A long time ago, I played for London Irish in a Courage League match against – well, the thing is I can't remember who.
What I do remember is that we won and that I ended up upstairs in a bar sponsored by Guinness.
Bring the players in and make absolutely sure the internationals are there. I had played in that year’s championship and being a current international, brand Frano was in demand.
Many hours later I was poured into a tube at Hatton's Cross which is one stop away from Heathrow. The idea was to change at South Kensington – hard to do when you haven't an ounce of sense left in your body. I slept all the way to Cockfosters which was 90 minutes and 51 stops away at the very end of the Piccadilly line.
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I was woken up by a little man from London Underground who was prodding me with a large wooden stick to see if I was still alive.
The taxi fare from Barnett to my place was the equivalent of the GDP of a small West African country. An expense that the club found amusing but steadfastly refused to reimburse.
My then girlfriend of three weeks decided after the no-show that we had different core values and that would be that! Bloody sponsors!
In the here and now and any time up to the end of the year, governing bodies, unions and associations will be trying to limit the damage done to their game and will engage with their sponsors to try to at least maintain the status quo and hand back as little money as possible as the sources of this vital revenue stream deliberate about whether they got any brand exposure for their financial contribution.
As the sporting world tries to restart their events, it is once again abundantly clear how reliant sport has become on their sponsors’ largesse and commitment. Sometimes, the position of power of some sponsors sees them go to the point of overplaying their hand.
After the Belfast rape trial, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding had their contracts rescinded by the IRFU. Both players were unanimously found not guilty by a jury of their peers.
There were two factors which ensured that Jackson's and Olding's contracts would be cancelled.
The content on the players' WhatsApp thread was morally repugnant to a huge constituency of the population who, through the trial process, had seen the selection of private messages which entered the public domain.
In addition to the trial, the WhatsApp content did for the two players’ careers on the island of Ireland.
The IRFU's sponsors also brought their muscle to bear. Whether you agree with it or not, it has become unmistakeably clear in the present day that sponsors have significant clout and if they see a situation which may reflect badly on their corporate body – none of them have been slow to move.
Jackson ended up in Perpignan. The French have a greater degree of laissez-faire when it comes to these matters. Perpignan were, however, relegated into Pro division 2 and Jackson exercised his escape clause and ended up at London Irish.
A three-year contract on north of £400,000 per annum is a very good deal for the player. When the deal was announced it once again became newsworthy.
Social media went on the warpath. As usual, you have to ask what constitutes a twitter storm. A dozen people? A hundred? Maybe two hundred? People threatened to cancel their season tickets. Very few actually did and sales of season tickets for the 2019/20 season and next season have grown exponentially.
The sponsors also brought their weight to bear.
Cash Converters said that they were finishing their sponsorship, although London Irish released a statement saying that the "decision to part ways at the end of 2018/19 season was made before the announcement of player signings in May 2019, and for reasons unrelated to player signings."
However, some still used the company's departure for political capital.
Diageo then made their statement. "Their (London Irish) recent decision is not consistent with our values and so we have ended our sponsorship."
Now Diageo seemed to have pitched their high moral stand here as if they were main title sponsors. In the ranking, they were ninth and were already winding down their financial investment, irrespective of Jackson's signing.
There were other claims of sponsors pulling out who were not even sponsors of London Irish.
It was a very disappointing way to end things for both parties as they were a good fit for each other.
Either way, rightly or wrongly, London Irish had signed their player and were sticking to their guns. The cost of ending Jackson's contract would have been significantly more expensive than trying to retain some sponsors who were going anyway.
A few years previously, London Irish had agreed to move from the Madejski Stadium to a brand new stadium share in Brentford with Brentford FC.
A new 17,250 capacity stadium with a better logistical and community fit for London Irish. It really does look like a very good move and a fantastic new campus. Season ticket sales and corporate hospitality sales have been brisk as the club moved back in to its original heartland.
They then had to decide on pouring rights in the new venue – to you and me it is the exclusive rights of a beverage manufacturer or distributor to have its product sold at a particular venue, event or institution.
When and if the new season starts in September there will be a new brewer dispensing their product and paying London Irish £30-40k for the privilege.
London Irish will have about 18 home games a season including the bumper St Paddy's Day weekend special where the Irish diaspora come to the venue and paint it green.
That is a serious jump in turnover for the new brewer and a serious loss for Guinness who were the previous partner.
Maybe they were a tad hasty to flex their muscles.