Last year, Glasgow City Council announced its rate changes for the coming fiscal period. There was much wailing about this in the media and on certain forums. Celtic’s rates fell. Those of Hampden and Ibrox went up. You could hear the gnawing on desks all over the country.
I don’t know what it’s meant for Sevco, and don’t particularly care. They did some gurning about it if I recall, but they aren’t in any position to do much more than that and they know it. They are powerless and enfeebled.
The SFA did do some moaning though.
And with it they issued a threat to relocate from Hampden.
If they thought that would bother fans they received a nasty shock; most supporters don’t give a damn, most hate the SFA anyway and a lot of them have never liked the ground on the south side, believing it to be a hugely inferior place to watch football than the grounds at Celtic Park and Ibrox.
I am one of those people and always was; Celtic Park is a football palace and even with Sevco’s ground in its appalling state of disrepair – The Crumble Dome as some have taken to calling it – it beats Hampden hands down.
The SFA has been taking the piss for years. Glasgow’s two massive club stadiums would have been prime candidates for European finals and high level matches in any other football nation. The SFA has protected its own flagship and ignored them. Neither ground has ever been submitted to host one of Europe’s showpiece events; Hampden has hosted a Champions League final and a UEFA Cup Final since it was redeveloped and is promoted every year.
In this regard, the SFA serves only itself. It has never bothered to serve the clubs.
It is greedy and self interested and arrogant and it’s high time the “national stadium” was taken off its hands. Hampden is an anachronism; a 50,000 all-seater ground belonging to a club who’s average attendance is a few thousand. Nowhere else would this kind of farce have happened.
The ground most likely to be promoted for use is Murrayfield. Having been in it, I can recommend it wholeheartedly. The place is superb, and using it would shatter this notion, this ridiculous and offensive notion, that all football in Scotland flows from Glasgow.
What we certainly cannot have is the SFA entering into a nice wee arrangement with the clubs where it takes internationals and cup games all over the country; I cannot think of anything more likely to cause trouble and promote graft and corruption. We already suspect that Aberdeen and Hibs were thrown international fixtures by Regan for their directors dismissing calls for an inquiry into the SFA; I don’t want the governing body handing out semi-finals and finals and other internationals based on favours or favouritism or anything like it. We need a national stadium, and preferably one their grubby paws are nowhere near.
What happens to Hampden if the SFA moves out and takes Scotland games to Edinburgh? That’s a question only Queens Park can answer; I have to think the maintenance costs and what not are far out with what they can pay. Just because the SFA isn’t based there it doesn’t mean they can’t rent the ground out for certain high profile matches though, and I would like to think they’d show enough loyalty to the old girl to do exactly that.
But the ground has never been my favourite place although I have wonderful memories of it, like two cup finals against Dundee Utd, standing out on those big banking terraces with the sun beating down on us, and certain parts of the full season we spent there when Farry’s SFA was basically screwing us over, charging us exorbitant rent after they had refused to let us use Celtic Park as it was being redeveloped.
As far as I’m concerned, the mice can have it.