I watch a lot of YouTube videos in bed at night in an attempt to lull myself to sleep. I have mixed results with this tactic. It sometimes works if I am in the mood to listen to some soft rock, but most of the time I opt for punk rock bands of the 70’s or Britpop anthems from the 90’s.These tracks only serve to energise me, but last night I found myself having to make the conscious decision to turn off my tv in the wee small hours of the morning. I had been watching the vlogs of Footy Adventures, which I would heartily recommend to those of you who are interested in football stadiums and architecture.
I stopped watching one video where our knowledgeable guide was visiting all 42 football league grounds in Scotland. I did not want to switch this off, but if anyone needs their beauty sleep then it is me.
These vlogs reminded me of a series of articles that I was sharing with my blog readers, back in 2015/16.
Between 2002-2008 I was Scottish Correspondent for the wonderfully professional Groundtastic – The Football Grounds Magazine. I can not speak highly enough of the editors and contributors to this glossy magazine that is jam-packed with interesting information and photographic gold.
I haven’t been a subscriber to the magazine since my marriage imploded in 2008 and I was forced to leave Scotland. Since then my dexterity has deteriorated to such an extent that I now find it impossible to simply thumb through a magazine.
Imagine my excitement then when I visited the Groundtastic website to discover that they now have a digital edition available I’ll definitely be subscribing.
Anyway, over the next few months I will be sharing a number of articles that I penned during my time North of the Border, including my regular Scots Scene news round-up of potential football ground developments and improvements. The following is from Spring 2006 and it will be evident to ground enthusiasts and football fans just how much has changed from the era in which it was written…
To view the previous Scots Scene articles that I wrote in Winter 2002, Spring 2003, Summer 2003, Autumn 2003, Winter 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004 , Autumn 2004, Winter 2004, Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Autumn 2005 and Winter 2005, click here.
Enjoy a short step back in time.
During March, legislation will be introduced banning smoking in public places throughout Scotland. This will finally put an end to watching games through clouds of cigarette smoke and smelling like an ashtray after 90 minutes of watching football. Smoking at Hampden has been prohibited since January while Ibrox will be totally non-smoking on 26 March, the day the new law comes in. Meanwhile, fans at Celtic Park will be unable to smoke there from 1 April, the first home game after the law takes effect.
David Kells, managing director of Hampden Park, said: “Hundreds of thousands of football fans go through the doors of Hampden over the course of the year. We felt we should start 2006 with this positive health message and support the lead given by the Scottish Executive on this important initiative by introducing this policy from 4 January.”
CELTIC have received outline-planning permission to build a new training ground north of Glasgow. East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board have authorised the club to build on a site in Lennoxtown. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell told the club website it was “excellent news and a very positive step forward”. “Lennoxtown is presently our preferred location for the club’s new training facility and we hope to make a decision within the next few months,” he added. The council judged that Celtic would bring “physical, economic and social benefits” to the Lennoxtown area. Celtic intend to build a training academy, hostel accommodation for young players, and six full-scale pitches.
Meanwhile, the Boxing Day contest between Celtic and Livingston was delayed by more than 45 minutes after a power cut in the east end of Glasgow plunged Celtic Park into darkness.
FALKIRK are demanding the return of cash invested in the Little Kerse training facility after being evicted by owners Innovene. Innovene made its decision after Falkirk youth player Craig Gowans died when equipment he was carrying connected with an overhead power cable. As a result, the club was fined £4000 for a breach of Health and Safety regulations. Falkirk are currently training at Stirling University, as reported in GT 43
A club statement read: “We are at a loss to know why we are not welcome. However, if we are not be partners, we have a legitimate expectation that our investment should be returned.” The Bairns had been poised to fund a full-size floodlit synthetic pitch that would have rivalled the much-lauded facilities at Rangers’ Murray Park and Hearts’ Riccarton training ground. “We were in the final stages of putting the necessary security in place to allow the club to make the commitment when Innovene decided that the club was not to be part of the future,” said their statement. Innovene, BP’s new Chicago-based olefins and derivatives subsidiary, inherited Little Kerse, formerly the site of the firm’s social club, from its parent company.
“As part of our initial commitment to the Little Kerse Trust, the club made a six-figure cash investment, and an in-kind contribution to improve the grass playing areas,” said Falkirk FC. “The investment was bound in a written commitment from the landowners, BP, that the club would have access to the site for a period of between 10 and 15 years. As we have spent only two years using the site, we have asked Innovene to return part of our investment. The money could then be re-invested in a similar project elsewhere in the district that might allow the club to return from Stirling for training purposes. So far, Innovene have been unwilling to refund our investment, but we hope they will give further consideration to our request.”
Falkirk stressed that Little Kerse had not only been used by their first team but also their youth teams and the local community. The club also pointed out that BP’s sponsorship of their school of football had run for four years and is due to expire at the end of the season. “It is our hope that Innovene will continue to support the club, and community, by renewing their sponsorship agreement,” added its statement. Little Kerse has the potential to be a fantastic facility that can serve the employees of Innovene and the wider community for many years. We could have played a key role in achieving that objective.”
Meanwhile, Falkirk are poised to reveal their chosen design to complete their stadium with a 12,000 capacity. The stadium, which opened last year, presently has two permanent stands with a capacity of 6100, plus a temporary one containing 735 seats. Falkirk invited firms to submit bids, which are currently being assessed.
Falkirk Stadium chief executive Peter Eadie said: “We hope to be in a position in the very near future to announce our chosen developer.” Falkirk’s vision is for four stands and “four corner pods that will not only provide increased seating capacity for football and sporting events but also provide space for a mix of commercial and community opportunities”. The club seem poised to reveal a timetable for the completion of the stadium. “This is an exciting time for the Falkirk Stadium,” Eadie told the club website. “The board of directors and I are extremely encouraged by the ideas and enthusiasm several key developers have shown in our site.”
Future development of the south and east areas would increase the capacity to around 12,000 in a bowl-like stadium
INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE chairman David Sutherland has vowed to approach the Highland Council to propose a joint venture to transform Caledonian Stadium into a world class sports and entertainment venue. “We have no firm proposals to put to the council, but we have an aspiration to upgrade the stadium and make it a facility which can benefit the city and the whole Highlands in terms of being a venue for sporting, entertainment and cultural events. We hope that during the course of 2006 we can work up proposals,” said Sutherland.
PARTICK THISTLE have applied for planning permission to build holding cells at Firhill Stadium. A spokeswoman said: “We can assure supporters they’ll only be for fans arrested at games.”
Meanwhile, the club have closed the Main Stand at Firhill to the general public on match days. Thistle’s website stated: “This decision has been taken to save money, as the reduction in police and stewarding costs will be significant.” Holders of tickets for the directors box, sponsors area and lounges will remain in the Main Stand. Supporters now have the option of using the Jackie Husband Stand (capacity 6,263) or the North Stand (capacity 2,014).
The future of Stark’s Park has been ensured after a £1.3m community takeover of RAITH ROVERS was completed. Controlling interest in the Second Division club and the stadium has been transferred to the new Raith Rovers consortium after previous owners, West City Developments, threatened to shut the ground if a buyer wasn’t found.
Highland League side CLACHNACUDDIN will practice on Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s former training ground following a decision to lease the land – in the Dalneigh area of the city – to the part timers. Provost William Smith called for an extra condition to be inserted into the lease to prevent players from parking their cars on surrounding grassland. Meanwhile, councillor Peter Corbett asked: “Can’t we make it half the old rent – Clach aren’t as rich as Caley Thistle?” The district valuer will set the rent at market value at a later date.