Saturday 27 June 2009

Queens Park-Hampden Park

Hampden Park-home of Scottish football. But, far more important as far as I'm concerned, not just home of the National Team, also the ground of the famous old Scottish amateur club Queens Park. Who are members of the Scottish League Third Division next season, which is the fourth, & lowest tier, of Scottish professional football.

I haven't seen a game at Hampden Park, but was up in Glasgow in mid-June, to support my friends from the Paris Saint Germain Belgium Supporters' Club in the Queens Park Supporters' 7-a-side competition. I was lucky enough to be included in the official foreign party that were given a free guided tour of Hampden Park & the Scottish Football Museum that is based there, on the Friday afternoon.

I have my fingers crossed that a game can be arranged sometime next season between their fans & the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team, on a weekend that Queens Park are at home, so that I can 'tick' the ground!

Call me pedantic, but I don't like the way the ground is marketed as plain 'Hampden' on the roof here. It is, & always has been, Hampden Park & should be known by it's proper title!

At least there's a sign on the main entrance telling you who plays here!

Some of the steps leading up to the stadium. I honestly don't know what I was expecting, but it seemed rather plain for me outside.

Before we look at the stadium itself we can go 'behind the scenes' & see some of the places you usually wouldn't get the chance to see, if here on a match day.

This is one of the changing rooms, and they were huge, as is to be expected. Unusually both the 'home' & 'away' ones are exactly the same size. This is part of the criteria for staging internationals apperently, & helps get the stadium a UEFA five star Elite Stadium top grading. Note those blue doors...

If opened this extra changing area appears to 'expand' the size of them.

Behind that panelling is a storage area for the players to hang up their clothing.

Here are some of our group listening to the guide. My friend Nicolas is third from the right, most of the group did not speak very good English, if at all, so he happily acted as unofficial translator.

This is the shower area.

And a separate treatment space as well.

Out in this corridor is this room. No plaque to Willie Johnston unfortunately! ;-) Showing my age there....

There is also this large indoor warm up area. The netting, on the left in the middle, is pulled over so it's split half & half between each team on a match day.

As part of the tour you get the chance to measure your shot at goal! This is in miles per hour, not kilometres for the Belgians! ;-)

Here I am, far right in the front row, in the PSG Belgique group photo! Back row, first & third left are John & Iain, two of our extremely friendly hosts from the Queens Park Supporters' Team.

A look across the pitch. Kneeling down is Nicolas' fiancee Danuta, who is not doing up her shoelaces, but taking a very low shot of the pitch, with the stand behind. I wish I'd thought of that!

Here we get a clear view of the stand opposite.

The ground is impressive, with continuous sightlines all the way round. Here is the end to our right, as we stand in front of the main stand area.

Still looking rightwards, this is part of the main stand behind us.

Directly behind are the 'posh' seats.

And here we look to the left.

Here we're climbing up slightly, to try & view the higher areas.

This is part of the large press areas, with power points for computers & even televisions,so they can immediately see action replays.

This is the main dignitaries section, note the small ledge at the front, where the cups at big games are presented.

Back at pitch side here, we are looking to the left once more.

And now towards the other end.

A photo of my friend Nicolas, with the stand opposite directly behind him.

So that concludes the ground tour, now we head into the Scottish Football Museum.

This is the entrance to it, from outside.

Inside the main entrance is this collage of Scottish football.

Immediately inside the museum entrance you see this on your right.

This memorial is both wonderful & poignant to see. Remembering a speedway rider who died in an accident here. The Glasgow Tigers still race, in an other part of the city. I had planned to go & watch them, but when I got to Queen Street station I discovered that they did not run a Sunday service on the line where their stadium is!

We only had a limited amount of time in the museum, as it was not long to closing time, & we visited the shop first, before that shut.

You will see a number of things that caught my eye as I dashed round. I'm not sure what they all were, & it's certainly not an 'in depth' tour of the museum. When I next go back to Glasgow I will certainly revisit, & do the tour again with friends who won't have been on it. And I'll make sure there's enough time to look at everything!

Here is an old photo, I have no idea of when it was.

Celebrity Scotland shirts, from pop concerts here. The Eagles being the group, not Crystal Palace! Neil Diamond, & Robbie Williams.

A model of the stadium.

The Scottish FA Cup.

A model of people peering through the holes in the wooden fences, from many moons ago.

A sculpture of a footballer. I didn't note who.

The museum was full of packed cases like this. On show here is an early Queens Park shirt, the current design is extremely similar, still black & white hoops.

An actual ancient match ball, from the very first match at Hampden Park, between Celtic & Rangers.

I didn't note which international this was supposed to represent, but it may have been the first Scotland v. England international in the 1870s. Even then the old jocks were dirty, trampling over us, instead of playing fairly! ;-)

Billy Bremner, a Scotland & Leeds United legend, from the sixties & seventies.

There was a interactive games area, the lure of which was too much for these two Belgian philistines!

On one wall was blown up pictures of medals, below a case full of them. This one caught my eye, because it was from the 1893/94 season, which was the first full Dulwich Hamlet one.

And this is from the 1948 Olympics, one of the football matches in this Olympiad was staged at the old Champion Hill.

Here is a slightly dark shot giving a general overview through the museum.

Pleasingly the museum wasn't just about the mainstream history, but also included important social history events, such as campaigns to save clubs in trouble.

Graeme Souness-he may be a hero to them, but what a horrible, nasty, dirty git he was!

Terry Butcher, proud Englishman, but almost an honourary Scot nowadays, having fallen in love with the country, when he signed for Rangers.

The fanzines. A number of which I remember buying in the now defunct London bookshop Sportspages.

A mock up of an old Hampden Park turnstile.

Which certainly brought back memories of working on the old Champion Hill ones!

A large sculpture of an old, locked out crowd.

So they beat us! But it was such a rarity no wonder they made such a song & dance about it!

A model of the popularity of football immediately after the Second World War...

When children could safely play in the street again.

The famous Archie Gemmell goal, against Holland, in the 1978 World Cup. you know...the one where Ally's Army were going to return as World Champions, but instead made their customary first round exit!

This is the orginal template for the Scotland 1974 World Cup finals mascot...another first round exit!

A shirt from the great Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas, who played at Hampden Park in the greatest ever European Cup Final, in 1960.

Another model of Hamden Park, with varous shirts behind.

A mock up of the old fashioned changing rooms.

I wonder if they were as spacious as the current ones?

A selection of Junior Football Club shirts, with the Junior Cup.

Some Supporters' Club banners on display.

Is it just me, or do you also think the sectarian element of the Scottish game, specifically involving the Old Firm, will never be eradicated. No matter how hard they try.

Presumably this a copy, the original in display in the international boardroom area?

Ah! Good old fashioned football games. Marvellous!

Finally, a section of Scottish club shirts on display.

I didn't get a chance to look at them properly, as we were being 'kicked out' as it was gone closing time!