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 Summer 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, Winter 2005, and Spring 2006 click here.
Enjoy a short step back in time.
Politicians who investigated the state of football in Scotland believe a youth action plan and regional sports facilities are key to the revival of the nation’s fortunes. The idea of nationally funded football academies has been rejected and youth football will instead be developed through a series of regional football facilities. Football must wait on a sportscotland audit, which was due in May, designed to help map the future for facilities available for all sports around the country before formulating its own next step. But MSP Alex Neil is confident that the game can be revitalised and take Scotland’s national team back among the top-ranked sides in the world. “It was felt that an investigation was required to look at the future of football and, in particular, what the public sector could do to help the game both nationally and internationally,” said the convenor of the enterprise and culture committee. “I think our main concern was with the future of facilities. If you look at what’s happened down south, for example, the Premiership in England is putting a lot of money into new facilities, much funded by the UK government. For us to stay up with the game, we have to invest heavily in new facilities. “
CELTIC have been given detailed planning permission for their proposed new training facility and sports academy to the north of Glasgow. A club spokesman said: “This is a significant step towards the realisation of Lennoxtown as the new training facility. However, we still have to resolve several issues before we give the final go ahead.” The 50-acre site is in the grounds of the former Lennox Castle Hospital. Celtic announced the multi-million pound plan in July 2005 and received outline planning permission in December. The club presently train at Barrowfield in the East End of Glasgow but the new complex could be operational within a year and will feature three full-size pitches, one full-size artificial pitch, an indoor training area, goalkeeping training areas, a gym, fitness suite and medical facilities. There will also be a sports science centre, education facility, and administration and media offices. This will be funded by the club’s last share issue, which raised £15 million.
FALKIRK are progressing with plans to complete the Falkirk Stadium. The stadium only has two stands and one temporary structure at the moment but there is a developer in place to work on the next phase of development. Chief executive Peter Eadie said: “We have a first class facility but it is important we continue the excellent work that has gone before”. The completed stadium will include four stands, four corner pods and other infrastructure.
HEARTS will remain at Tynecastle for the start of the 2006-07 season – but have left the door open for a move to Murrayfield. The Jambos have confirmed that work on a new main stand will not begin in the summer. They have refused to set a date but are continuing talks with the SRU in case they are given the go-ahead to build during the season. Hearts plan to host their European matches at Tynecastle but are keeping Murrayfield as an option. A club spokesman said: “We will continue to play our games at Tynecastle until further notice”. The major stumbling block to Hearts’ plans to redevelop the Main Stand revolve around their bid to buy council-owned land next to the ground, which is home to a nursery. However, the club owner Vladimir Romanov, is ready to pay £1.8 million for the site and £1.5 million to re-house the nursery.
INVERNESS CT will build a fourth stand at Caledonian Stadium, but only if they manage to stay in the SPL for season 2008-09. ICT vice-chairman Graeme Bennett said: “We do not have plans to put a new stand in immediately but it is something we will look to do if we stay in the SPL beyond next year. This is the first full season in which we have had stands behind both goals and it has been a tremendous success. If it continued to be viable, a fourth stand would be put in and it would be similar to the two we erected last year”.
RANGERS are set to splash out £2 million on a redevelopment of Ibrox that will make room for another 700 season ticket holders. Bulldozers will move in immediately after the final home game of the season to begin work on the extension to the Govan Stand. A new cantilever construction will be added between the existing top and bottom tiers of the stand. Included for fans that snap up the £900-a-season seats in the new section will be membership of a pub, named Bar ’72 in honour of Rangers European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, which will also be built into the Govan Stand. In addition, another 100 new prime season ticket seats will be made available in the Main Stand in place of the current press box, which is being relocated. The work will increase the capacity of Ibrox to 51,200. Chief executive Martin Bain described the work as the beginning of a proposed phased expansion over the coming seasons.
ST MIRREN have withdrawn their request for the SPL to waive the requirement for undersoil heating at their Love Street home next season. The First Division champions will instead be granted a period of grace for the work to be undertaken. SPL rules stipulate all teams must have undersoil heating but St Mirren had hoped to avoid the installation, which will cost in the region of £175,000, as they plan on moving at the end of 2006/07. The Paisley side aim to sell their Love Street Stadium and relocate nearby but continue to negotiate with at least two potential buyers but are holding out for a higher valuation of the land and, therefore, cannot begin to implement plans for a new home. Previously, Livingston chairman Pearse Flynn had warned that he would object if the Buddies were granted promotion – at Livi’s expense – without installing undersoil heating.
GRETNA have been given the go-ahead to build a SPL compliant stadium at their current Raydale Park ground. The new 6,000-capacity ground will be completed in time for the start of 2007-08. Gretna moneyman Brookes Mileson had been forced to look at alternatives when initial proposals to develop the site were rejected. However, planning chiefs have now relented, meaning work could start this summer. “It’s what we wanted to do in the first place so I’m very happy. It will involve moving the pitch down towards where the car park is no,” said Mileson.
Meanwhile, MOTHERWELL will offer Gretna use of Fir Park if the Borders club need it for European games. The Raydale Park side’s feat in reaching the Scottish Cup final means they will be in the UEFA Cup if Hearts make the Champions League by finishing second in the SPL (still a possibility at the time of going to press). As Gretna’s ground does not meet UEFA stadium requirements, Motherwell have offered to help. Well general manager Russell Rodger said: “We’d give Gretna every assistance in letting them use our ground. The travelling distance isn’t too far and it has easy access from the motorway.”
The smoking ban in Scotland’s public places has not been strictly enforced everywhere. Most football clubs have followed the letter of the law but RAITH ROVERS have been taking liberties. During half time of an end of season league game against Morton at Stark’s Park, club stewards escorted around 50 fans to the side of the pitch in front of the South Stand for a cigarette. Just over 1,400 attended the game so the procedure was relatively safe but there are fears that this practice could get out of hand if attendances at Stark’s Park were to rise. Fife Council have suggested the club are making a rod for its own back and urged a tighter implication of the ban.