Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Autumn 2006

Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Autumn 2006

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 Autumn 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, Spring 2006 and Summer 2006, click here.

Enjoy a short step back in time.


Shareholders have approved ABERDEEN Football Club’s financial map for the future, which hinges on the sale of Pittodrie Stadium. Additional borrowing and investment has been secured, conditional on the sale of Pittodrie and the division of the club into two companies – one company running the football operation and the other in charge of the stadium. Aberdeen’s two major shareholders have agreed to lend £2m to the club to ease debts as part of the plan to move to a new stadium. The Stewart Milne Group and Aberdeen Asset Management have agreed to lend the £2m and also give £450,000 of additional undertakings to the bank. This would be used to reduce the existing £9m debt between now and March 2011. But, to obtain the improved terms from the bank, Aberdeen agreed to separate their football activities from the ownership of the stadium.

To wipe out the debt, the land Pittodrie sits on – valued at £15m – would be sold for development and the club would move into a proposed community-owned stadium, leased from Aberdeen City Council. Pittodrie executive director Duncan Fraser said he believed the new structure was the best solution to tackling the club’s debt, securing the club’s future, and was reliant on selling Pittodrie and moving to a new stadium.  “Ultimately, this new structure is reliant on selling Pittodrie and moving to a new stadium. I would think the fans would realise that it is and the feedback we have had so far has been positive. By 2011, it would be nice to be in a new stadium and that is the timescale we are looking at. The stadium is hemmed in and we cannot expand it, so we need to find a new home. We need to look at an alternative, but we cannot look at a football stadium that is only used 22 times or so a season – that is not an option. Our preferred solution is to become the lead tenant of a community stadium,” said Fraser. “The club will continue to work closely with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and other partners to evaluate potential sites and the feasibility of such a facility. The council have given approval to a feasibility study, so we hope it goes ahead,” concluded Fraser.


A fox appears to be invading the Falkirk Stadium at night and destroying FALKIRK’S pitch. The club have already sought advice from the RSPCA but are now appealing to the general public for help. The pitch, once regarded as one of the best in Scotland, has already suffered this year after a fungus hit the turf in January. A club spokesman said: “We have a nocturnal intruder who is causing great distress to the ground staff by digging holes all over the pitch.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

HEARTS have confirmed that their first Champions League campaign will be played at Murrayfield instead of their own stadium at Tynecastle. The Jambos entered the competition at the second qualifying stage. Hearts chair Roman Romanov said: “One of our main considerations has been how we accommodate so many supporters. Despite the attractions of Tynecastle, we expect large numbers of fans.” Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby, holds 67,500 – nearly 50,000 more than Tynecastle.  Hearts played their home UEFA Cup games there two years ago because Tynecastle failed to meet criteria for European ties. Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie added: “We are pleased to be able to offer our first-class facilities here at Murrayfield for Hearts’ European matches and are keen to utilise Murrayfield as a venue for excellence in sporting, leisure and entertainment business in Scotland.” Meanwhile, architects AFL-UK, who worked for Manchester United and Chelsea, will design the new Tynecastle main stand.


HIBERNIAN have announced plans for a new training complex, having agreed the purchase of land in East Lothian. Hibs will pay £636,000 for the farmland, which is a twenty-minute drive from Easter Road Stadium.  Should planning permission be granted for the East Mains project, Hibs hope to have the facility up and running for pre-season training in 2007. The 36-acre site will eventually include up to 10 full size grass pitches, a gym, treatment area, an indoor short-sided synthetic pitch and specialist training areas. “This development will mean we will have a base to work from in producing better players and better teams,” said Easter Road manager Tony Mowbray.


DUNDEE Football Club has announced a major restructuring which hopes to raise up to £500,000. Owners Peter and Jimmy Marr will give up their controlling shareholding and absorb millions of pounds of club debt. The announcement will also see Dens Park stadium coming under the ownership of a charitable trust. The Dark Blues will have a secure lease for the ground. But even after the move, the club warned that it must continue to operate on a break-even basis. The Marr brothers will sell most of their shareholding in the club, retaining only 26% under the restructuring plan. Proceeds from the sale of the shares will not go to them but will be reinvested directly back into the club. It is hoped that the raising of new capital, combined with current debt being restructured and removed from the club balance sheet, will leave Dundee FC on a better financial footing.


Scottish League clubs have taken drastic steps to protect their pitches. Players will not be allowed to start their pre-match warm-up until 45 minutes before kick-off and it should not last more than 30 minutes.


PARTICK THISTLE have been denied permission to redevelop Firhill with a new 1,000 seater family stand. Plans to add the seating as well as 41 flats and 2,520 square metres of office accommodation have been turned down by Glasgow City Council. Chairman Brown McMaster told the club website: “We are extremely surprised and disappointed by the decision.”


ARBROATH have added new safety barriers at the Harbour End of their Gayfield ground, which will increase the capacity by around 200.


STENHOUSEMUIR have laid a new plastic pitch at Ochilview. The club believe the FIFA-approved ‘two-star’ synthetic surface is one of the best of its kind in Britain. The pitch took six weeks to install and it was first used for a pre-season friendly against Ayr United on July 12.


Highland League outfit NAIRN COUNTY have moved a step closer to their ambition of building a new stadium after a sports dinner generated £25,000. As a result, chairman Peter Mackintosh revealed the club was now making approaches to public funding agencies with a view to either redeveloping Station Park or relocating to a new purpose built stadium. “At the moment we are severely constrained by the lack of facilities at Station Park and if we can tap into the funding that is available from the public agencies, I believe we could redevelop our existing ground or relocate by 2010,” said Mackintosh. 


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