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Leafy suburb split on Celtic Murrayfield invasion

Murrayfield has been used for football matches, as when Hearts played Barcelona. Picture: SNS Group

Murrayfield has been used for football matches, as when Hearts played Barcelona. Picture: SNS Group

  • by RORY REYNOLDS
 

RESIDENTS and business owners near Scotland’s national rugby stadium are bracing themselves for a decision which could see two major football fixtures on their doorstep next year.

People living in the leafy Edinburgh suburb of Murrayfield say the possible influx of up to 67,000 Celtic and away fans would be a huge boost to the local economy – but a number say they are concerned about behaviour of supporters and the mess they might create.

The potential fixtures, which would be held next summer, would be among the biggest football games played in the city.

As The Scotsman reported yesterday, the Glasgow side is considering using Murrayfield Stadium because Celtic Park will be unavailable during next year’s Champions League home qualifiers. Celtic’s home ground will host the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 23 July and it is expected to take weeks to get the pitch ready for football again, while Glasgow’s two other biggest sports venues of Hampden and Ibrox will welcome crowds for Games events.

Celtic know the second and third qualifying rounds will have to be held away from their home stadium – if they claim the Scottish title this season. The games would be held mid-week.

Local residents and traders yesterday said they were “concerned” about the amount of noise, rubbish and the number of football fans such a fixture would generate. But many local traders said they would welcome the extra business..

Lynn Mouat, 34, a bartender at the nearby Roseburn Bar, said: “Whenever Celtic play Hearts at Tynecastle they often come in here and are great fans, very well behaved, and that mostly goes for other sides as well.

“However, some businesses aren’t so keen. Tesco across the road has put on extra security or even closed sometimes, as has the Murrayfield Bar.”

Tiler Michael Mackenzie, 53, a regular at the bar, added: “It would be a great game and would help the guys that own shops and bars here. But not all the locals have the same view and you can occasionally get fans relieving themselves in gardens.”

Sophie Winton, 19, a student living opposite the stadium, said it was concerts rather than sporting events that had been associated with trouble.

She said: “People around here might be worried but there is very little trouble with rugby or football games. The stadium concerts such as Oasis have tended to be far worse.”

And another local householder, a mother-of-three, said: “We still talk about that Oasis gig in 2009. We awoke to so many broken bottles and so much rubbish it looked almost like a war zone.”

One cyclist, who asked not to be named, said however: “It’s a family stadium and it’s not designed to keep two sides apart. ”

Sinasi Unluturk, 52, who runs the Ben Hur chip shop near Murrayfield, said he expected a huge boost in trade.

He said: “We would be very pleased to see the Champions League come here. When Celtic and other teams come here they’re great fans, very polite. I would expect to sell three times the number of fish suppers, chips and so on. The whole community would benefit.”

An SRU spokesman said no formal offer had been made yet but that “we’re in the business of bringing major events to Murrayfield, Scotland’s biggest sports stadium, provided they can run corroboratively alongside our core business of rugby”.

No date has been given for when a decision on the venue will be made.

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SRU would welcome Celtic at Murrayfield

 

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