Tales of Corporate Hospitality at Sport – Part 2

Ah well, it looks as though I won’t get the chance to have my picture taken with Mr Green at Hampden today, as I have the chance of going to a friend’s house to mark his birthday with pakora, pool and a pint. With all due respect to Queen’s Park and their opponents, that actually seems a far more enticing prospect than a wet and windy Hampden.

However, I did want to add to my tale of corporate hospitality events with a non-football related one. If you read the first piece, you might not be surprised to learn that things did not run smoothly here either.

In either 1997 or 1998 (I forget which one) I was given two “corporate hospitality” tickets to the Scottish Open Golf at Loch Lomond. My employer at the time had the tickets for the full week, and I was offered them for the Thursday, being the first day of competition. I was delighted to accept, and suggested to my wife that she come with me. She had never been to a golf tournament before so the prospect of “hospitality” overcame that of “trudging round a golf course”.

The only time before I had been at a golf tournament as a sponsor’s guest was many years ago when the Scottish Open (then a tournament only for Scots professionals) was played at Dalmahoy. I was there as my father’s guest, and as his driver, so could not take advantage of the free and unlimited bar laid on by Dryburgh’s the sponsor.

I vividly recall the great Brian Barnes, one of the most remarkable Scottish golfers ever, popping into the bar before he tee’d off. He collected half a dozen cans of beer, and a couple of miniatures, and headed out onto the course. Clearly these were intended to prevent any risk of de-hydration during the round, and they did not adversely affect his play, as I recall him scoring about a 67!

The great Brian Barnes, dressed in the finest 1970's fashion on the golf course

The great Brian Barnes, dressed in the finest 1970’s fashion on the golf course

Anyway, back to Loch Lomond …

My wife had planned for us to have the full day away, and our two young children had duly been dispatched to their grandmother’s home for safe keeping. I put a slight dent in the plan though by telling my wife that, even though I had the day off, there was one case I needed to attend to at court in the morning. As I told her, I would “pop over” to Dumbarton, deal with the case and get back, so we would be on the road from Hamilton to Loch Lomond by 11am.

Needless to say, the court did not run to plan. The hearing was held back, and when it did take place was more contentious than expected. I had to carry out negotiations re the matter in dispute with the other lawyer, and then ring my client for instructions. Finally I finished at court around 12 noon. However, as I drove out of the car park heading east, I suddenly realised I had to go west.

The story is told of the two Celtic fans walking to the turnstiles in Seville for the UEFA Cup Final in 2003. One turns to the other and says “I wish I had brought my washing machine with me”. His comrade asks him why. “Because our match tickets are sitting on top of it!” came the anguished reply!

Similarly, I remembered at that point that my tickets, complete with magic passes to the hospitality tent were sitting safe and secure in my office, which was in Helensburgh. So a quick 20 minutes over to the office. A few quick phone calls, and then back to Hamilton. I made it home around 1.20pm and changed in a couple of minutes and finally we were back on the road.

We had stocked up on sun cream as the day was bright and clear. As we headed towards the lochside however, the sky started to darken. Undaunted we made our way on, and finally, after being stuck in the queue of traffic headed to the course, parked the car in a surprisingly dry field beside the path leading to the course.

In my haste I had forgotten to bring my golf shoes, but was still in my leather slip-ons.

Not a sound choice of footwear for walking round a soggy golf course!

Not a sound choice of footwear for walking round a soggy golf course!

We made our way up the hill and crested it to see that we had emerged beside a green which, at that very moment, was being approached by a group containing Tom Lehman, former Open champion and Jose Maria Olazabal. As we reached the edge of the green, and as the players went to mark their balls prior to putting, there was the sound of a loud klaxon echoing over the course.

Tom Lehman - one of the golfers I saw not hitting a shot

Tom Lehman – one of the golfers I saw not hitting a shot

The sky had darkened considerably, and at the far end of the course there had been lightning! Play was suspended.

I reassured my wife that it was just a precaution, and that we should wait where we were, as it did not look like rain. As those words passed my lips, some very large raindrops appeared, then some more, and finally huge numbers of them, together with approaching lightning. We made our way, along with the rest of the galleries, to the tented village. At that point I realised that leather slip-ons are not very useful when walking on wet grass.

