In life I have missed out on so many opportunities it makes me want to cry!
I like Dr Pepper. Always have. Given a choice I would choose a Dr Pepper over any soft drink. Always did. When I first moved to England there was no Dr Pepper. None. None, as in rarer than an aromatic anal digestive discharge. I was not amused. I wrote to the Dr Pepper Co. of Dallas, Texas in 1976 and politely asked if they had any plans to export my favourite drink to the UK. Their response? Not on your nelly.
What I should have done, of course, was borrow millions from a trusting bank in order to bankroll the importation of Dr Pepper. I would be living in a large house today and worrying about how to minimise my children's exposure to crippling inheritance taxes.
Within fifteen years Dr Pepper was available in every store and petrol station and was selling in the millions. I never even got a belated thank you from the Dr Pepper moguls for pointing them in the direction of vast profits.
The ubiquitous “Super-Size-Me” fast food chain that is Macdonalds is a similar story. In the early 70's fast food in Britain consisted of fish and chips and Wimpy. Both may still be with us but have been transformed by the might of corporate burger greed.
Wimpy was very odd. It was possible to get take-away burgers and chips – but they were exorbitantly expensive and distinctly unappetising. Mostly you sat in a very unwelcoming, small “greasy-spoon” and ate your choice of burger (there were only two choices as I remember, Wimpy or Wimpy with onions) from a plate with a knife and fork.
I distinctly remember suggesting that (surely) you could sell fast food hamburgers in the UK. I was laughed at. Ridiculed. Patient English “wise-achers” gave me pitying explanations (as if I were a small child in need of redemption) that it would be impossible to get the English to eat without a knife and fork. Could not be done. More chance of Maggie Thatcher being found in flagrante delicto with “Red” Ken Livingstone in the back of a Hillman Imp.
Stupidly I listened and the rest, as they say, is history. History would have judged me to be far-sighted, and (incidentally) very rich, had I sold the family silver and bought a Macdonalds franchise.
It is against this background that I read in the Sunday paper about a plan to make rugby both popular and competitive in the U.S.A. Some wise and rich man, whose name escapes me, has decided to set up a professional rugby league in the U.S. For players, he proposes to recruit some of the thousands of college American football players who have no chance of making it in the NFL.
Needless to say, I had this idea first! And, just like the others, did nothing about it. There is a pool of very fit, very fast, very athletic, and very large players in America just waiting to be tapped in to. College footballers could easily pick up the skills required to adapt to the rugby code. Current plan is to bolster the U.S. Eagles Rugby Union team. Perhaps a better plan would be to tackle Rugby League first. The learning curve is less and the sport calls for all-rounders rather than props who can scrummage and line-out jumpers who can soar. From there it would be a short step to Rugby Union.
This would have the added benefit of redeeming my long-lost faith in the importation of world-beating products from America. The Rugby League world would be conquered in less than five years. Max for Union? Less than ten.
You heard it here first!