Today the SFA took the decision to continue living at Hampden. I knew they would. They lack the imagination to step outside of their bubble. It’s as if they believe that ground provides them with some kind of armour. It doesn’t. It is the prison they’ve built for themselves, and like institutionalised inmates they cannot even imagine anything better. They are not to be pitied though, this is another costly SFA mistake we’ll all pay for.
And it’s not surprising, as I said, because that’s all Hampden is.
It’s all Hampden has ever been, since it got its multi-million pound “face lift” back in the day. Fergus McCann always said it was a white elephant. He always said it was the third best stadium in a city that didn’t need more than the two UEFA class grounds it already had.
The SFA is fiercely protective of the ground and it always has been. It is also a stone selfish organisation which would continually nominate it for European finals without ever once offering one to Celtic Park or Ibrox, two vastly superior stadia. The idea that the SFA ever did anything for the greater good of the game or the promotion of its clubs is ridiculous. Scott Brown was correct today to say that the ground lacks atmosphere. It lacks everything.
The £59 million lottery fund grant that got the BT Stand built saw a fraud investigation engulf the organisations involved. You can understand why. The ground has never impressed visitors who’ve been in actual top class stadiums.
The idea that it’s had so much money spent on it over the years is like some kind of joke, and you wonder what the punchline is.
The SFA is spending £5 million to buy the ground from Queens Park. An as yet unspecified sum will be spent “improving” it. Scott Brown is not the only person to think that’s yet another colossal waste of money; you do wonder what the clubs think of this nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people who believes that Scotland games and major finals should have been “shared” between Celtic Park and Ibrox. The idea is ridiculous for many reasons, not least of which is that too much of Scottish football is already skewed towards the idea that there’s only two clubs which matter. Fans deserve a neutral venue, and Scotland needs one. That did not have to be Hampden when there is a better ground in Edinburgh.
But that ground belongs to the SRU and that, more than anything else, is why we’re stuck with this vastly inferior option; the SFA is run by small-minded men who will suffer any indignity to our sport but won’t accept one that dents their own pride.
It chafes at them that for all their bluster and talk and thinking they are the masters of the universe that the best option here might not be a football stadium at all; they know it reflects badly on their own “stewardship” and that, above all, is why moving to Murrayfield was never going to happen.
The pretence is over. For that, at least, we should be grateful.
The phony war, wherein they threatened to leave, is over. It was always a bluff. The fiction that they were considering the use of Murrayfield – seriously considering it – was one that very few of us really took seriously. That would have meant these people stepping up and being more than they are.
Hampden has been costing ordinary fans money for decades.
Prices for matches there are scandalously high. I don’t believe that’ll change. Indeed, get set for another major hike in the cost of tickets as the fans are emotionally blackmailed to pay for this latest act of SFA folly. It’s always the supporters who have to fork out when these people screw up and this one is a beauty.
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