Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Friday, 20 October 2017

Hampden Minus The SFA - Well, It Would Smell Better

WHEN it comes to today's media, although you re reading this on “social media”, in a “blog”, the guy who is writing it, me – I am a dinosaur, an “old hot metal man”. I go back to the days of old 'Imperial' typewriters, of having a “black” of every piece I wrote, of sub-editors with a blue pencil, of compositors, Linotype operators, type-setters, paste-up and the days when “new technology” was looked on with suspicion which begat Luddite practices.

Hampden Park

Those were simpler, purer times. My creed was: “How many words do you want, and when do you want them.” “Spin” was something you put on a cricket ball. If I was writing a match report, it was written from my perspective – from how I interpreted what I saw, not to suit a particular paper's agenda. Maybe that's why I never got to be a member of the Lap Top Loyal.

As for public relations, spin doctoring, news management or agenda setting – count me out, I wouldn't know where to begin. However, I do know when I see frantic spinning, agenda setting and news management going on, and it is, I believe, all kicking-off around Hampden Park.

Queen's Park Football Club was honoured at last weekend's Scottish Football Hall of Fame induction dinner, when the club was, rightly if somewhat belatedly, if truth be told, inducted into the body. Now, less than a week later, there are suggestions the SFA might be about to pull out of the deal whereby Hampden is our national stadium.

Let's be honest here, for all the history, all the memories – Hampden is no longer a great stadium, its age and the piecemeal manner in which it has been modified from the 150,000 capacity greatest stadium in Europe of the 1930s to an obsolete large stadium of the 2010s has done it no favours.

Some question if we actually need: “a national stadium”, far less one within the boundaries of our largest city. Indeed, I would venture there is at least one Hampden “suit” who would fancy having Scotland's internationals played at his club's larger home ground.

For me, I would have no complaints if Scotland's football internationals were, like its rugby ones, played at the larger, more-modern Murrayfield. But, actually, what I would like to see is a purpose-built, 100,000 capacity truly national stadium, built somewhere within that triangle which has the M8 as the base and the M80 and M9 as the other two sides.

Sure, it would cost millions, but, if done properly, with great road and rail access, it would be a winner. Maybe when we are Independent and thriving.

 Lesser Hampden, in the foreground, an ideal home for Queen's Park if the National Stadium was made fit for purpose

As far as I am aware, Queen's Park has maintained a controlling interest in Hampden – well, their committee way back there in the Victorian-Edwardian era, did have the vision to built it. But, it would have been far-better, I feel, if, like Cardiff Rugby Club with the Arms Park, Queen's Park had moved their club games to an upgraded Lesser Hampden and allowed the main ground to be properly modernised.

Of course, back when it was upgraded, in the 1980s, there was no way a Tory government, led by Maggie Thatcher, was ever going to fund a new national stadium for those subsidy junkie “Sweaties”.

At the end of the day, what happens over Hampden will be down to the suits in the SFA, so, I dare say we will bumble along as we are, with an inadequate, out-dated stadium, which mirrors the body running Scottish football.

But, that's news management for you. If we are speaking about Hampden, the ground, we are not looking as hard as the product served-up inside it.

THIS BLOG has long held the view, Wullie Collum is a far-better referee in Europe, than he is in the domestic Scottish game. Perhaps because, having been attending UEFA and FIFA refereeing seminars since he was barely out of short trousers, Oor Wullie is more au-fait with European practices than Scottish ones.

Wullie Collum, had an easy night in Barcelona

His standing within UEFA and FIFA was demonstrated this week, when he got the plumb Champions League gig of Barcelona v Olympiacos, in Barcelona. If I was being cynical and facetious, I might ask what the beleaguered people of Catalunya did to deserve him – bad enough to be up to their armpits in an independence campaign, and being threatened on all sides by the forces of a near-Fascist Spanish government, then they get Wullie Collum as a ref.

Because this Tory Toerag was copping all the flak

Wullie sent-off Gerard Pique, apparently correctly, and, in all he had an easy night, because he had a great diversion, in having Douglas Ross MP as his second assistant. The Hon. Member for Moray is, apparently, a rising star in the Scottish Conservative party – which I think means he can tie his shoe laces unsupervised, stands for GSTQ and knows the words to the Sash.

He was assisting Wullie at the same time as his colleagues back at his Westminster day job were abstaining on a motion against the Tories imposition of Universal Credit. I see Mr Ross going far in the refereeing world – he seems a right charmer.

A wee heads-up to the Green Brigade – Douglas Ross is on-duty for your Betfred Cup semi-final with Hibs this weekend. With your social conscience, give him a warm welcome boys.

1 comment:

  1. I too was struck by Willie's handling of the Barca games. How come he lost it at Ross on Saturday then? Can we have him transferred to Europe...?