Six Nations: Calcutta Cup tickets were best ton I’ve ever spent – John McLellan
When will we see the likes again? No rugby follower has ever seen anything like Scotland’s Calcutta Cup comeback at Twickenham, and for me the answer is probably never. After over 40 years of watching Scotland rugby I’ll be very fortunate if I’m still about in 40 years’ time to see another match quite like that.
Liverpool and Manchester United fans have had their Champions’ League triumphs, England cricket the 1981 Botham Ashes match and Saturday was our turn. Thank goodness I decided to go and, unlike one or two of the travelling support, thank the heavens I wasn’t tempted to leave. At £115 a seat in our corner of the ground you don’t walk out just because your team is taking a pasting. But with seven of the ten tries scored pretty much right in front of us, what a corner it was to be in; the best ton I’ve ever spent.
The closest thing to Saturday I’ve experienced was the 2003 Edinburgh derby when Hearts came back with two Graham Weir injury time goals from 2-4 down to draw 4-4, but as I’m not a lifelong follower of either for me it did not have anything like the emotional rollercoaster of Saturday’s final quarter.
It’s fashionable in some circles to rubbish rugby because of its middle-class associations, most recently from Irvine Welsh, but I’d defy even the Hibs-supporting author not to have been gripped by the drama of that second half. At least he’ll know what it’s like to be an England fan.
No need for a Tarot deck to predict trouble
Crystal balls, Tarot cards or tea leaves weren’t necessary to predict the tram completion would be approved last week, or that the £207m cost is essentially neither here nor there.
The administration argument was effectively that they couldn’t afford NOT to build the line because there was no other way to move a growing population around, it was vital for house-building along the Waterfront and it linked up key areas of economic development.
Much was made of how different the contracts are to those which doomed the original project, but from what I’ve seen that just means there is less likelihood of expensive liability disputes, not that the contracts rule out unforeseen problems which rack up the bill.
The price is secondary to the council’s strategic goals and this is not something likely to be lost on the contractors who are not, after all, charities.
A bridge too far for Omni?
An intriguing detail emerged in a council discussion yesterday about an extension to the Omni Centre on Picardy Place. When the agreement to build the complex was struck in 1999, the council demanded £200,000 to pay for a footbridge over to Calton Hill, but planning officers had no record of whether the money was ever paid.
The deal was that if the bridge wasn’t built the council would return the money, but again no one knew if it had been reclaimed or refunded. There will no doubt be a straightforward explanation, but all we know for certain is there is no bridge.
Their own worst enemies
On my bike I see more than a few fellow cyclists whose concern for safety goes from wanting to non-existent, like the chap the other day slaloming round people on the pavement on Home Street, one who cut me up on George IV Bridge and a bampot who went up East Fountainbridge the wrong way. But this week the girl without a helmet going against traffic up the A9 though Bridge of Allan really takes some beating. There are cycle lanes in both directions.