And another - Jose Maria Olazabal

And another – Jose Maria Olazabal

We made it to the village however, and headed past the first tent, which seemed half full, but was not the “sponsors and guests” tent. I assured my wife that we could benefit from the hospitality there. Unfortunately, it seemed that about 2,000 other sponsors’ guests had turned up, and a marquee which was very large, was packed to the gunwales. At the far end, over the sea of heads, I could see the bar. I also realised that the only way of getting there would have involved climbing onto the roof, cutting a hole in the canvas, and dropping down, Mission Impossible style, next to the bar.

The big screen televisions in the tent were showing live coverage of the rain falling, so we did not need to look outside to see that the weather was still bad. So we decided to wait for a few minutes for the squall to pass …

And we waited …

And we waited …

After about three hours in the tent, there were signs that the storm was finally passing over. We had made it no nearer to the bar than our first foray into the tent had taken us. My wife was not impressed so far by corporate hospitality.

Loch Lomond having another slightly damp day

Loch Lomond having another slightly damp day

I suggested we could head out as the rain was becoming intermittent, and we could guarantee ourselves a good vantage point. However it was pointed out that we did need to collect our children, so we might as well head home.

We squeezed out of the tent, and at that point saw the only live golf shot of the day – a small boy with a stick, hitting a stone!

By now, and despite the excellent drainage at the course, the walkways were Somme-like with mud. It was now hard to walk without one’s shoes being sucked off by the gloop. Somehow I made it back to the car, down the now Cresta Run like path, and discovered that what had been a surprisingly dry field was now a sea of mud. Glastonbury on a bad weekend came to mind.

Whilst not actually being the soggy Loch Lomond car park, this snap shows very well how it looked

Whilst not actually being the soggy Loch Lomond car park, this snap shows very well how it looked

We managed to squelch our way out of the car park – eventually – and then found ourselves stuck for another hour in a creeping queue of traffic making its way from the course to the Balloch roundabout, where the road broadened enough for the speed of the cars to reach about 20mph.

We finally made it home after 8pm.

We had been away from the house for almost 8 hours. I had ruined a pair of shoes. The car looked as if it needed four goes through a car wash simply to get the mud off. My wife was deeply unimpressed by golf and corporate hospitality. And we had seen one shot – by a small boy with a stick …

So, all in all, if I had been able to take advantage of the hospitality at Hampden today, I suspect that something untoward would have happened. For the sake of everyone’s enjoyment therefore, it is far better that I am off at the pool, pakora and  a pint party!


Posted by Paul “Jonah” McConville



Filed under Golf, History, Nostalgia, Personal

54 responses to “Tales of Corporate Hospitality at Sport – Part 2

  1. Thanks again Paul. That was a briliant read. As a journalist of over 40 years I never thought I’d say this: who needs newspapers when you’ve got Paul and Phil? Honest-to-God writing with a good dose of humour. Ya canna beat it. Looking forward to the year ahead, God willing!

  2. i’m guessing that you were able to write this tale of woe…as mrs mcConville has not let you forget it!! – [well, at least you lived to tell the tale]

  3. Dhougal

    Great read Paul ,hope theres singing at said Pakora party ,as at Hampden they’re singing the old favourites of The Dead club…………the sash ,Derrys walls etc etc .Wonder what we’ll get from the MSM…………”great atmosphere for a 3rd div. game” etc etc . I’d like to know what happened to the Thugs rioting at the The Rangers V Clyde game ??? ……although i do condemn the muppets at Tic game (if they were Tic fans ?)

  4. lordmac

    you have played a stormer there paul just think, when you want to get away on your own, just say to the wife you have hospitality ticket for the golf

  5. Arb urns

    Yep new Chico and his named side kick radio face (quiet jim perhaps?)would scheme to keep u away from the national stadium today!!!

    Am told tru blu came out of retirement to send an amateur off to even things up and secure a last minute winner.

    Is that a 15 point lead horizoning surely super a cant do a double can he ?

