’s move into adult movies ruined his career as a panto and stage musical actor, it will have likely devastated his father, Stevie, and younger brother Gavin.

No matter that Craig claims his dad is fully supportive of his life-changing decision, I can’t quite bring myself to believe that his reaction was “go for it my son, I always thought you had it in you.” Especially after he was so proud that his child had gained a certain level of fame through television talent series and tours of the musical Joseph.

Part of me, the cod psychologist, can’t help but wonder if Craig would have been tempted down the path of blue movies if his mother, Liz, was still alive.

It must have been hard enough for Craig to tell his dad, but if he’d had to tell his mum that he was going to be big in porn? Well, it would be enough for most young Edinburgh boys to remember that sex is what the coal is delivered in.