Residents tell SFA Hampden must remain home of football

The majority of local residents would oppose a move away from Hampden by the SFA. Picture: John Devlin.
The majority of local residents would oppose a move away from Hampden by the SFA. Picture: John Devlin.
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The matters requiring the urgent attention of Ian Maxwell mean the new SFA chief executive has been met with a stuffed in-tray. In it, shortly, there will be a letter from Mount Florida Community Council making the case for retaining Hampden as the home for Scotland internationals and the closing stages of cup competitions that is rarely considered.

Mount Florida Co-Co member Judith Pollock has become tired of the dissing of Hampden as a venue when set against its rival Murrayfield for housing major Scottish football occasions post-2020. She and her fellow council members are also keen to challenge the perception of Hampden being tolerated under duress by local residents. The attitude of the majority of those that live within the environs of Hampden appears to be the very opposite of nimbyism.

“It would be an absolute disaster for our area if we lost Hampden,” she said. “It is a hugely important part of the fabric of Glasgow’s southside, and supports many businesses. We carry out local surveys and one conducted a few years ago found that the attitude to Hampden was generally positive.

“There is a buzz when a major Scotland game or a concert is held there. These concerts, which wouldn’t be able to be held in Glasgow if Hampden wasn’t operational because the length of the football season would rule out them going to Celtic Park or Ibrox, are worth up to £10 million for the local economy.

“I sometimes think that people don’t realise how much work has gone into improving the protocols and arrangements that mean local residents aren’t overly-inconvenienced.

“You always hear about parking issues and problems with how people conduct themselves going to these events, but we have worked closely with Hampden Park Ltd to get good systems in place. That ranges from parking permits for local residents introduced when football was played there during the London 2012 Olympics, to an increase in Portaloos in the vicinity of the stadium.

“We only hear about how great Murrayfield is but it has never been tested in terms of dealing with the security issues involved in ferrying rival fans there by public transport. Unlike in Edinburgh, we have two train stations – Mount Florida and Kings Park – which can ensure separate entry points. There is only one tram line to Murrayfield.

“Hampden is part of our neighbourhood, I’ve watched many great games in great atmospheres there and I think the people that run it have really developed their event management.”

These views are echoed by Mount Florida Community Council chair Chris Carus. In a letter setting out the measures that have been taken to ensure the summer concerts by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce and Jay-Z are “the best they can be for both fans and residents alike” he said. “MoFloCoCo reflects the majority view of local residents that Hampden Park is a valuable asset for Mount Florida due to the economic benefits and our pride in its heritage.

“The local shopping area would find it even harder to survive without the turnover they get from events.

“We support efforts to retain Hampden as the home of Scottish football and as Scotland’s fixture on the global stadium concert circuit. We view with concern the SFA’s deliberations regarding its potential relocation away from Hampden.”