    Chico must be privately furious that so many blues turned up and ” filled the stockings financially” Of the SFA stadium X1.his thoughts must be turning to will they keep coming to the castle if the league is won with months to spare cos as well as ally’s pie bill he now has to buy succulent lamb and god knows how much an octopus eats in a week !!

  6. Gortnamona

    A euphemisn is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.
    BBC interviewer to AVB
    Jermaine Defoe went down perhaps a little bit too early in the first half.

  7. Dhougal, were they really tic fans ? Man up and grow a pair ! It was your rotten , terrorist loving , drunken, bigoted , racist, greatest fans in the world , when will you take responsibility and stop sweeping under that big carpet.

    • Vega

      Every football team has a rotten element amongst their support. Anyone who doesn’t believe this is probably one of them.

    • Gortnamona

      No Carson

      ” rotten , terrorist loving , drunken, bigoted , racist,”

      That describes Rangers fans and you seem to agree, but your sole mission on this site is to insist that Celtic fans are just as bad. They are not, not even remotely, never have been and never will be.

  8. cam

    After Queens Park enjoying the largesse of the Gers support boosting their coffers,i had one of my brainwaves!
    In the remote possibility of LNS forgetting his lines and being impressed by the fervour of Rocket Rhod’s presentation of his “evidence”,and finding the Gers guilty of dual contracts,i think that the punishment for the resurgent Gers should be to do two years hard labour in each of the divisions on their way back to total global supremacy.
    After winning the 3rd div. the second placed team is promoted and the smaller clubs get the benefit of RFC and its fans for another season.
    The beneficial side effect would be to guarantee CFC unlimited relaxation and 35 in a row,Lenny’s rage virus would be cured and the Gers would have a warchest of possibly hundreds of millions to combat the 7 time CL winners and holders of the PFA (PI*H FILLED AWARD)fans trophy.
    Its a win,win situation,,,i’m getting too good at this.
    Tayside polices attempts to identify the culprits at the Boxing Day urine festival,by using forensic science and DNA databases have been foiled by the ingenuity of the CFC fans.When they heard of this outrage against civil liberties and a mans basic right to pee anywhere he likes,even if its on your mate!,they broke into the labs and removed the evidence.
    Six people have been caught and charged with the lesser offence of taking the pi*h

    • Vega

      Is the charge not against the old club, ie the one that won all the trophies…?

      • cam

        I think its against the new oldco, the co. that registered the players who did or didn’t TUPE over to the newco which didn’t receive the money due from the SFA for international games played by oldco Tupe’d over ,newco players.
        As part of the five point agreement,which would have been 7 but for the fact that Regan couldn’t retain that much in his napper,the Gers are liable for everything the SFA and Pedro can think up in perpetuity.
        The trophies that oldco won due to cheating,match fixing,bent refereeeing and other crimes that have yet to be invented are all null and void.
        Coyote Pete is working hard behind the scenes to arrange a poinding of the Ibrox trophy room and has his eye on a nice bike.

    • Arb urns

      Cam did u not read the prospectus.chico only has C10m income and c15m wage bill and that was before he added himself at c£200 per hour and the new director of media to the greengages plus the £42m octopus in the room plus y’all left him £5m short. Don’t think yer leader will think much of yer plan what happens if you lose the playoffs one year does that count as one of yer two seasons?

      • cam

        Once all the other clubs realise that the Gers canoe is the most seaworthy and that the 60,000 seater urinal is a white elephant,then Chico will be running Scottish fitba for years to come.
        The guy is a total personality.His Xmas message to the Gers fans was clearly written by Jim Traynor and was a thing of beauty.

        • Internet Bhampot

          “then Chico will be running Scottish fitba for years to come”

          I know CG has changed his tune several times, but I still havent heard him say he’s going to around for the long haul.

          As for him running ‘Scottish fitba’, the man seems not to understand the principle of “ma ba’, ma game”, as if he continues to mislead, upset and antagonise the governing bodies of the game he might just be scuttling this canoe you speak so highly of. All this subject to a potential gratuitous alienation case not sinking the business that runs the club or the club losing it’s temporary registration with the SFA.

          Also, is that the sam Jim Traynor who said that in his eye’s the The Rangers were not the same as the ‘oldco’ Rangers?

