The Cittie of Yorke in High Holborn was the venue this week, where Mivan’s business development manager Alasdair Donnachie and marketing manager Lee Campbell discussed the hazards of sport and bad behaviour at football matches
You regain consciousness floating dumbly in a swimming pool with the taste of blood in your mouth and a gaggle of people swimming out to rescue you. It occurs to you that your somersault off the diving board may not have gone entirely to plan.
This is the picture painted by an animated Alasdair as he swigs his lager. He was trying to impress his mates, he says, when he slipped, misjudged his somersault and smacked his head against the diving board as it sprang back towards him. “I had to wear a plastic splint in my mouth for nine months afterwards,” he explains, laughing with a mad glint in his eye. We all try to recollect our own cringe-worthy sporting injuries but soon realise that none of us are going to be able to top this story.
Mivan’s Alasdair and Lee are both sports mad. Lee is the footballer. He ruefully tells me he’s recently made the move from 11-a-side to five-a-side - a concession to age, he says, although he does make out that the smaller version of the game is just as exhausting. “In 11-a-side I played in defence and was able to stand around a lot,” he says, his eyes glazing over as he remembers these heady times. “In five-a-side I’m always rushing around, it’s knackering!”
Alasdair assures us that the ’Irish never turn down a pint’. Oh, the pressure of living up to national stereotypes …
Alasdair is a hockey player turned golfer. He exchanged his stick for a club at 52 but says he misses hockey keenly. He met his wife at his old hockey club and feels nostalgic for the camaraderie of playing a team sport. “You learn valuable lessons playing in a team. Plus I enjoyed picking on the youngsters!”
Alasdair is based in London but Lee is based in Mivan’s HQ in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He’s beginning to feel the effects of a 5.30am flight in but he assures us that the “Irish never turn down a pint”. Oh, the pressure of living up to national stereotypes …
Talk continues on this sports theme and turns to the Six Nations and Ireland and England’s winning starts to the campaign. Lee and Alasdair are in agreement that live rugby is far superior to live football. The reason? The atmosphere at the grounds. “I’ve been to a Tottenham vs Arsenal game and even at a Premiership game like that there are real nerves between the fans,” says Lee. “Rugby is different.”
“The worst thing I’ve seen at a football ground was a man actually urinating on another fan at an Auld Firm game (Rangers vs Celtic),” Alasdair adds, apparently in an attempt to put us off our pints.
Lee calls home to check on the kids and returns with a look of pleasant surprise. All is calm back at the fort. “They’re at that age where they’re normally knocking lumps out of each other,” he says. Still, he’s got a break lined up with the wife at a country hotel. Well, part of a break. One day with the kids and one day without. What was that about trying to take it easier?
Chosen watering hole:
Cittie of Yorke, High Holborn, London
Cringe-worthy injuries, rugby vs football and team camaraderie
Four pints of Samuel Smith’s Taddy porter, two pints of Samuel Smith’s bitter and three packets of crisps