Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Summer 2007

Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Summer 2007

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 2007 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, Summer 2006, Autumn 2006, Winter 2006 and Spring 2007, click here.

Enjoy a short step back in time.


HEARTS have taken another step towards expanding Tynecastle after getting the green light from Edinburgh City Council to buy land next to the stadium. The £6m purchase can go ahead after a proposal by Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Ponton to put the land sale on the open market was rejected. Hearts will now seek planning permission for the construction of a new main stand. A Hearts spokesman said: “This is a hugely significant landmark and a very big day for the club.” Hearts’ plans will take the stadium capacity to 26,000, and the club hope to expand further in the future. While this work is being carried out, Hearts intend to continue playing at Tynecastle instead of moving to Murrayfield as expected. “There’s a significant possibility Hearts will play in front of three stands during the proposed new main stand construction,” the spokesman continued. “The implication of playing in front of three stands for up to a season and a half is that there are unlikely to be many match-day ticket sales, if any, and the only way to guarantee being able to watch Hearts will be as a season-ticket holder. If it happens, this move would also have an implication on the number of away fans that we would be able to accommodate, but this is a matter we would address with other Bank of Scotland Premier League clubs in due course.”


INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE have decided not to enter the Intertoto Cup this season – thanks to Elton John. Inverness’ Director of football Graeme Bennett explained: “We’re withdrawing our interest in the Intertoto Cup. The cup dates clash with an Elton John concert at the stadium [July 15] which would’ve been a big issue. We were also left hanging on so late last year to find if we were in the Intertoto that we don’t want the same hassle.”


ST MIRREN hope to be playing in a new home at the start of the 2008/09 season. Renfrewshire Council have granted detailed planning permission for the new 8,000-seater arena in the Ferguslie Park area while a £15m deal to sell their St Mirren Park stadium to supermarket giants Tesco will clear the club’s £2m debt. St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour welcomed the short move to Greenhill Road. “We said from the start that the only way the club could survive in its present form and remain in Paisley would be to sell our ground for enough money to pay off our debts and build a new Premier League-standard stadium,” he said. “Thankfully, for the club, the fans, the players and the whole of Paisley and Renfrewshire this has now been achieved. We can look forward to a new era of financial stability and hopefully, the success on the park that stability can bring us.” St Mirren Park – or Love Street as it is more commonly known – has been the club’s home since 1895.

Meanwhile there was more good news for The Buddies when it was announced that the club is to get a new training base in Paisley after striking a deal with Renfrewshire Council to develop wasteland for club and community use. The Penilee playing fields will be redeveloped, with artificial turf and grass pitches being installed. A new pavilion will host community events and fitness classes, with the artificial park open to the public. The project is to cost around £3m and St Mirren will pay the council an annual rent and maintain the complex. The moving-in date has yet to be set, but manager Gus MacPherson told the club website: “It’s imperative that when you are making the demands on the players at this top level of Scottish football that you need top-class training facilities. We really couldn’t go on scratching about every morning trying to find somewhere to train. The lack of proper training facilities really is the biggest hindrance for a professional football club. With proper training facilities you are hoping that the benefits will be seen through better performances on the park. There is a huge difference to the tempo of the training and you can do much more in coaching players on a good playing surface.”


Shortly before we went to press, GRETNA won promotion to the SPL. As Raydale Park fails to meet SPL criteria the club has submitted an application to groundshare with Motherwell next season. Fir Park would become Gretna’s temporary home while work to transform Raydale into a modern 6,000-seater stadium takes place. Alternatively, it has been rumoured that the club owner Brookes Mileson may scrap plans to develop Raydale in favour of building a completely new stadium. Chief Executive Graeme Muir confirmed that the groundshare plans had been lodged. “We have completed all the relevant paperwork and the proposals have been signed and sent to the SPL,” he said.


COWDENBEATH chairman Gordon McDougall has announced his intention to sell Central Park to developers and build a new stadium, complete with modern facilities and an all-weather grass pitch. McDougall said: “I have completed the missives for the sale of Central Park and will now vigorously pursue the council authorities to identify an appropriate site for our new stadium. We are looking at a new modern stadium of which the club and the local community can be proud. It will be designed to accommodate around 3000 fans with seating for 800 and incorporating good hospitality facilities. The pitch would be FIFA approved artificial grass. The whole project is dependant on planning permission but we hope to work with Fife Council to drive our plans forward and find a suitable site.”


MONTROSE have announced the installation of a new all-weather playing surface at Links Park Stadium. Hunter Construction will lay a polytan third generation pitch at a cost of £340,000 for the Third Division club over an eight-week period. The project also includes additional changing-rooms, improved catering facilities and car parking and has been funded with the assistance of GlaxoSmithKline and Angus Council. The announcement follows the appointment of Brian Winton as chairman.


EAST STIRLING may have played their last ever match at Firs Park. The perennial strugglers have agreed in principle to sell their home of 86 years to Ogilvie Homes who have applied for planning permission to build houses on the site. If the proposal is passed by Falkirk District Council the land would change hands for £1.6 million. The club have already entered into provisional talks with STENHOUSEMUIR over a ground-sharing arrangement at Ochilview. Shire Trust spokesman Tad Kopszywa said: “We are not opposed to the sale and probably view it as a necessary evil. However, it is our view that the club should not enter into any long-term ground-sharing arrangement. We need a place of our own.”


In February, over 3,000 people marched through Edinburgh City Centre to demand better pitches and facilities for football and other sports at council-owned locations across the Capital. Members of UNITE THE CLUBS believe Edinburgh’s pitches and buildings are amongst the worst anywhere in Scotland. For more information on the Unite The Clubs campaign, visit 

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