SHRUGGING off a nine-division demotion and financial meltdown to return to the pinnacle of English rugby might seem like scaling Everest, unless you have already helped turn Tesco from supermarket into superpower.
Sir David Reid saw the retailer become the world’s second largest during his time as chairman and now has designs on domestic, if not quite world, domination with humble London Scottish, where he holds the same role. Now, completion of their phoenix-like ascent is in sight, with the original Exiles just one more promotion away from the Premiership and enjoying their best start to a Championship season.
“I always like the underdog,” Sir David told City A.M. “When I joined Tesco we were an underdog with a great team and over 25 years we exceeded our own expectations never mind anybody else’s. At London Scottish we call it the incredible journey.”
That journey continues tomorrow when Scottish, who lie sixth, host second-placed Rotherham Titans, and former club of back Mike Doneghan, at the Athletic Ground. London Welsh have shown it is possible for a club of modest means to gatecrash the top flight, although Reid is content with a play-off place this term.
“It shows it can be done. Exeter are a tremendous case in point,” adds Reid, now chairman of Kwik-Fit.
“The financial challenge is enormous because the step up in cost goes from £1.5m or £2m to £8m or £9m. We want to get into the top four. It’s a Roy of the Rovers story and we’d like to think we haven’t finished yet.”
London Scottish v Rotherham Titans, tomorrow 7.30pm at Richmond Athletic Ground. Non-member tickets start from £14 and under-16s can get in for free. Pay at the gate or at www.londonscottish.com