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Scott Brown has slaughtered the Hampden pitch

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As I said above it was started by Queens Park who play in Glasgow. I believe I read somewhere Queens Park were also declared World Champions at one time. They beat the best English team at that time.


I remember hearing they went 5 years without losing a match.

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This is a fuss over nothing.


The stadium, pitch et cetera will never be perfect. You can more or less guarantee that any alternative will have problems too.


Any money spent on an alternative should come from Scottish Football, not the government. Does the S.F.A., or the S.P.F.L., think it would be a wise investment?

Edited by ranger_syntax
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I was fortunate enough to live in Crosshill, just off Victoria Road, then Shawlands, so I could walk to Ibrox, Cathkin Park and Hampden. Have many fond memories of Hampden both for internationals and Rangers cup games. Still think it would be a pity for Hampden to be replaced, and I don't remember complaints about the Hampden pitch before the stadium was rebuilt.

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This is a fuss over nothing.


The stadium, pitch et cetera will never be perfect. You can more or less guarantee that any alternative will have problems too.


Any money spent on an alternative should come from Scottish Football, not the government. Does the S.F.A., or the S.P.F.L., think it would be a wise investment?


The SG recently released its latest GERS figures which showed Scotland is currently running at an annual £15bn deficit.

Does anyone seriously believe there is money for a new publicly-funded national football stadium?

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Is it time to move Scotland games and major finals away from the less than perfect Hampden Park?


THE Scottish Football Association have until 2020 to prove they are not blind to a perpetual problem and choose one of the following three options to prevent, in the words of Scott Brown, Hampden Park's pitch making our game a laughing stock.


They could move some if not all their games, both cup semi-finals, finals and internationals, away from the national stadium to a venue with a surface that doesn't have to be continually relaid, sometimes a matter of weeks before a genuinely big match.


They somehow talk Queen’s Park into leaving what has been their home since 1903, meaning Hampden hosting far less games every season, which would obviously give the grass more time to recover.


Or nothing changes and far too often someone such as Brown, and now Mark Warburton has waded into the debate, will rant about a pitch which was once viewed as the best in the country.


The SFA’s lease with Hampden is up in four years. Between then and now things have to change because what is the point of having a national football stadium when it isn't fit for purpose?


Let’s take the last option first; that is never going to happen. Queen’s literally own the ground and are not about to fall on their swords and flit just so every time a showpiece match comes to Mount Florida the grass is lovely and lush.


And, therefore, the existing problems will continue as the Hampden groundstaff struggle to maintain a pitch on which Queen’s Park play 20-plus matches on it as well as the many other fixtures every single season.


Brown name-dropped Murrayfield, which now has a highly successful hybrid turf, as having a better pitch on which to play football, a damning verdict if there ever was one.


We understand the Scottish Rugby Union are open to the idea of hosting football matches and, indeed, there are some within Hampden who believe this scenario is worth discussing. It is not as unlikely as many would think.


So could moving to the home of Scottish rugby be an answer?


Hampden’s capacity is a fraction under 52,000 while Murrayfield has 15,000 more seats at 67,144. For certain cup matches, particularly a Glasgow derby such as the one coming up, and major Scotland games, for example England in the next World Cup qualifying campaign, a sell-out is guaranteed and would bring much needed income to the SFA who do not have limitless funds given it has been 18 years since the last time we were at a major finals.


An extra 15,000 tickets at roughly £30 a pop raises £450,000, which surely would make up for whatever rent was paid to the SRU with plenty left over.


Three years ago, Murrayfield spent £1.25m on Desso GrassMaster hybrid grass. It is a 100% natural grass pitch reinforced by millions of artificial turf fibres, plastic roots if you will, which means the surface can take three times as much action as a normal pitch.


The boast is that the Desso has a faster recovery than natural grass alone and that it can be used intensively, hosting more than 40 fixtures in a season, without having to be repaired.


Hampden could/should make the same investment. If they don't, if that kind of money is too rich for them, then it is harder to argue for the status quo.


Another consideration is Oriam, Scotland's soon-to-be opened state-of-the-art sports centre, based at Heriot Watt University, a couple of postcodes from Murrayfield. It is where Gordon Strachan's squad will train during the World Cup campaign. They are going to be in Edinburgh anyway.


Only 18,000 were in attendance to watch the Denmark game which gives strength to the argument that friendlies and even some qualifiers should be moved to Tynecastle, about to be revamped, Easter Road and Pittodrie.


Do this and play more semi-finals elsewhere - Hibernian and St Johnstone met earlier this season at a packed Tynecastle, although that was under the guise of the SPFL - and staying at Hampden would be less problematic.


Or Queen’s Park could take one of the team, as it were.


Lesser Hampden sits right beside the stadium and while it would need a bit of upgrading to host a senior club's home fixtures, given that the third division side's average crowds are just 450 it would not need a fortune spent on it.


Graeme Shields, a member of Queen's Park since 1994 and the man who organises the supporters’ buses insisted that was a non-starter.


“It is important to remember, and this is not insignificant, that Queen’s Park own Hampden and so why should we not play our home games at our home ground,” he said. “And going back to 1999, when the stadium was redeveloped, Queen’s Park made the second largest contribution. We pay our way.


“It does seem to be that the pitch cuts up just before a big game. It was perfect leading up to the League Cup semi-final between Celtic and Ross County. Then it snowed and we had to turn on the undersoil heating, we then played Montrose and that game destroyed the pitch.


“I believe the weather is going to be dreadful before our home match (against Stirling Albion this Saturday) and next up is the Petrofac Cup Final, then two Scottish cup semi-finals over the following weekend.


“Does the Hibs-Dundee United really have to take place 24 hours before the Old Firm match? Couldn’t they have moved it? We have our fixtures released in July so it’s not as if the SFA don’t know when we are playing and then could perhaps move their games around us.”


If we are to continue with a national stadium, the official home of Scottish football, then something has to give.


Showpiece matches should not be played on a brown grass surface which makes you hanker for red ash, the SFA should not in 2016 have to be mindful of an amateur side's fixtures when they set-out their own plans.


And our top teams, the best players should have the best pitch to perform on. It just might be time for Scotland and Hampden to consciously uncouple.



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Throw some ash and cinders on it, never done me any harm, no unless you count the black tattoo stains on my knees, which btw the wife thought was a birth mark till i explained poor folk didn't have the luxury of grass parks. Her actual words were '' oh dear how traumatic''


Yes i remember getting the old nail brush down my thigh to get the black ash out. At school we had the luxury of red gravel pitches up at Blairdardie. I remember one game on a cold Saturday morning we were getting pounded with large hail stones. I made a slide tackle to block a shot. My legs were red from the cold and hail stones. Red from the blood from a gravel rash and I had mouldmaster dimples embedded on my thigh. Yes those were the days.

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