        • dan

          I thought Chico’s Christmas message was seriously risible. Did Jabba actually write that?

  9. “Needless to say, the court did not run to plan. The hearing was held back, and when it did take place was more contentious than expected. I had to carry out negotiations re the matter in dispute with the other lawyer” –

    Good God, Big Lad, that wasn’t me – was it?

  10. Adam

    LOL – deflect. deflect. deflect. sweep. sweep. sweep. 60 games worth of income today. Not a problem insight. Queens Park live for 3 years after today. Jealousy is emanating……

    • rab

      Aye, i’m that jealous i will probably not even watch the Juventus games.

    • Arb urns

      Adam QPFC have survived 145 years are an amateur club and don’t appear to be in any danger of going into liquidation. By my calculation they will celebrate 150 years when your club celebrates 5 !!!! They are founder members of the association that runs the beautiful game in our beautiful country. A game your disgraced club has brought into disrepute to a level ” where only match fixing or bribing officials could have been deemed worse”. On top of that your club faces an judicial process enquiry into possible rule infringements regarding the registration and payment of its playing staff. From your post you have much deflecting and sweeping still to do however assistance is only a stones throw away ,if you were to look up the meaning of the word contrition in the dictionary a solution is nigh.

      As your namesake was one of the first around these parts ,Adam what say you to being the founder member of The Rangers Contrition Movement.

    • rab

      Does no problems in sight include the mass singing of sectarian songs. Dirty money.

  11. Gortonoma, you live in a Celtic fairy tale land of make believe , myth, spin, and pure fantasy , the only people who believe the tripe and mice you believe in are your own deranged fans , anybody else with the smallest grasp on reality know that you have your own, bigoted, racist, drunken, louts but true to form you just deflect from that fact and try to ridicule people for pointing to the truth , and make yourself look ridiculous at every turn.

  12. cam

    After careful study of some deluded CFC fans diagnosis that it may not have been “real” CFC fans indulging in watersports and displaying Hunlike behaviour on their cultural tour of Dundee,oldco legal chaps may employ this gambit in the upcoming LNS extravaganza.

    LNS; “how do you plead?”
    OLDCO; “It wisnae us that registered the players wrangly,it wis somebody dressed up tae look like us”

    Case dismissed,more months of blogsite teeth gnashing and cue Chico for another grandstand performance.

    • JimBhoy

      @Cam you wouldn’t have it any other way mate… Beats reading day old petty crap in the tabloids..

    • Arb urns

      Funnily enough cam your hero has already tried that one on LNS u may recall. ” that was oldco that dunnit am havin nowt tae day wee it we r newco and u have no jurisdiction over us we left your Stew Pid Littleleague (SPL) anyway and won’t return as long as I’m in charge baht at and si thee” or words to that effect. As Adam says on here deflect deflect deflect sweep sweep sweep. Read my little game of cluedo post on here earlier if you ever want to comeback into everyones world.

  13. JimBhoy

    @Cam you misspelled a word in the statement below… You had ‘running’ instead or ‘ruining’… 🙂

    “Chico will be running Scottish fitba for years to come.”

    Going by Chico’s past endeavours he has RUN a lot of things ‘Into the ground’… Or had to replicate his Yorkshire schoolboy sprint champion tactic of Running away fast as the bearers of torches and pitchforks hunt him down..

    • cam

      I think he is brilliant.A total character and entertainer in what after all is supposed to be entertainment.
      I can’t wait for a book on his times in Glasgow and what he really thinks of the dullards he has to deal with.

  14. JimBhoy


    Good to see Uefa impartiality ‘mon the Hoops…

  15. Great to see Rangers taking 30, 000 fans to the national stadium , some of the big clubs don’t get that at home ! so I am pleading with all Rangers fans to continue to turn out and prop up Scottish football , well someone has to do it.

  16. JimBhoy

    @Carson can’t disagree, was the circus in town? Oh yeah it was 🙂

    Honeymoon period mate, football fans are a fickle bunch, The record breaking new rangers are three consecutive non wins away from a crisis….

