Nails Under Pressure
Feature by Ed_ScottishFitba
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2002
The waiting game has started. How time drags.
The EURO2008 waiting game must now be played. The game started just after 5:30 last night when SFA chief executive David Taylor and the SFA/FAI bid team walked out of UEFA's Executive Committee's room. They had made their final plea to host EURO2008. The waiting is often the hardest to bear.
Last of the seven bidders, the Scottish-Irish bid team made their presentation to UEFA's Executive Committee at the appointed hour on Wednesday with David Taylor in the lead. As he rushed to the waiting minibus, to meet the committee, he responded to shouted questions, about what did he have to offer, with a single word - "Passion!". Not quite up to Braveheart sound bite standards but you certainly got the idea that the determination to win the bid was equal to Wallace's to keep his freedom.
Taylor had rather more words to offer on his return to his hotel. As a lawyer he will be used to second guessing if his case was persuasive enough to win the day. The adrenalin will have been pumping round his body after two years of planning ended in a ten minute spell in the spotlight of one committee. Taylor said: "We are feeling very good. We went in there and gave them a strong presentation of a strong bid. We have a real chance of staging what is in effect the world's third-largest sports event and from the informal feedback we have had, we are going to have a pretty nervous time waiting."
Experienced marketing director Simon Lyons knows that there will be some political aspect to the vote this morning (Thursday). However, he is confident that the majority of delegates will make the decision with an "open mind". Lyons said: "We are up against some pretty tough Competition and the decision is not just a straight-forward merited one. It involves politics as well which is much harder to read. But we believe we have a very strong case on paper and on merit. People have their political views and perceptions but it is whether those are strong. Very few will have made up their mind before the presentation. They will go into that presentation with a very open mind - very few of the delegates will have buttoned down their decision before then."
John Henderson, director of the joint bid, said the presentation had focused on the "feel good factor" and the behaviour of Irish and Scottish fans. Henderson said: "From a commercial aspect, the 31 games in Scotland and Ireland will be available to 1.7 million people to actually go watch the games. Also, Dublin is the first most-visited city in Europe after London and Paris so it is a home for tourism where people can have a good time and watch football."
We now just have to sit and wait.
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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