Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing… Milngavie: the small Glasgow suburb known to so many hopefuls setting foot on the West Highland Way hopes to join the giants of sport – and host the 2020 Olympics.
If resident Mark Fisher has his way, the world’s top athletes could be descending in 12 years time on the town most famous for its shopping centre obelisk and the inability of most Sassenachs to pronounce its name.
Milngavie, Olympic hopeful
Already, the 24-year-old accounts worker has secured the sponsorship of The Fringe which, if the bid is successful, will be the official hair salon of the games. Local news magazine Community Soup is lined up to cover the event.
Attractions familiar to the thousands who stride north from the shopping precinct include a Costa Coffee, Tesco and the Talbot Arms. While Atlanta had its Coca-Cola, Milngavie is awash with Irn-Bru.
And, as the town’s MP Jo Swinson points out: “The people of Milngavie would certainly be ready to give a warm welcome, and a nice cup of tea, to all competitors.”
Milngavie – to save the blushes at the ticket office, it’s pronounced ‘Mill-guy’ – is up against some formidable competitors to stage the world’s biggest sporting event, including St Petersburg, Delhi, Cape Town and Buenos Aires. But Mr Fisher is confident. Of the Milngavie Community Centre he boasts: “If it’s good enough for Milngavie Ladies’ Badminton Club to use every Tuesday afternoon, then it’s good enough for the Olympics.”
Hosting the Olympics is not, of course, without its dangers – just ask the Beijing government. There’s always the chance of disruption of the opening ceremony by the Free Breadalbane Movement; or the chance that the torch would be extinguished on its route up the Ben Nevis tourist track by a heavy outpouring of Lochaber dreich. Or perhaps the town’s two Chinese restaurants, two Indian eateries and the Milngavie Fish and Chip shop simply couldn’t serve up food quickly enough to satisfy the carb-hungry athletes.
You can keep up with the progress of Marc Fisher’s campaign on the Milngavie 2020 website.