Glasgow Warriors declared a “new era” yesterday with the launch of a new badge just over a week after attracting a record Guinness Pro14 final attendance of 47,128 to their narrow 18-15 loss to Leinster at Celtic Park.
The club provided great detail about the creative process behind the rebrand, from the incorporation of the Glasgow District Rugby Union crest, a type font inspired by the Yarrow Clydeside shipyard to choosing a happy medium between “friendly and angry” on the new bearded Warrior that will emblazon the new kit and other merchandise heading into the new season.
The elephant in the room when contemplating Glasgow’s future, however, is how they capitalise on that huge turn-out at Parkhead, and what is now years of sustained sell-outs at Scotstoun, and cater for the growing numbers who are queuing up to sample the excellent atmosphere that has been built in the west of the city since the move from Firhill in 2012.
Managing director Nathan Bombrys was emphatic in insisting that his priority was to oversee an expansion at Scotstoun. He refused to rule out the possibility of a potential return to the 10,102-capacity home of Partick Thistle FC but couldn’t have been more resolute in expressing determination to get plans for redevelopment at Scotstoun over the line.
“We are committed to Scotstoun. We have a scheme set up with the city to develop something here at Scotstoun,” said the man from Michigan, who took the reins at the Warriors in 2011 just at the time when the move to Scotstoun from Firhill was being negotiated.
“It has been great for us, it has been fabulous, you can’t argue with how well Scotstoun has worked. Now we just need to evolve it and go to the next level.”
The obstacle to expansion has been the fact that the SRU lease Scotstoun from the city council’s leisure arm Glasgow Life and are bound by the constraints imposed by a running track around the now state-of-the-start 4G artificial pitch and the fact it is also used by the likes of Victoria Park Athletics Club and for other athletics events.
Grace has been given for temporary stands to go up at the end of the regular season just gone, during which which Scotstoun has attracted crowds of 10,000 for semi-finals and the 1872 Cup clash with Edinburgh.
“We’ve had really positive conversations with the athletics,” said Bombrys. “Part of what we’re trying to do is give them something that works for them too. They’ve been involved. So far their feedback to me has been really positive.
“Scotstoun is our home. I’m focused on a plan for Scotstoun.”
Bombrys agreed that the North Stand opposite the main stand had the most obvious potential for boosting capacity in a way that did not impose on the running track.
“The capacity there is 1,225. It’s small,” he said. “It is a sizeable structure but it is quite small in terms of capacity. There could be more efficient use of that space for sure.”
Bombrys admitted that no concrete plans or timeframes could be issued at this point.
“We don’t have everything lined up to do that yet,” he explained. “Once we do, we’ll be telling you about it. But the city have been very supportive partners. They are proud of the fact Glasgow Warriors have achieved the success they have playing out of one of their facilities.
“They hold it up as a real success story for the city and they are very firmly committed to being part of the next stage of our journey. They want that to be here at Scotstoun.
“[Upping capacity] is the next step, isn’t it? It is obvious to everyone. It is not just the number of supporters that want to come.
“We have a Warriors Nation waiting list. People are paying to be Warrior Nation members and be on a waiting list. It’s also the wider facilities here we would like to see improve.
“This site has worked well for us.
“We have a scheme that is really exciting and we have got to get all the partners and stakeholders tied up and we will be talking about that in near future.”
As Glasgow now head into a post-Stuart Hogg era, 12 months after losing fellow star man Finn Russell, and a World Cup season with all the squad management that will require, Bombrys insisted the future of the pro team was bright.
“For me that was the big takeaway from the final the other week,” he said of that landmark occasion.
“Seeing all the colour of the supporters and so many of them, that noise that they made in that stadium was impressive.
“I walked away saying, when I got over the rugby side of it, ‘we’ve got a lot of good supporters here’.”