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Photo: M. Ali

Visit Hampden Park – and experience football history

Emdad Rahman explores the Scottish National Museum and Hampden Park.

The football heritage of Glasgow is unparalleled. Football romantics will be hard pressed to find a story to match that of the Lisbon Lions, born within 30 miles of Parkhead and who went on to lift Britain’s first European Cup. There’s also the Quality Street Gang, about whom I’m reading a book by Paul John Dykes. It’s about arguably the finest collection of talented youngsters to come through the ranks at Celtic – boasting, among many, the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay and Danny McGrain.

Glasgow Rangers hold the record (54) for the most league title wins in the world. I visit once or twice every season. It’s a giant of a club, made up of giant people. I’m always welcome there and the sheer sense of history and achievement never fails to sparkle and inspire each time I visit Ibrox. It’s a spine tingling experience.

Glasgow is also home to the Scottish Football Museum and Hampden Park. This superb stadium is home to Queen’s Park – the only fully amateur football side in the Scottish Professional Football League. It also hosts Gordon Strachan’s Scotland national team and the Tartan Army.

As an exhibition, the museum is amongst the top three attractions in Scotland and the first in Glasgow to receive the prestigious Five Star accolade from VisitScotland. There are 14 galleries and on entry visitors are greeted by a tribute and homage to the very first game between Scotland and England in 1872. It was in fact the very first international football game in history, and the showpiece encounter was staged at the West of Scotland Cricket Club’s pitch in Partick. Four thousand boisterous fans watched a competitive draw as both teams went home with honours even.

Photo: M. Ali

Photo: M. Ali

There’s a host of historical shirts, the European Cup, memorabilia from Scottish football greats, and a tribute to Zinedine Zidane’s magnificent volley for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen to win the 2002 Champions League final.  There is also a life sized re-enactment of an iconic moment in Scottish football – Archie Gemmill’s wonder goal against Holland in the 1978 World Cup. It’s a magical memory of the night the pint sized attacking midfield schemer cut the Dutch defence to shreds. Gemmill’s silky mazy run cleared three Dutch defenders before a deft chip left Jan Jongloed clutching air. It was voted the goal of the tournament, Scotland’s greatest goal and is recognised as one of the most memorable moments in the history of the World Cup. Gemmill won 43 caps for Scotland and has even seen his solo magic celebrated courtesy of a celebratory jig in a modern dance sequence performed by 200 school children at Hampden Park. Visitors also get a chance to spend time in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame which is a permanent feature in the Scottish Football Museum to honour the truly great players, managers and officials who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and have made a significant contribution to Scotland’s football reputation through their skill, spirit and determination.

The Hall of Fame has quickly established itself as a “must see” for every true football fan and everyone involved in this great game. As one walks through over 100 years of history it is impressive how Scottish football has risen in world football from very humble beginnings.  The Museum’s galleries transport the visitor from the 19th century beginnings to the modern day.

We finished with a look at the dressing rooms, where I got to sit in what was Mario Gotze’s seat when world champions Germany last visited Hampden. We had a quick chat with the Queen’s Park manager Gus McPherson and had a wander pitch side and in the media seats and stands. In between I was able to prove my worth as a real Hampden Hotshot as my laser guided penalty in the Hotshots Gallery struck home. Although our tour guide Stephen may disagree I believe my thunder strike would have made True Blue Jorg Albertz proud.

To cap the day we took our place with the home crowd to watch Queen’s Park take on Peterhead in the Petrofac Cup Semi Final. Alas, a home win was not on the cards as Peterhead won 2-1 to reach their very fist senior cup final (see match report, https://eastlondonnews.co.uk/peterhead-create-history-to-reach-petrofac-training-cup-final/).

For more information, including opening hours, contact:
The Scottish Football Museum, Hampden Park, Glasgow G42 9BA tel. 0141-616 6139 email: info@scottishfootballmuseum.org.uk



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