Donald Macleod: Build a better Hampden, and Scotland will start to believe in itself again

Hampden Park (SNS)

AS comfortable as sitting on a bed of nails, and with seating as far from the action as that of a military drone pilot.

That’s Hampden Park, Scotland’s National Football Stadium.

A national embarrassment, more like, that is in a league of its own when it comes to bad transport, bad parking and bad catering.

A sporting carbuncle that’s so lacking in atmosphere you wonder if it was revamped by a group of schoolchildren who would put screen doors on submarines rather than the select team of lottery-funded architects who actually did the work.

No matter, what is now abundantly clear, 18 years since that renovation, is that unlike the builders of the original stadium, these jokers knew absolutely nothing about football stadiums, specifically the atmosphere and excitement that they should capture.

But with all that criticism, should Hampden be kicked into touch to become a footnote in footballing history and replaced by Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish Rugby?

No way. It might be a dump, but Hampden is our dump.

The majority of Scottish football fans, especially those from my generation with rose-tinted glasses, can remember the great club and international games of the past.

Hampden Park should not be replaced. It is sacrilege to even suggest it.

The stadium is as much as part of Glasgow as George Square and the River Clyde.

As part of Scotland as the Loch Ness monster or Edinburgh Castle.

It generates millions of pounds not just from football, but sporting events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and concerts by the likes of The Rolling Stones, U2, Eminem, Oasis and Take That for the city and local economy.

From that point alone it should it should be afforded some respect, not threatened with extinction.

If the SFA number crunchers don’t like Hampden, then I suggest it’s not the stadium that’s not fit for purpose, but them and they should be run out the door before they do any more damage.

Rip it up and start again. Build a new, all-singing, all-dancing 100,000 capacity stadium.

One that pays homage to past glories, players and managers but which is also embraced and loved by the players and the fans alike.

One which, like the SSE Hydro, will attract even more global events and concerts.

The SFA should get off their backsides and start raising the money required to build a new stadium.

And when completed they should then rename it The Ally MacLeod National Football Stadium.

Ally was a true legend of the game, an inspiring man who passionately believed in Scottish Football and who, in 1978, transformed this nation, and for a short spell had it believing in itself.

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