Cosgrove: Bringing Back Bevvy Would Be Licence to Thrill

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Cosgrove

FORGET the Old Firm's move to England and the Executive's Sectarianism Summit, at last there's a campaign I can unreservedly embrace - Bring Back Bevvy.

Over the last few days,there has been a gathering momentum to relax the laws that govern alcohol at football matches.

The campaign has the formidable support of the MP Brian Wilson,nowa director of Celtic,and Rangers chief executive Martin Bain.

Who would ever have thought the amber nectar would unite green and blue?

I have always believed the laws restricting alcohol at football were disproportionate to the problem. But I cannot deny there wasa serious problem in the past and that something had to be done when matches became ugly brawls.

Gradually changeswere brought about - segregated grounds, all-seater stadia and better policing all played their part.

Ironically,drinking inside grounds is now uniquely the privilege of the corporate fan. Carpeted lounges and rubber chicken are part of the camouflage that allows businessmen to drink and watch their team.

It is an unfair form of social apartheid,which elevates those with money over those without. Unintentionally,the law seems to imply that if you are wearing a replica topyoucan't.

A friend recently pointed out another ludicrous anomaly of Scotland's drinking laws.Frank Sinatra famously performed at Ibrox in front of an adoring crowd but what if Dean Martin had wanted to join him on stage?

Rock Steady's army of fluorescent jackets would have descended on the old soak and sent him rat-packing back to Las Vegas.

Now I admit I come to this debate with an agenda. I was once arrested for trying to enter Tannadice Stadium whilst under the influence and spent a New Year in the cells.

Forget the Birmingham Six this was rough justice written large.Let's be honest,you'd have to be inebriated to go to Tannadice - that's the only reasonable state to enter the Arab stronghold.

Even Gordon Chisholm must be tempted to take ahip flask into the dug-out the way United have been playing lately.

Only a draw against Rangers? It doesn't get much more embarrassing than that. …