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Leggoland: Boos to Bain's backing of booze.

Byline: Dave Leggat

THE one thing we can be sure both sets of fans won't be doing at Parkhead on Saturday is wishing each other A Guid New Year.

However, if Rangers director Martin Bain gets his way, then in 12 months' time, when the N'erday match is played at Ibrox, they'll be given the chance to toast one another with strong drink.

Bain is pushing the Scottish Executive to let Rangers pilot a scheme allowing bevvy back into football grounds.

No doubt there is money to be made and Rangers are pounds 68million in debt.

But Bain and his like aren't old enough to remember what it was like when drink, though never sold inside, was in plentiful supply, with the carry-out at the match almost obligitary.

I can and I was at Hampden in May 1980, when a horse called Ballantrae led a battons-drawn mounted-police charge across the turf as thousands of Old Firm drunks staged a pitched battle.

The result was the Criminal Justice Act, which banned alcohol at sports stadiums in Scotland, and the result was a 75 per cent reduction in arrests made in those grounds in the last 12 months to those lifted in 1979.

Perhaps Bain will claim times have changed. He'll be right, but only because grounds are dry.

Or maybe he will say it was never Rangers' intention to sell strong drink at Old Firm matches. In which case he defeats himself.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2003
Words:241
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