Let’s briefly cast our minds back to those heady bright days of summer. Especially those July days when local journalists sipped Champagne, at our expense, in the suitably genteel surroundings of the Bristol Marriott while Jan and Simon and Stephen Wray made agreeable noises about a World Cup bid for Bristol.
In fact, let’s remind ourselves exactly what they said:
The team said that final figures of costs to host the World Cup were not yet clear, but that unlike the Olympics, there would be minimal public spending and much of the money could be recouped through money spent in the city at the event.
City Council chief executive Jan Ormondroyd said: “Some of the things which are needed for the final bid are not new costs because of the 2018 bid but things that are planned anyway to improve the city.”
So what’s this report today – initially courtesy of the BBC – headlined “England 2018 team holds crisis meeting”?
Apparently, the government’s World Cup bid ambassador Richard Caborn is calling for unity. And, he’s denying the government has reneged on a promise to provide £5m towards the bid.
Phew what a relief! He even helpfully tells us where the money’s coming from:
“From day one we have been very, very supportive and some £5m of public money will go towards the bid – £2.5m as a loan from Government and £250,000 from each of the 10 local authorities who are successful as candidate cities,”
Aaaah … So it will cost us £250k if we get it then? Er, no. It’ll cost us £10.25m actaully. Caborn continues:
“We genuinely want to be successful and are now in process of putting in place nearly £0.5bn of guarantees – £350m from Government and £100m from local authorities.”
On the basis that there’ll be ten local authorities involved that’s £10m each innit? Not exactly the minimal public expenditure we were promised is it?
Although perhaps there’s a way we could save our money. Maybe all these Merchant Venturers, super-rich football club Chairman, wealthy Clifton politicians, council officers on six-figure salaries and gormless newspaper editors who are in favour of the bid could get together, recruit 100 like-minded people and pay £100k each to underwrite this surefire bet for us?
Wouldn’t cost us a penny then would it?