  17. JimBhoy

    @Cam #2 You state earlier Celtic/fans- “myth, spin, and pure fantasy”. I woke up one morning thru the summer and
    The mighty rangers#2 were in Division 4, no myth,
    The man heading rangers said that was Ok, that’s where they wanted to be but the ones who voted them there better watch out, spin,
    He then stated rangers will rise to the top again but will not play with the bog boys as long as he is in charge and will soon be hearing champions league music at Ibrox, pure Fantasy Island mate… It’s the plane boss…!!!!

  18. Honeymoon period over ? The gfinw have been saying that every week hoping it was , while they turn up or sorry don’t , dressed as seats , what is the betting the attendance for the next home game is 49k ? The Seville calculator will be up for player of the year at this rate! You should be happy that Rangers are willing to prop up the rest , once you are out of Europe the rumour is they are going to close the top tier at breezeblock boulevard, any info on that ?

    • JimBhoy

      @carson Actually I do… it’s like most of what you claim as fact, Bullshit…

      I wouldn’t count a honeymoon period in weeks (for a football club), it will take a season or two maybe… You gotta remember who you are playing week in week out, postmen, store workers and the like in the lowest division in Scotland mate…

      The subject was Myth, Spin and fantasy and I gave you fact on all three, not conjecture, your reply wreaks of unfunny, speculative, posturing nonsense… If it was remotely humorous or factual you may have gained some respect, go back to line 1….

      I reckon you may get 49k for the next home game but that’s not really a lot of money is it..
      I hope rangers prop up the rest for a LONG time to come mate… 🙂

    • JimBhoy

      @Carson and Gfinw means? Pardon my ignorance not much up to speed on bears-speak, I had to ask Mick a few weeks ago what a ‘Declan’ was..!!

      • cam

        We are all in limbo land waiting for the next seige machine to pull up at the gates of Ibrox.
        Mr Cohen and Mr Stephen will be jostling rotund Rod for the best firing position.Paul has been giving them concise and clear instructions on how to operate a trebuchet that is loaded with G.A.
        Hopefully the civilized rules of combat are observed and the machine isn’t used to lob a few dozen urinators over the walls.
        I think a concerted effort by LNS,BDO,SFA and SPL has the best chance of success for the rebels,which amounts to “nae chance”.
        Bonnie Chico will carry the day and use his massive God given hands to throttle the life out of the enemy.
        Big JT will prepare the eulogies and then the odyssey will be nearing an end.
        My great great grandkids will gather round the portable nuclear furnace and listen(by telepathy) to how the Mighty Gers defeated the doom sayers.

        • Arb urns

          Don’t forget hector cam u must keep that inferiority complex up at full pressure otherwise an Angus og might slip into your net.

          Btw slipped into and out of your world last week couldn’t resist a punt on bonnie prince chicos iPo knew 70p was way too low. Thanks for the £3k profit.

          Be careful with the bonnie chick comparison not sure there were many gers fans among his followers.

  19. cam

    That cheesy comment by Coyote Pete that everyone wants to play Celtic because of how friendly we are actually made me cringe with embarassment for him.
    God forbid that a strong referee ignores the howls from the Tic fans for every decision and that he gives a penalty to the opposition a la big Giorgios “balance problem”.
    Lenny’s impersonation of a firework going off could lead to scary scenes.

  20. Gortnamona

    Cam & Carson

    In the world of football and indeed much farther afield.

    Celtic Supporter – equates to Sportsman and Gentleman
    Rangers Supporter – equates to Drunken Sadistic Sectarian Racist Thug.

    Two questions:
    1. Are these stereotypes fair and accurate?
    2. How did the fans of two clubs from one small town gain such disparate reputations?

  21. dan

    Gortnamona. I’ve spoken to Tims whom attended the game at Dens, and they are convinced the whole thing was a set up; that the troublemakers were not Tic fans, but agent provocateurs from ‘outside’ the Celtic family. As soon as this stuff was plastered all over the MSM I had my suspicions, as it deflected from Samdaza’s revelations about being warned not to bless himself in full view of the klansmen . But hey, can you imagine the scale of deception the klansmen will have to get up to if they wish to portray us in the same light as the scum that trashed Manchester, Barcelona, etc etc? Setting a scene like that would tax a Cecil B De Mill! No, by their actions the world has come to see them for what they ere—–and the world knows that thank God, we are not like them.

  22. We seem to be back to tit for tat. I am something of a neutral around here, though some have suggested otherwise and I cannot see too much in the debate of Celtic/Rangers supporters. True, Rangers have their sectarian past and Manchester and Barcelona as real peaks of disgrace, but on a weekly basis Celtic’s small percentage of idiots are just as bad as Ranger’s small percentage. And let’s not forget that if Celtic supporters Lisbon efforts had been repeated in Spain, the outcome might have been different.

  23. Gortanom, you have surpassed yourself Celtic fans= sportsman and gentlemen , I am totally speechless , do you actually believe this ? Please, please, please, oh dear lord please tell me you’re winding me up! Please, I hate to think there are people out there, maybe alone, that believe this , you can get help , there is still time, maybe try looking into history , they say the first step is always the hardest. good luck my friend I’m always here for you.

  24. Dan, please read my out stretched post to gortanoma, I promise to help anyway I can .

  25. bill

    I’m feeling a lot of love in this room .

  26. nickmcguinness

    Don’t kid yourself. I knew there would be trouble in Dundee when I heard that a club in Dundee had laid on a bar and Irish Republican band for the afternoon. Several Celtic Supporters Club buses left several hours early to enjoy a festive sing-song and bevvy session there.
    Unfortunately, this meant a couple of hundred younger fans arrived at the ground smashed out of their tiny minds. A sure recipe for trouble.
    Friends who were there said the behaviour of quite a few was beyond the pale. As with most moments of shame for supporters of Scottish clubs, drink lay at the heart of it all.
    If troublemakers are identified, they will be banned by the club. That’s for certain.
    As for the Green Brigade, their members tend to be a bit more disciplined and organised. I’d tend to think the tawdry scenes were more the responsibility of “hangers-on”.
    But there’s no excusing the bad behaviour by that significant minority.
    Just as there is no excusing the belting-out of a banned sectarian song in the National Stadium yesterday by a significant majority of Rangers fans, as heard live on Television throughout the UK.
    But were Kenny MacAskill or Campbell Ogilvie listening?

  27. dan

    Wonder if the MSM will make much of this? New club, same old bigoted scum following them.


  28. JimBhoy

    Generally bad behaviour at football matches in and out of the ground appalls me and add to that any of the sometimes associated serenading is a disgrace to Scotland on all levels….

    Each club especially celtic and rangers pay a fortune in policing and stewarding games and there is always a concentration of CCTV on these fans… I hear also by rangers and celtic that fans are being man handled, searched and singled out by the police going into grounds…. I think i read 3 arrests at the dundee game one young guy for sining pro-IRA songs..

    My question is what value are the clubs getting for this level of inept policing/stewarding… Why allow a republican band to play? A bunch of fans allegedly pissing on seats surely to christ someone can see this and action taken, expel them from ever seeing the inside of a footbal stadium again, if they behave like animals treat them like animals… When away fans pick up tickets there should be a means to identify who is sitting where or for someone to be accountible for a bunch of tickets in a certain area, trouble flares up you have some accountibility… But going back to my point surely the stewarding of matches where the majority of the police and security are monitoring the larger support should take action and weed out the ringmasters at least….

    I take my son to some Celtic home games when he isnt playing and I have seen no trouble, I did see the police march a section of the green brigade out of the ground, reasons unknown I think maybe a banner, so if they can take out 50 fans because of a banner can they not isolate and take out some allegedly fighting with each other, urinating and letting off fireworks…?

  29. JimBhoy

    @Dan See my post above…. Look how many police and stewards are looking directly into that crowd… I know they cannot go gung ho and batter into the mob but get them on camera, know who sits where to give you a chance of isolating individuals or groups and follow up with them and don’t let them near a ground again… It’s the only way to stop this negative culture in Scotland at football matches, it will never go away though….

    I bet there were a ton of security cameras looking into the crowd also but it takes tedious work sifting thru video to isolate individuals and put a case together,..

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